Pinterest is quickly becoming the darling of new media social channels.  But many companies aren’t using the virtual pin board to its fullest.  Rather than simply posting product shots or trying to hard-sell consumers, companies need to take a step back and learn how to offer their pinners something of value beyond the products themselves.  Fast Company has 5 Rules for Pinterest and my favorite is “become a source of valuable information.” People want to solve their problems, and that’s what they need or want your products and services for.  In other words, use Pinterest to build brand rapport.

If you sell products, weave them into a bigger story.  Right now Pinterest has a great campaign to gear up for the holidays, called “30 Days of Pinspiration.”  Every day a new company’s board is unveiled offering pinners new ways to celebrate this holiday season.  One board that stands out is Potter Barn.  The company’s “Nostalgic Christmas by Pottery Barn” board creates a festive mood that includes much more than its current product offerings.  By providing ideas on décor, food, trinkets, and gifts, the company can help consumers imagine their dream holidays.  The board is aspirational, inspirational, and a great example of a company using new media to build brand awareness and maybe, just maybe, grow holiday sales this season.