Alright. I'll just come out with it. Pinterest.

If you are like I was, then you immediately laughed inside, but allow me to pleasantly surprise you. Pinterest is not just that annoying app your wife is always on, saving shit that she will never do in her own life, but yet fantasizes about doing (just kidding, no hate mail). Pinterest is actually a hidden marketing gem, and I'll explain why, but shhhh, let's just keep this between you and me.

The platform has more than 200 million monthly active users and 50% of them originate from the U.S. There are also more than 50 billion Pins, and a billion Pinterest boards, while users conduct more than two billion searches in the app every month. A massive 87% of Pinterest users say that they've purchased a product or service because of the app, and 66% of all pins are related to some type of brand or product. Combine all that goodness and you might also invasion all that untouched potential in those future Pins.

According to findings by a Pew Research study, over one-fifth of U.S. adults use Pinterest as a visual discovery tool. The study also found that although female users dominate Pinterest, the number of men (13 percent as of 2015) using it for photo sharing is also quickly increasing. This means that brands that mostly target male audiences can also leverage Pinterest to drive conversions. Because people are spending more time interacting with pins, you’ll have more opportunities to expose them to your brand through Pinterest, and convince them to convert, so to speak. But before you get excited and jump onto this no-longer hidden gem, there are three things you need to consider:

#1 Understand Pinterest Users’ Mindsets

One of the most interesting statistics I have found about Pinterest comes from Digitas and Curalate: “70 percent of brand engagement on Pinterest is generated by users” and not brands. So that means there is a huge chasm in marketing strategy, targeting, and messaging right there at your fingertips.

One of my many bedside readings is the Pinterest Business Blog (no shaming. I do have a life). If you read this, you will find that it will be easier for you (your brand) to understand users' mindsets. In a recent post, they talked about the four basic experiences people undergo while browsing through Pinterest:

  • Just looking
  • Maybe I could
  • I’m narrowing it down
  • I know what I want

These four modes are based on needs, context, and time. The experience starts with simple browsing, and once people come across something inspirational, they will narrow down their choices and finally decide to purchase.

But it gets deeper than that. If you're smart, you'll want to understand the users’ minds and what makes them pin. According to Psychology Today, unlike users of Facebook, Twitter, or other social networks, Pinterest users aren’t prompted to think before posting new content. Rather, they are prompted to feel. Users on Pinterest are simply sharing their tastes and preferences, which removes the thinking tension—an integral part of Twitter and Facebook. If you are a true marketer, then you already know this: that there are immense opportunities to engage with customers by banking on their feelings.

#2 Promote Campaigns with Coupons and Contests

Coupons and photo contests are extremely popular on Pinterest, especially with the addition of words like “discount,” “free,” or “best deals.” If you want to sell your products through Pinterest, nothing will work better than coupons—be they online coupons, in-store coupons, or group coupons. In fact, group coupons are great options if you want to promote a group offer like the one below on Pinterest and other social media sites.

The prospect of getting a discount or a good deal always excites people, and when combined with Pinterest’s visual nature, you are more likely to see a dramatic effect on your products’ sales.

Setting up coupons on Pinterest is easy. You can use a third-party coupon creation application like Wishpond or run it through your company website directly. Some third-party coupon apps are free, easy to use, and also provide additional marketing tools. Just as you’d create a board for your products, create a coupon board, and pin images of your deals along with other details of the offer. Don’t forget to link to the specific coupon page.

If you plan on holding a contest on Pinterest, create your strategy around social-proof and user-generated content, as these are more likely to gain momentum. For example, hold a contest that requires people to submit content to participate—something like a photo-contest where the entry with the largest number of votes for the submitted photo wins the contest. Chances are, the entrants will share the content on their own social channels and endorse your brand in the process. Don’t forget to provide an awesome reward or incentive to get more likes, shares, and re-pins.

#3 Don’t Forget Pinterest SEO

The last thing you need to consider is optimizing your visual content for Pinterest so it can be easily found. The tactics are simple. Start with your company’s username. Pinterest allows you to create your own custom URL just like Facebook. Additionally, use targeted keywords in the “About” section, and make sure that the names of your Pin Boards reflect the keywords you want people to search for. In addition, you can link back to your website and provide hashtags in the pins’ description. Finally, you could create a special landing page to increase your Pinterest referral traffic and conversion rate.

Bonus: Make Your Pins Buyable

Yes, people can now make a direct purchase from Pinterest pins. Although Buyable Pins are only available to iOS and Android users in the U.S. for now, it is likely to be extended to other platforms and countries in future releases. A number of popular retailers like Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus are already leveraging the Buyable Pins.

There are more than 100 million users who could be your company’s potential customers. If you think your product is a good candidate for these users, start setting up your Pinterest boards to acquire new shoppers and revenue.