Pinterest launches business accounts

Maybe your brand already has a Pinterest presence, but the social media site wants you to convert it to a business account.

Pinterest on Wednesday formally welcomed brands to the social network, unveiling business accounts and a new set of rules (otherwise known as “terms of service”) for companies.

The word “formally” is important, because a number of companies have already joined the image-sharing site, incorporating its use into their overall social media strategies. However, until Wednesday, commercial use of the site was prohibited.

The prohibition created roadblocks for companies that the new rules will eliminate. For instance, businesses had to work around Pinterest’s signup page, which required a first and last name. Now companies can simply enter the name of their business.

Brands that are already using Pinterest are encouraged to convert their existing account to that of a business account. “If your boss is making you use Pinterest, you need to set up a business account,” the new terms state.

Learn more about converting an existing account here.

Pinterest launched in 2010, but stormed to prominence this year, becoming one of the most popular social networks. In October, the site attracted 26.7 million unique visitors, according to comScore. The site’s popularity attracted numerous companies to the site—in which users share and comment on images—that established their own Pinterest boards.

Although Pinterest is welcoming companies to the site, businesses shouldn’t mistake the new accounts for those on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. As Advertising Age put it:

“They don’t currently look any different from other pages. They also don’t possess any enhanced functionality, apart from making the new feature of authenticating a website a streamlined part of the sign-up process and directing account owners to a Pinterest how-to for businesses.”

If nothing else, the business accounts could help PR and marketing people—eager to get their company or client on the image-sharing site—persuade their bosses to OK a Pinterest strategy.

Earlier this month, Instagram, a wildly popular image-sharing app, debuted profile pages for the Web that a number of brands quickly embraced.

RELATED: 16 ways to use Pinterest for PR

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