The number one of priority of those looking to monetize and maximize their social media presence is to gain as many followers as possible. In an environment dominated by Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest has quietly gained a cult-like following among bloggers, digital marketers, and advertisers. Pinterest offers a unique platform that is media rich and allows users to navigate content based upon imagery, rather than bulk text or blog posts.

According to Forbes.com, Pinterest is emerging as a powerful platform in the world of social networking. Analysis from Forbes and other industry specialists has Pinterest ranked fourth in terms of value at $5 billion, behind LinkedIn ($20 billion), Twitter ($23 billion), and Facebook ($170 billion). However, when you look at monthly active users (MAUs), a different picture emerges.

Pinterest has an estimated 53 million MAUs in the United States alone. Twitter boasts 57 million, but includes Canadian users in its figures. By many accounts, Pinterest has surpassed Twitter in terms of active users on a monthly basis and is swiftly closing the gap on LinkedIn. Given its growing profile, how can you gain more followers on Pinterest without investing significant amounts of time on the endeavor?

Verify Your Account

Building a broad following on Pinterest requires a sturdy foundation from the beginning. Verifying your Pinterest account is a simple task and helps create a sense of trust among other users that your profile is worth following and reading. By verifying your profile you help create a more attractive profile in the minds of both current and new followers. You’ll know you’ve successfully completed the verification process when you see a checkmark next to your brand URL on your Pinterest profile. That checkmark is easily visible on mobile platforms and in profile searches.

Get Descriptive

If you aren’t treating your Pinterest profile with the same level of attention that you treat your blog or professional website, you’re not going to attract new followers. Keywords, descriptive titles, and hashtags are great way to optimize your site for searches, both within Pinterest and on external search engines.

Take the time to investigate competing users on Pinterest to see what keywords are relevant in your niche. Do not overlook the importance of longtail keywords and trending topics, both of which are usually strong performers on the social networking platform. Because Pinterest is a media-rich platform, it is important to attach accurate descriptions to your images so users will see them in searches as well. Hashtags were introduced to social media via Twitter, but they have a place on Pinterest as well. Relevant hashtags can generate conversation about your products and services, attracting followers to your profile.

Follow Others

This concept seems simple enough, right? If you want to attract more followers to your profile, it is a good idea to follow other pinners as well. When you start following other pinners, many will start following your profile in return just for the sake of growing their connections on Pinterest. However, don’t just start following every pinner you can find. Instead, carefully select pinners that post content and media that is relevant to your interests and brand.

Comment, Repin, and Tag

Participating as an active user on Pinterest is an important tool in your arsenal as well. The Popular section of Pinterest allows you to peruse a variety of information and look for things that you find interesting. By commenting on other content you show that you are not only engaged in social networking, but that you are an active participant worth following. Leave simple comments on images. Take the time to leave unique comments that directly reflect a theme or concept from the image or post you are viewing.

In addition to commenting on other content on Pinterest, you can repin photos from other users and tag them in the post. Information that you repin should be interesting to you and relevant to your brand. As you write a comment along with your repin, be sure to tag the user with “@username.” When you do this, you not only give credit to the original user, but also encourage them to follow you. Doing so may even get some of their users to begin following your profile.

Integrate the Pinterest Follow Button

You can also increase the number of followers on your Pinterest profile by simply adding the Pinterest follow button to your external website. If you have a high-traffic website, each of your daily visitors can be redirected to your Pinterest profile. As a result, you may find your number of followers growing quickly. We recommend placing your follow button on prominent pages on your website, such as your blog, header, footer, and sidebar.

Link to Other Social Media Platforms

If you are like us, you’ve probably got a profile on other social media platforms. Linking your Pinterest profile to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and/or Google+ profile, you can redirect your friends, family, and connections on those sites to your Pinterest profile. You may just find that a number of those individuals not only view your profile, but follow you on Pinterest.

Be Original

Perhaps the most important thing you can do is become a curator of original content. According to Search Engine Journal, nearly 80% of the content on Pinterest is repins from other users on the social media network. When you post original content, such as infographics, pictures, and polls, you spread your board and gain attention among other users.

Curating content for consumption by others on Pinterest doesn’t come down to simply posting images that aren’t on other profiles. Instead, you need to be original while still focusing on content that reflects you personally, as well as your brand. Placing yourself at the forefront of trends within your niches allows you to establish yourself as a relevant player in your industry. At the end of the day, you’ll find that more people follow your Pinterest profile because they view you as a thought leader within your field.