With new updates for business accounts and the recent addition of pin viewing in Twitter, Pinterest is still a social network on the grow. It’s also a network that has tons of options for your marketing strategy, with companies from Whole Foods to CNET making waves for their smart, creative approaches.

No matter what path you decide to take on Pinterest, one of the keys to crafting a great presence on the network is understanding the type of visual material that people will enjoy, share, and spread. These tips will help you pick the best material and present it online with the best chance for success.

Think Like an Artist

Beautiful images are more likely to attract interest, and they also tend to have some elements in common. Delving into the world of classical art can give you some inspiration for the type of material that will most likely spread on Pinterest.

Consider principles such as balance, color, and light to improve the quality of your photos. The subject doesn’t need to be in the exact center of the image; in fact, putting the focus off-center makes the same photo more interesting. Consider cropping a large image to better showcase the subject of the photo.

Other details such as using pure colors and good lighting are also important. Make sure you select images with crisp content and be sure that you upload photos with high enough resolution so that important details remain visible. Especially when you’re showing off your own merchandise, you’ll want to ensure that people are seeing the products at their best.

Emphasize Lifestyle

Beyond the basics of uploading pretty pictures, remember that Pinterest is also a powerful marketing tool. You’ll want to treat it as such. Smart ads try to sell a lifestyle as much as a product. That means you’ll want to brainstorm the adjectives that best describe your customers’ ideal lifestyles. Whether it’s elegant or casual, serious or silly, trendy or classic, you’ll want to tailor your pins to the type of people you want to appeal to.

This is where you can really let your brand’s creativity shine. If you’re running a tech startup and your fans are likely to appreciate geek culture, start a pinboard with jokes about Star Wars. If trendiness is of high value, make lots of pop culture references. By appealing to your audience’s sensibilities, you’ll become known to them as a source of relevant pins and you’ll start to see more sharing of your images.

Get Graphic

Infographics are still a hugely popular choice for sharing on Pinterest. They can easily go viral because the combination of thought-provoking factoids and striking visuals tends to be eye-catching and share-worthy.

To create infographics for your own company, think about the type of information that your brand has easy access to and that will intrigue your potential customers. Hone in on the most interesting details and select about a dozen of them that you think will be the most informative to readers. If you don’t have a designer in-house, think about contracting a freelancer to present that data in an attractive way.

And remember, infographics aren’t the only places where a designer can give your materials a boost. If you have written material that you want to spread across Pinterest, think about setting it in a great font and artistic background. A simple text block won’t have the same kind of visual impact.

Tag and Categorize

When you’re creating pinboards to house your different pinned images, make sure to select the appropriate categories for them. You can set or double-check what section each board is grouped under by clicking on the “Edit” buttons on your profile page. Picking a category means that your pins will appear in the feeds for those topics, putting the images in front of a larger audience.

Another key to getting your content shared is to make it easily searchable. Be sure that both the pin’s caption and the website where the image came from include plenty of the common keywords that people might use to search for that product. After all, your pin can’t get shared if people can’t find it.

Keep Links Up To Date

Remember that the image getting shared across Pinterest is just the first half of success on the platform. A recent study found that a large percentage of popular pins lead to expired pages on retailers’ sites. Make sure that people who click on the pin will get directed to a functional website where they can buy or learn more about your product.

Even if sales aren’t the main focus of your Pinterest campaign, you’ll still want to make sure that your website maintenance allows popular pins to stay available. It’s all part of how your brand presents itself online, and broken links on your Pinterest images won’t help your reputation with customers.

How do you encourage Pinterest pins to go viral? Let us know in the comments!

[Image credits: a2gemma, Chris Waits, davidd, Seier+Seier, jmawork, Kaja Kozlowska]