If you aren’t leveraging Pinterest to drive holiday sales, you might want to rethink your social media strategy. While Facebook dominates in terms of influencing holiday gift purchases, Pinterest isn’t far behind. Nearly half of surveyed shoppers said they used Pinterest for gift inspiration, reported Crowdtap.

It is essential all year for brands to be active on Pinterest, but the holiday season only ups the ante. Competition for consumer dollars is high. Brands must ramp up their promotions, spice up their strategy, and bring their best engagement tactics to the table.

Follow these five best Pinterest practices and you’re sure to see holiday sales skyrocket this season.

1. Tune into trending topics. SEO is always central to a brand’s online strategy and the holidays are no exception. Review last year’s data and do a little keyword research to identify target terms and phrases. It’s likely holiday-themed phrases will make the list, so be sure your board titles and descriptions reflect the season. Real Simple for example, one of the top performing brands on Pinterest, created a “Holiday Sweet Treats” and “Holiday Decorating and Ideas” board. They might not be the most creative of titles, but they’ll attract plenty of click-throughs.

2. Publish gift guides galore. Content marketing rule number one: Create relevant, helpful content. During the holidays, that means gift guides, gift guides, and more gift guides. Everyone struggles to buy for that one tricky person on their list. Give consumers a hand by creating entire boards of ideas. Build different boards based on gender, age, and interests. Stumped buyers will appreciate the ready-made list.

3. Remember Rich Pins. Rich Pins might be the most valuable marketing feature on Pinterest. While functioning like a normal pin, they also include information about prices, product availability, and reviews. With Rich Pins, shoppers can see details they need to make a purchasing decision without having to leave Pinterest. This boosts Pinterests’ capacity as a conversion channel. If you want to hit high holiday numbers, leverage Rich Pins to their fullest potential.

4. Run exclusive Pinterest sales. Promote discounts that are only redeemable if they repin a product image. Or create coupon codes which only appear on your Pinterest page. This will drive more users to your Pinterest page, and ultimately to purchase.

5. Pin it to win it. Pinterest is the perfect platform for holiday contests and giveaways. Challenge followers for the most creative comment or ask fans to create their own pinboards using your products and reward the best with a prize. Another option is to invite followers to Repin a certain Pin and select one lucky pinner at random to WIN. There are endless possibilities, but any promotion promising a prize is sure to earn you new followers.

For more holiday inspiration, check out BostInno’s Holiday Guide

Seeking to engage consumers this seasons? Learn how local brands use BostInno to reach our smart, savvy, local audienc