Using Pinterest for Business Marketing

Pinterest for Marketing
Getty Images / Astrid Stawiarz / Stringer

Pinterest is a virtual pinboard incorporated within a social network, think of it as a digital scrapbooking. Individuals are able to "pin" or "like" images of items that they have an interest in. Think of Pinterest as the social platform that allows consumers to promote products and services for free. They can categories their pins into categories that are of interest to them, a few popular categories include:

  • Do it Yourself
  • Crafts
  • Wedding Planning
  • Cooking / Recipes
  • Fashion
  • Home Interior
  • Jewelry

Recently, companies have started to explore the benefits of Pinterest. Can you blame them? Just recently Pinterest reported having over 10 million unique visitors. In the past six months alone Pinterest has grown over 4000%. There is marketing potential with Pinterest, but it's really all in how you approach it. Just like any social networking, if you are only joining to promote rather than be beneficial to users you will only rack it up as another social media failure. Let's first talk about the value and then I'll share with you some tips on using Pinterest to market your small business.

Small businesses have started to see the value in Pinterest. Take for example graphic artists, photographers, interior designers and fashion designers, they are able to create storyboards showcasing their work. They have the freedom to display their work using their creativity, personal style and personality creating fantastic portfolios that can be seen and shared by other Pinterest users.

This allows consumers to check out their work, prior to contacting them.

You can also use it as a tool for your own market research, what colors people are drawn to and what products are being repinned. This information can create inspiration for additional product development. While there are no hardcore metrics within Pinterest, a small business owner can keep track of interests by seeing how many of their "pins" are "repinned" by other users.

This can help in determining interests, marketability and popularity.

Based on the information I've shared with you, what business wouldn't want to participate in the Pinterest phenomenon? Good question. With the recent publicity, Pinterest has also started to attract its own clutter, just like Facebook and Twitter. The secret behind Pinterest working for your business is getting content to be shared quickly and frequently. This will help in moving a consumer from browser to purchaser.

According to a recent report done by Hubspot:

  • Pinterest is driving more traffic to the Real Simple website than Facebook.
  • An inexpensive eyeglass retailer Warbly Parker is reporting that 11% of its social traffic is coming from Pinterest.
  • Blogger Kate Bryan has increased her subscribers to 14,000 in five months from Pinterest

So, is there value? Absolutely. But let's look at best practices for the small business:

  • Define your boards. Organize your pin boards in categories that define the products and services that you offer.
  • Be creative and brainstorm. Think outside of the box and consider what topics convey the personality of your brand. Create boards that engage visitors, they don't always have to promote a specific product, but teach consumers more about your brand.
  • Find and know your audience. Is your brand already being pinned? Research by searching on the following: That will enable you to see if people are already pinning items from your website. This will allow you to track back and find visitors that are already interested in what you have to offer.

    For example, take a look at the following items pinned for these popular brands:

    Martha Stewart
  • Interact and engage. As with any social media network, once you find users that are pinning and promoting items of yours interact and engage with them. You can do this by "repinning", "liking" or "mentioning." These are great ways to foster conversations and interaction.

    The data from research is pretty clear, Pinterest is rapidly growing. It's increased in popularity and is a great source for referral traffic. Is it right for your business? The best way to know that is to consider the above, evaluate whether Pinterest members represent your client type, and make a list of ways that your business can utilize Pinterest. You will need original content and images that can be shared preferable via your own website, blog, or multimedia sites.