What is Pinterest and how can it be used for small business marketing?

What is Pinterest and how can it be used for small business marketing?

What is Pinterest?

Did you ever spend hours on end circling things in the Argos catalogue as a child? Er… just me? Pinterest is a like virtual version of this. You can ‘pin’ images from all over the internet or upload your own and curate your pins into boards based on themes.

People use Pinterest to find inspiration and look for ideas. It’s predominately used by women, and some of the main themes are fashion, travel, interiors and food. Some people think that Pinterest is only useful as a marketing tool for businesses that sell physical products that are visually appealing. This isn’t the case. Many pins are actually text based and link to useful articles and resources.

What’s the point of Pinterest?

Pins are visual bookmarks and boards are a way to organise those bookmarks for future reference. Unless you create a secret board, your boards are public. Each Pin links back to the website it was pinned from. This means that you can visit the site to read the recipe, buy the product or just learn more.

Pinterest can be used to plan holidays, special events, all sorts. I used Pinterest to help plan my wedding. Collecting loads of ideas for flowers, hairstyles, table plans and so on, inspired me to create the perfect wedding. One of the most popular pins on my personal Pinterest account is that of a wedding table plan that I found on Etsy.

I’d be interested to learn how many sales that Etsy shop has made because that pin has been repined 1,579 times. That means it’s featured on over 1,500 other people’s boards. Another of my pins is some bunting wedding stationery that I pinned from Ebay. It’s been repinned over 2,000 times, and in the last 30 days alone has been seen over 28,000 times. Imagine if that pin was of your product and linked back to your website.

How can Pinterest be used by small businesses?

Pinterest can be a great source of traffic for your website. As I mentioned above, each pin links back to where it came from so if you’re pinning things that are interesting for your audience, they can click on the pin and then go to the relevant page or blog on your website.

Create ‘pinnable’ images on your website and pin them to your boards yourself. Images that do well on Pinterest tend to be long, vertical images. But test what works for you. Many brands create an image with a pretty background with text over the top. Kind of like a front cover of a book, your pin should tempt people to click and find out more. Although it’s always said that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, you know that’s exactly what you do!

Pin at least one image from each blog post that you publish. You can also create images of your products if they’re physical or if you sell a service, create an image to represent it. Take a look at what businesses similar to yours do to get some ideas.

Many businesses have used Pinterest to drive traffic – aka potential customers – to their website, increase awareness of their brand, engage their audience, and increase sales. Take a look at some of the success stories of brands on Pinterest.

How to create a Pinterest account for your business

If you go to Pinterest.com, you can sign up as an individual. This is ok, but as you’re using your Pinterest profile for marketing your business, it’s best to set up a business account.

Go to https://business.pinterest.com/en-gb and click on sign up as a business. If you have created a personal account, you can also convert that into a business account on this page. One of the main benefits of having a business account are access to analytics so you can see which of your pins and boards are most popular, which images are being pinned from your website and gain insights into the interests and demographics of people who like your pins. This helps you to understand what your audience wants, which is vital in marketing your business.

Once you’ve signed up you can start choosing some people (pinners) to follow. When the people you follow add new pins to their boards they’ll show up in your feed. You can also choose just to follow individual boards. For example, if you just want to see food ideas but someone has boards on all sorts of topics, you can just choose to follow the foodie board.

You can name your boards however you like. There are limits on how many boards and pins you can have but I challenge you to reach those limits! The limits currently stand at 500 boards and 200,000 pins. That’s A LOT of pins.

Time to start pinning!

On Pinterest

On Pinterest itself, you can either pin to your board directly from your home feed or search results, or you can click on the image to make it larger and pin it from there. When you hit the Pin it button you choose which board to save it to, or you can create a whole new board. You can also change the pin description. It’s this description that helps make the pins searchable. Saving pins to your boards that other people have created is known as repinning.

On the app

There are Pinterest smartphone apps so even when you’re not at your computer you can still happily pin. I only have experience of the Android app but it’s likely the iPhone app is very similar. You can touch and hold your finger down on a pin and the option to pin it will appear. This makes creating boards really quick and easy. You can also change the pin description on the app.

Off Pinterest

You might have noticed that many websites and blogs have Pin tt buttons that allow you to save an image onto one of your Pinterest boards. You can get this Pin tt button as a plug in if you have a WordPress site.

If you use the Chrome browser, you can use the Pin it extension which allows you to pin images from almost any website even if they don’t have the button. It creates a little pin it button that hovers over pinnable images. Just be aware, that some sites, such as Facebook, are coded to prevent people from pinning images.

It’s also not a good idea to pin images directly from a Google search. This doesn’t really help your audience because there’s no link back to a useful article or resource. You’re also not giving the owner of that image the credit they’re due.

Top tips for becoming a Pinterest pro

  1. Always edit the pin description so that it’s personal to your business.
  2. When pinning images from your own website, make sure you use words that your potential customers would use when searching for your products or services. This increases the chance that they’ll find your pins and then click through to your site.
  3. Create your own style for pins and try to use your own pins as the board covers. This keeps them consistent and inline with your branding.
  4. Use your business logo as your profile picture so it’s easily recognisable.
  5. Fill in the descriptions for your boards and use relevant keywords.
  6. Browse http://pingroupie.com/ to find group boards relevant to your business. Collaborating on joint boards opens your pins up to a huge audience. I just found out about this the other day and it’s something I’m defintely going to try.

Pinterest ninja moves

Once you’ve got the basics of Pinterest nailed you can start to learn some ninja moves. I’m not going to go into them here but you can create rich pins that include things like prices, recipes, maps, etc, and you can also create promoted pins, which is paid promotion. The promoted pins would be possible to manage yourself, but unless you’re a coding wizard you’ll need a developer to help you implement rich pins.

I’ve been using Pinterest ever since you needed to request an invite! I was involved in the Pin It Forward campaign as a blogger back in 2013 and have attended a lomography workshop in Brighton with the Pinterest community crew. You could say I’m a bit of a fan.

Pinterest has some great features for businesses, which are only growing. Promoted Pins have only just been released in the UK so it really is a case of watching this space to see what they have up their sleeves next.

It wouldn’t be a post about Pinterest without a link to my own Pinterest profile.

Get in there and have a go! If you need any help, leave me a comment below and I’ll come back to you.

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