Pin-ching Pennies? 10 Pinterest Tips for Small Businesses

Sure, big brands such as Whole Foods and HGTV have enjoyed success on Pinterest, amassing armies of followers to showcase products and highlight the lifestyle around their products, but that doesn't mean small businesses can't build meaningful relationships with customers on Pinterest too.

The image-sharing social network provides small businesses with a fun and unique way to build a community based on similar interests, create instant emotional connections and add depth and personality to their products or services. Here are 10 tips for small businesses to use the service effectively. 

  1. Define Your Goals: Before diving into Pinterest, decide what you business goal you want to accomplish. Is your main goal to engage existing customers, drive traffic to the company website or increase general awareness of your business?

  2. Develop a Pinning Strategy: Before launching a Pinterest account, consider what your overall Pinterest strategy will be. This means dedicating time to determining what types of content you’ll want to pin, where you’ll be pinning from (solely your site, other sites, etc.) and how often you’ll be pinning. Make sure to appoint someone to pin content daily, but don't overload your followers by pinning all of your daily images at one time; instead, pin to different boards throughout the day.

  3. Be Personable: Pins that are accompanied by a clever caption or funny hashtag are more engaging for fans and more likely to be repinned. Hashtags, as well as keywords, can also increase SEO and boost search results.

  4. Engage: Don’t just post your content without engaging. Re-pin others, like and comment on other brands' and your own followers' boards, invite followers to comment, create group boards and offer contests. 

  5. Put Yourself in User’s Shoes: Is this photo inspiring, entertaining, or informative for the user? If you need ideas, ask your followers and customers what they want to see from you.

  6. Cross Promote: Link your Pinterest page to any other social media sites you have, such as Facebook and Twitter, in order to reach a larger audience. Whereas the other social networks may be better for hosting discussions and conversing, Pinterest may be better used to showcase unique photos of your products. 

  7. Tap Influencers: Engage with influencers to help spread your small business further. Some ways to do this are by following and re-pinning influencers, commenting or creating shared boards. Reach out to bloggers who are already pinning about your industry. Use PinReach or ZoomSphere to find out who the influencers are, how influential they are and how well they fit with your business.

  8. Add the “Pin It” Button: The “Pin It” button is an extremely valuable tool; it allows people to pin images directly from your website. By adding this button to your company site you can transform consumers into brand ambassadors.

  9. Share the Spotlight: If people just wanted to see your products only, they'd go to your website. Instead of pinning solely about yourself or your cause, post about other great causes or events that you care about. Create a community resource around a theme or topic, not just around your brand. 

  10. Conduct Analysis and Research: See what’s popular on Pinterest so you can pin items from your site that are similar and/or might be just as appealing to Pinterest users by looking at what's popular on Pinterest. Pay attention to what your target market is pinning, liking, commenting and repinning. The images they interact with say something about who they are and offer insight into their wants and needs. 

Follow Bill Miltenberg: @bmiltenberg