Move over, Facebook. Small businesses have a growing number of social-networking tools at their fingertips. Pinterest, one such tool, can offer a more effective way to engage with your customers and promote your products or services.
Certain types of small businesses may benefit more from Pinterest than they do from other social networking sites, because it allows companies to showcase their products in a visually compelling and easily shareable way. “On Facebook, you think about friends, and on Twitter you think about news,” Joanne Bradford, Pinterest’s head of partnerships, recently told New York Times. “On Pinterest, you think about what you want to do, where you want to go, what you want to buy.”
Here are some ways to maximize Pinterest for your business:
Find interesting ways to engage and inspire your audience.
Pinterest isn’t just about posting photos and links to your products. Rather, most Pinterest users are looking for engaging content from businesses, whether blog posts, articles, or ideas. You might not gain many followers if your Pins feel too self-promotional. Businesses can create multiple boards with different themes that their audience might care about. Colin Cowie Weddings, a New York wedding planner, uses Pinterest to give grooms- and brides-to-be ideas on everything from floral arrangements to bridesmaid dresses to destination weddings. One board by Colin Cowie, for example, is dedicated to beach weddings. If you’re not sure what type of information to post on Pinterest, find other businesses in your industry that have created a following on Pinterest and see what type of information they’re posting.
Use strong, compelling visuals.
The most popular topics on Pinterest are those that lend themselves naturally to strong imagery—like food, travel, clothes and crafts. But businesses without such obvious visuals will likely need to find or create them, writes Yael Grauer on Gannett’s G/O Digital. An accounting firm, for example, may want to create visually compelling infographics with tips or even use interesting stock photos.
Connect with your followers.
Make sure your Pinterest followers can easily connect and communicate with your business. Fill out the “About Us” page on your Pinterest profile and include your web site URL, your phone number and other key contact information. Also, make sure to respond to people who comment on your Pinterest content. Keep in mind that the purpose of social media is to create a two-way dialogue.
Consider using promotional tools—when they become available.
Pinterest has started to slowly roll out new tools geared specifically to helping businesses. Promoted Pins, for example, will eventually allow small businesses to pay to have their pins promoted. Similar to how businesses can pay to promote posts on Facebook or Twitter, Promoted Pins could be an easy way to get more exposure for your business’s most interesting and important content. The tool will also include analytics that businesses can use to track traffic to their Promoted Pins.
Pinterest is still a relatively new and growing social-networking opportunity for businesses—and it offers some advantages over Facebook and Twitter. Learning how to use it effectively now can give you a head start on your competition.
About the Author
Kelly Spors is a freelance writer and editor based in Minneapolis. She previously worked as a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal, covering small business and entrepreneurship.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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