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How to Best Use Pinterest for Business

7 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Pinterest Efforts

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Are you trying to use Pinterest to market your small business? Then this article is for you; it explains how to get the most web traffic, customers, and/or sales out of your Pinterest efforts.

Specifically, in this article you'll learn:

  • how to make the best use of the captions on your Pinterest pins
  • why it's important to create pinboards showing personal interests and three ways your business can do that
  • how best to integrate Pinterest with Facebook
  • what tools can help you use Pinterest most effectively

Where possible, I've included examples so you can see exactly what you should be doing.

7 Tips on How Best to Use Pinterest for Your Business

1) Be pinnable.

Seed your website with pictures – photos, infographics, diagrams – anything visual is good. Besides giving visitors things to pin, having photos on your website makes it easier to make your posts to other social media, such as Google+ and Facebook, more engaging, as they will automatically pull in a photo that's associated with the URL you're posting. A photo may or may not be worth a thousand sales, but it will at least give your social media post a better chance of cutting through the noise and being seen.

Use Pinterest buttons and Pin It buttons on your website to invite others to pin the visual elements of your website.

 

2) Be active.

Like any other social media, Pinterest is not a "set it and forget it" experience. Just creating a few pinboards and leaving them there is not going to do much if anything to generate interest in your products or services. You need to be pinning, repinning, following and commenting regularly. If you don't have the time to do it yourself, you will need to assign a staff person to do it or hire someone.

3) Use descriptions.

While you see a lot of images pinned to Pinterest that just have a few words as a caption, that doesn't mean you have to do that. Make use of the caption/description space available on your pins to entice your viewer. For instance, look at this pinboard by The Cascade Team Real Estate; they're using their caption space to give as many details about each property as they can to try and entice the buyer.

Personally I find that much detail a tad overwhelming. This Cherry Vanilla Scentsy Bar pin is a better example of the kind of caption you should use to entice your viewer to possibly buy your product; it gives all the vital information and a reason to buy to boot (10% off).

4) Think related.

Very few of us have businesses with a huge variety of amazing products. So for most businesses, creating pinboards that are only filled with photos of their products makes for a boring set of boards that generates little interest with visitors.

Creating pinboards and pinning photos of things that are related to your products, though, gives you the scope to be much more interesting and even more relevant to your customers.

Suppose, for instance, that I sell blinds. Boards with photos of different types of blinds on different windows is an obvious choice. But I would also create pinboards that show different rooms in a house and the different things that can be done with them, because good people who are interested in buying blinds are probably also interested in home décor. I might have a board called Baby's Room and another called Guest Bedroom filled with to-drool-over shots of beautifully decorated rooms.

Some other examples – a hair stylist would presumably have pinboards showing the hairstyles he or she can create but might also have boards on hair accessories, nail art, shampoo products and celebrity hairstyles. A bike shop would have boards on bikes of course but perhaps also boards on great places to bike.

Think not "What products or services do I have to sell?" but "What related interests do my clients or customers have?" and create boards accordingly.

5) Get personal.

Remember that Pinterest is social media. In other words, people expect to see and learn more about the people behind the scenes in your business and perhaps even connect with them in some fashion. So you want to work a personal element into your Pinterest activities.

One way to do this is to create boards relating to the personal interests of the people who work at your business. Suppose that at your company, one partner loves sailing while another loves golf. Your business could have boards on both of these as well as your products.

Another is to create pinboards centered on your customers. Boards filled with photos of satisfied customers or photos of customers using your products can really increase customer engagement.

And a third is to create boards relating to a cause that your business espouses. One financial services company I know of heavily supports the local symphony; they could have Pinterest boards depicting people and scenes from the annual events they sponsor.

6) Integrate Pinterest with the other social media you use for your business.

You can take advantage of Pinterest's integration with other social media. When you pin something, you'll see that you have to option of tweeting about your pin if you like. You can also add Pinterest to your Facebook timeline which will automatically post your pins to Facebook.

But I'm not including the instructions for doing this here because I don't think it's a good idea. Frankly, I find strings of automated meaningless posts really irritating and I think it's a safe bet that most of my potential customers do too. So I recommend turning these off in your Pinterest profile and instead, making occasional thoughtful sharing posts that give your social media visitors a reason to follow the link (just as you do with any other social media).

For instance, in one post on my Facebook page, I linked to my Pinterest board on home office inspiration, posting:

What I wish my home office looked like. :) Clicking the link will take you to my Pinterest board of photos of other home offices to die for. Add a photo there or here if you like. And if you're on Pinterest yourself, let me know in the comments below so I can drop by and visit your pinboards.

Besides being more interesting to begin with than a post that just posts your pin, you can use your Pinterest post to drive customer interaction. In my Home Office Inspiration Board, for example, I ask visitors to post their own office photos and share links to their own pinboards. I could have done a poll asking what shape their office was in, a fill-in-the-blank question related to home offices – there are so many engagement possibilities!

7) Use available Pinterest tools to keep your pins sharp and on target.

Although Pinterest is one of the newer social networks, there are already lots of Pinterest-related apps around that will help you see what's trending, make using Pinterest easier and assess your success using it. Here are just two:

  • Tailwind - Tailwind provides Pinterest analytics. It will show you a history of your repins, most popular pins and advanced analytics on your followers in a easy to use dashboard.

(You can also track what's being pinned on your own site by using this URL: http://pinterest.com/source/YourWebsite.com/ (replacing YourWebsite.com with your own URL). Read this Mashable post by Ann Smarty to learn more about this, including how to turn this source page into an RSS feed.)

  • Pretty Pinterest Pins is a WordPress plugin that shows the latest pins in your sidebar. It’s customizable so you can do anything from pulling the latest pins from any user through showing or hiding the image captions.

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