A beginner's guide to using Pinterest for business

Pinterest is one of the most up and coming social media platforms to date, and it is only growing more popular. As well as rapidly growing in consumers, more and more businesses are joining the platform in order to cash in on the unusually promising opportunities that Pinterest has to offer.

Pinterest is known as the more crafty, DIY social media platform. With more how-to guides than you’d know what to do with, Pinterest feeds aspirations and focuses on the consumer, compared to its more informative and self-proclaiming counterparts.

At BookingBug, we think Pinterest is a great tool for any small business. Pinterest allows businesses to connect with customers in a less formal manner and develop B2C relationships more naturally. Being able to share content on a more visual level can yield great results for smaller businesses that have both wide and close-knit communities, as it’s these images that can really give the business a ‘face’.

So what exactly are the opportunities here?

According to a survey from BlogHer (2012), Pinterest users spend an average of 89 minutes on the website – that’s more than four times the average time spent on Twitter.

Need more convincing? How about the fact that 47% of users acted on a Pinterest offer, compared to 33% on Facebook and 31% on Twitter?

And did we even mention the 4000% growth they had in just 6 months back in 2011?

How can a business take advantage of these benefits?

First and foremost, you’ll want to create a profile or spruce up your current one. Make sure to include your company’s website, logo, and anything else that can point the user in the direction of your online space.

You can also verify your website to add validity to the profile. If you’re pretty handy with HTML,  you can even add a ‘Pin It’ button to your website to ensure your content is ‘pinnable’. It’s also worth mentioning that Pinterest allows you to convert your profile into a business profile, so you have access to analytics, and other tools your business will be needing to measure performance.

How should a business be pinning?

Now your account is all set up, it’s time to start pinning! As you may know, Pinterest operates through boards. A bit like a cork board you’d set up in your office or home, you can pin content to it. However, you’re allowed to have multiple boards to segment this content to make it more readable. Check out some of the boards in the BookingBug Pinterest profile for example:

In terms of what content the business should be pinning, it varies depending on your business and what industry it lies in. It’s worth mentioning that it doesn’t matter what your business is because any business can thrive on Pinterest with the right quality content. It’s just a case of tailoring your pins to your audience.

It’s important to remember that Pinterest is not like other platforms. Because of the visual nature of Pinterest, businesses often tend to pin-less about themselves (especially if their company doesn’t offer much in the way of visual goods/services), and more for the consumer’s benefit. So start thinking like your consumer, and post relevant and interesting content that they would like to read. And the best part? It doesn’t even need to be directly related to your industry.

For instance, if you own a beauty salon, your average customer is likely to be a woman, aged between 18-50, with interests that fall into the health, beauty and fashion categories (just to name a few). What would these women like to read about? It could range from anything from an article on how to stop headaches with an unsuspecting household product, to an infographic of which skirt will best suit which body type.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t post about your own promotions, blog posts and other business prospects, but you should aim to balance the two 80/20 to keep your consumers interested. This is because posting too much about your business can irritate users, and you run the risk of them not just unfollowing you, but losing interest in you as a company.

How should a business be engaging?

Engaging on Pinterest isn’t very different from most other platforms. First of all, you’ll want to build up your followers. Now, unfortunately, this isn’t as easy as exporting a contact list from another platform. Instead, you need to let your current customers know that you are on Pinterest. So let them know through an email, social media, or another preferred method of communication.

Secondly, you’ll want to start recruiting new followers. Using the search bar, search for pinners that post content of interest to your business and your customers. You can re-pin these pins to your own boards or just simply favourite the pin.

Commenting is also very powerful when it comes to engaging on Pinterest. Users are more responsive when a user comments something relevant and ‘human’ on their pin. Because of the visual nature of Pinterest, users usually just stick to re-pinning or favoriting something they like. This is what makes commenting so valuable, as users are more likely to take notice of such an uncommon method of engagement.

To summarise, the trick to success on Pinterest is to think of it as a channel for your company’s personality to thrive. Show your customers who your business really is. Show them how your team works, what you are interested in and what your business’ values and goals are. You want to show your customers that there really are humans behind your company and that it is one that doesn’t self-indulge, but instead puts time and effort into building relationships with its customers and feeds them interesting and exciting content that they can share with others.

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