Pinterest is an online bulletin board where users upload or link to photos and videos of anything they find interesting. It's like pinning photos to a corkboard, only you're doing it online – and there are ways you can use this to help further your business' traffic and sales. Here's how. [To read up on how Pinterest's recent fluctuation in users affects Chicago businesses more specifically, check out this recent Inc. Well piece.—ed.]
1. Learn what’s popular. Pinterest’s value to your business is its network effect. When you add an image to your Pinterest board, you want that image to be “repinned” or “liked.” The more other users engage with your image by repinning it, liking it or leaving a comment, the more exposure you’ll have.
2. Share other people’s content. It’s never enough to simply “pin” your own content. Take the time to find and pin other people’s content.
3. Set up topical pinboards. Think about the types of things you’d like to pin and create topical pinboards to help you (and your potential customers) classify the images you’re pinning. For example, if you are a house painter, share images of painted rooms – ones you painted and others, as inspiration for your potential customers.
4. Add prices and promote your products. Don’t be shy about creating special pinboards to promote your products. You can easily add prices to your images – and use a pinboard to promote special sales. Threadless is a great example of a company that does this very effectively.
5. Set up a Pinterest competition for your fans and customers. Invite your customers to pin their own images of your products to their pinboards. Offer a small prize for the best pin.
6. Add a Pinterest “follow” or “pin it” button to your site. When you add one of these buttons, you encourage your customers and potential customers to pin your products or content to their own pinboards.
7. Be smart about keywords. Add keywords that will help other users find your content. You can add multiple keywords, so think about ways that customers might search for the products you’re pinning.
8. Engage with other users. Always keep in mind that Pinterest is a social network. Take the time to browse, repin and comment on other users’ images. That’s how people notice you and, ultimately, your products and services.
9. Hold Pinterest only promotions. One good way to build a following and expose your customers to Pinterest is to create unique offers only on Pinterest. People like to share deals – this is a good way to spread the word about your company’s products and services.
Mike Samson is the co-founder of crowdSPRING, crowdspring.com, and resides firmly at the bottom of the company’s ping-pong totem pole. Prior to starting crowdSPRING, a marketplace for buyers and sellers of creative services, Mike was an Emmy Award®-nominated producer and production manager in the film and television production industry. Around the office, Mike is known for randomly belting out television theme songs from the '50s.