As a growing number of consumers jump on the Pinterest bandwagon, the opportunities to use the social-media site for business have grown exponentially.
What is Pinterest? The bulletin-board-style social image sharing website is a relatively new social-media phenomenon, created just two years ago and rapidly became one of the largest online social networks. The site allows its users to create and manage image collections, known as "boards," grouped by theme, and follow others with similar tastes and interests.
Pinterest recently launched business accounts, allowing users to define their accounts as businesses or brands, and the possibilities for using the site to promote your business, book or product are becoming significant.
If you're interested in getting started on Pinterest, but don't know where to begin, consider the following ideas for boards that can help build your brand.
1. Education. "How to" information does well on Pinterest. Look at the materials your company has that educate, teach or inform your customers or prospects. For example, do you have an ebook, white paper or video? You could pin the image of that content with a live link to download the paper or play the video on your website.
For example, Flourish Design Studio has a board titled "Wordpress Training" that features a series of pinned how-to videos on using WordPress, covering everything from how to create links to embedding video. What's worth noting is that these videos were not created by Flourish. They were created by a site called wp.tutsplus.com. Flourish has simply pinned them and given proper credit and a link to the content creator's website.
2. Feedback. Thinking about launching a new service or product? Try a virtual focus group by creating a Pinterest board that allows you to test what your target market thinks. Brand managers can post and pay attention to what is getting liked, repinned and commented on, then pivot as needed. Beyond seeking feedback on products and services, you could ask for opinions on a particular aspect of your business.
3. Events. If your business is hosting a training, meeting or upcoming event, create a board that introduces it to your audience. Some ways to promote the event without being overly spammy include pinning information about:
- The speakers
- Workshops and other educational sessions
- Location and surrounding area
- Special events within the event
You can also include:
- Blog posts related to the topic of the event
- Special offers for early registration
- Event photos and attendee comments
4. Makeovers. If your business lends itself to visually showcasing before-and-after images, this board is for you. Businesses that can take the best advantage of this include makeup artists, hairstylists, wardrobe consultants, interior designers, landscape architects, plastic surgeons, cosmetic dentists and home or office organizers. Even coaches and consultants can use this board by creating pins that showcase impressive outcomes, such as an increase in sales or Web traffic that resulted from their intervention.
5. Company culture. Generate greater customer engagement by giving your clients an inside peek at your business through a board or boards that offer a feel for your company's style, ideas, projects and commitments. For example, Whole Foods has a board called Whole Planet Foundation, which features pins of projects from around the globe that reinforce the Whole Foods commitment to sustainability, organic farming and green in general, as well as inspirational sayings that reflect the company's whole-living message.
While these boards aren't likely to make you Pinterest superstar overnight, they can help get you started on a path to finding and engaging your potential customers with visuals that speak to their needs.
Related: New Tool Gauges Pinterest Mentions
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.
Karen Leland is an author and president of Sterling Marketing Group, a marketing and brand-strategy firm based in San Rafael, Calif. Her book, Ultimate Guide to Pinterest for Business, is available at entrepreneurbookstore.com and other booksellers. Find Leland on Pinterest.