If you had the opportunity to make your business part of someone’s vision board, would you do it? Pinterest is that vision board. Consider it a visual buffet—a look book—of all the things we crave in life; travel, food, fashion and home design are just icing on the Pinterest cake.
Pinterest is a social network that allows you to grab and organize images of things you love, and pin them to virtual corkboards. You can browse boards created by others, or share yours with the Pinterest community. Even better, other “pinners” can share your images and boards, too. No matter if you’re a service business or selling a product, you can create a Pinterest pin board that showcases your talent and offers potential clients solutions.
Here are three ways to use Pinterest to boost your business.
Research your market
Having access to a plethora of Pinterest boards created by others, in virtually any category, offers you the perfect opportunity to research your market. Just by viewing what others are talking about, you can gauge how popular a new product or service might be.
Hot new trends emerge throughout Pinterest, giving you an insider’s look at what people are coveting. It’s like a private marketing meeting, just for you!
Alternately, you may create your own Pinterest board to showcase a new product or idea, and even gather opinions.
Drive traffic to your website
Like all social media sites, Pinterest can drive traffic to your website in two ways.
First, you can add a link to your website right in your Pinterest profile, so anyone who’s impressed by what you’ve pinned can sail on over to check out your site.
Second, when Pinterest users pin things they find on your site, their pin has a “From yoursite.com” on it.
Combine loads of pictures and comments on things you love and want to share with the world with a smattering of your own products. Be sure to add images and content that people can use—a solution to a problem or tips on having a better wedding/wardrobe/life/travel experience, etc…
How is this going to generate business? Simply, people will talk about the great images and content that you share. Pinners will click on your images and information that lead to your website. Because Pinterest is social networking, the more helpful networking you do, the more it will come back to you.
Increase word of mouth
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then consider Pinterest a “visual testimonial.”
When users pin things from your site, they’re showing the world (and their Pinterest followers) that they believe in your company, your service or your product.
The more Pinterest interest you get, the more word of mouth about you will increase.
Here's how to make the most of Pinterest in four steps.
1. Offer up the best photos possible
Because the entire point of Pinterest is to wrap viewers up in “wow” photography, having great pix is a must. This is especially true when pinning images of your own products. Be sure to find or use high quality, clear and stunning photography to really draw others to your boards. The better the images, the more your pictures will be shared.
2. Make pinning easy
Pinterest offers several “Goodies” to make pinning easy, including a “Pin It” button for your bookmarks bar, a free iPhone app, a “Follow Button” for websites and a “Pin It” button for websites. Take advantage of these tools to increase pinning and re-pinning from your site.
3. Limit self-promotion
You’re probably thinking that this defeats the purpose of using Pinterest for business, but not necessarily. Pinterest touts:
Pinterest is designed to curate and share things you love. If there is a photo or project you’re proud of, pin away! However, try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion.
This is where a wonderful mixture of business and personal interests comes into play. Just like any social media venue, there is a very fine line between offering engaging information and being spammy. Pinners want to see visual ideas; they want to read about new ideas or uses for things. This is the perfect opportunity to mix up a batch of the things you love and the things you have to offer.
4. Tell your clients that you use Pinterest!
Yes! Tell your clients about Pinterest. Let them know that you’d love it if they shared images of your product or service in use, on their own Pinterest boards. Imagine the great promotions coming your way if ten or twelve of your clients started to add images of your work or service. Imagine those pics getting re-pinned by other people.
If you’re thinking of Pinterest as just another social media platform to get tied down to; you’re right. But this may be the most fun you’ve had on social media in a long, long time. With its rapid growth of new pinners joining every day, there is an unlimited world waiting to see what you’re pinning up—and that’s a marketing and networking opportunity you can’t afford to miss.
Heather Allard is the founder of TheMogulMom.com, a website for moms who run a business, raise a family and rock both. You can find her on Twitter at @heathALL.