The rapid growth of Pinterest was one of the big social media stories of 2012, and by all accounts, the platform is continuing to see strong growth in the first half of 2013. What was originally a platform used by women is now expanding across wider demographics, and some businesses are even using the network in rather creative ways. If your small business or nonprofit is not yet using Pinterest, now is a good time to take a look at how it might fit into your overall digital communications plan.
Remember, anyone can just pin their products to Pinterest. That’s boring. Look beyond the obvious and find more creative ways of drawing people in and encouraging growth and repinning activity.
With that in mind, here are 5 ways that small businesses can use Pinterest more effectively:
Have you ever walked into a music or book store and seen a shelf of employee recommendations? Pinterest is perfect for this sort of things. Give each of your trusted employees their own board to play with. For a high end salon, let each of your stylists have a board to show off their work, or images of hair styles they like, to give customers a sense of their individual styles. You hire employees for their expertise and they are a big part of your brand. Let them show off their styles, interests, and sensibilities.
Your customers are the reason you are exist. They buy your products and services, and presumably are happy. Think about opening up some boards for all of your customers, or maybe just a few for some of your more loyal customers, to let them share what’s on their mind, particularly in relation to your products. Perhaps they can show off how they are using your products to inspire other customers.
Rather than just showing off your products, explain to users some of the ways in which they can use your products. My friend Kim Carlo works at Stauffer’s of Kissel Hill, a regional chain of grocery stores and garden centers, and she does a great job with their Pinterest boards. Since they sell food, they offer boards with recipes on how to use that food. Another very popular board is one on Fairy Gardening and Terrariums, with ideas on how to use plants and other items purchased at the store.
We hear the phrase content marketing a lot these days, and it simply means you are creating some sort of content for your customers, whether it be blogs, ebooks, videos, or something else. It’s one thing to create that content, but another to give it legs. We share our content on Twitter, Facebook, and G+, but why not Pinterest? As you can see from the above image, SKH creates original “Gardening How To Videos” that are not only on Youtube and their website, but are pinned to their own board. I have a board of my own where I share both my own blog content as well as other blogs that I find interesting. It ends up being a good source of traffic. Plus, sharing the content created by others is just a good thing to do.
Brands big and small have learned that Pinterest can be a great place for a contest. “Pin it to Win it” contests have been done by Macy’s, Land’s End, Campbell’s Soup, and Volkswagen, to name a few. Have your customers pin their own images to your boards (perhaps integrated with Instagram) as a means of winning a prize. It’s a great way to get user generated content while building buzz and engagement.
Consider these ways of using Pinterest, and see if any might work for you and your business. Understand your audience and discover if they are using Pinterest, then figure out how they are using it.
What other creative ways have you seen businesses using Pinterest?