12 Most Resourceful Ways Businesses Can Use Pinterest
Pinterest is more than just a place for wedding planning and cupcake recipes. It can be a very powerful tool for business owners. Just like a Swiss Army knife, it can be used in many ways and in many situations.
1. As a traffic generation tool
Website traffic is highly coveted among business owners. Some go as far as to invest thousands of dollars in online advertising and search engine optimization tools (SEO) to bring traffic to their sites.
One of the biggest reasons Pinterest is getting so much attention from both large and small businesses is because of its potential for traffic generation. According to a Shareaholic study, the users of Pinterest are driving more traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined. Each image pinned to Pinterest can have a link attached to it that users can easily click through to visit associated websites.
To bring traffic back to your site from Pinterest, be sure to at MINIMUM do these 3 things.
- If you have a blog include a relevant image in each post.
- Make sure your image file names or alt tags are optimized to include information about the product or blog post. There are many ways for visitors to Pin your content and some of the tools use the image name as the description.
- Have a Pin It button that allows visitors to share your content on Pinterest directly from your site.
2. As a way to learn about your customers
Pinterest can be an amazing tool to help you get to know your customers better. A quick peek at your followers’ Pinterest boards could reveal insights about their interests that you might not have previously been aware of.
For example, an online travel agency might notice that a significant percentage of their followers have boards dedicated to photography tips. This nugget of information could influence future product development such as travel packages for amateur photographers. Or the agency could keep this in mind for future content such as blog posts or videos about travel photography.
3. To build a referral network
Sometimes the best way to get new customers and clients is through referrals. This is especially true for service providers. Business owners can collaborate with other related businesses on Pinterest to do this.
For example, a wedding photographer could pin floral arrangements from local florists they work with. A future bride working with the photographer could be referred to Pinterest to see examples of floral arrangements from local florists they would recommend. The florists could do the same for the photographer.
This saves time and possibly some worry from the bride about finding a good florist and helps build the photographer’s business relationships.
4. Use Pinterest as a portfolio
If your business has any kind of visual representation of its work, Pinterest is a perfect place to create a portfolio for the world to see.
- A hair salon can create boards for images of their stylists’ work.
- A web designer can have boards dedicated to completed websites they have created in different industries.
- An event planner can create boards with images of previous events.
These boards can be a way to attract new clients or as a way to work with existing clients for ideas for new projects.
5. To stay up to date on trends in your industry
Use Pinterest search to find what people are pinning in your industry. Let’s take a florist for example and a search on Pinterest for wedding centerpieces. A study of the results could reveal that many pins of small simple centerpieces with floating candles have hundreds of repins while tall dramatic centerpieces only have a few. The florist could then use this information when creating new centerpiece samples for their website or for a potential client.
6. Create your own resource library
As a business owner, secret boards on Pinterest are one of my favorite features. I dedicate a secret board to pinning articles I find on the web that I don’t want my followers to see.
For example, I come across an article about a new tax law that could affect my business. I’d like to save that information but since the focus of my business isn’t taxes, it really wouldn’t make sense for me to share it with my followers.
In this situation, I pin it to a secret board and put the key bit of information in the pin’s description. When I need to come back and reference that information, I have it handy on my secret board.
7. As a tool to collaborate with colleagues or clients
Did I mention that secret boards are one of my favorite Pinterest features? Another thing that makes them great is that you can invite other people to pin to them.
Perhaps you’re working on a project for a client or colleague such as redesigning a website. Create a secret board with them to pin images of design elements or functions of other sites that could be used in the new site you’re creating for them. Use the pin description area and comments to keep notes along the way.
8. For website or logo design inspiration
Is your website or logo looking a bit dated? Do you know you want something new but not sure what? A search for either website or logo design will result in thousands of pins that you can draw inspiration from. Create a board (either public or secret) and pin the designs that speak to you. Chances are a style will start to emerge.
Here’s anther perk, if you don’t already have a designer you work with, many logo and website design pins link to the designers who created them.
9. To establish yourself as a pro
When it comes to doing business online, many people are hesitant to click the buy now or contact button because of the fear of being scammed. Pinterest can provide the perfect opportunity for potential clients to see you in action and prove your business is legitimate.
Upload and pin images of you at work, the tools you use or work in progress. For example, a caterer can upload behind the scenes images of the clean professional kitchen they cook in or action shots of them cooking.
These images can go a long way in proving that you are a “real” business. Be sure to include a good description with each image and link it back to your site. A benefit of doing this on Pinterest vs. another is that these images stay categorized in one space and can easily be referred to from your site and other places online.
10. For content inspiration
If your site has a blog, let me give you a virtual high five! Blogs are great for many things including SEO and customer engagement. However, coming up with new content to write about can be a challenge.
What’s a stumped business blogger to do? Go to Pinterest! A search for a few keywords used in your industry could spark some ideas. Sometimes, looking at pins from another industry can bring a new perspective and inspiration too.
11. For image inspiration
So you’ve written a great blog post but now you need an image to use in it, but what kind of image? Scan Pinterest and notice what types of images stand out. Is there a particular shape or color that catches your eye? Can adding text to the image help communicate your message better?
Once you have an image idea in mind, go to your favorite source for images and find something similar. Simple editing tools like PicMonkey or Pixlr can make it easy to create the perfect pinnable image for your blog post.
12. To learn about your competition
Want to learn more about your competition? Take a look at their Pinterest account.
Things to take note of while looking at their account:
- How many repins is content from their site is getting? This can give you insight to what is working for them or not on Pinterest.
- Who’s following their account? Careful pinning from their followers’ boards could help bring attention to your account and your business.
- Who are they following? It’s probable that there was a reason for your competition to follow these accounts. Maybe they’re influencers in the niche that would be good for you to follow too.
Another thing to look at from your competitors is what is being pinned from their site to Pinterest. To do this, simply type in pinterest.com/source/your competitor’s URL. For example, to see what’s being pinned from 12 Most it would be pinterest.com/source/12most.com.
A quick scan of the results will show me what’s being pinned from the site and who’s pinning it. This could guide you to new accounts to follow and could possibly inspire new products or services.
Have you used Pinterest in any of these ways? Do you have other ways Pinterest can be used by businesses? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Featured image courtesy of pennuja licensed via Creative Commons.