The Small Business Beginner’s Guide To Pinterest

Founded by a previous Google employee, Pinterest caught the attention of everyone this year. From students, to stay-at-home moms, to marketers, to social media fenes – people cannot stop pinning.

For small business owners, Pinterest represents a strong vehicle to drive traffic to the website, generate leads, and give its fans a new place to know your brand on a deeper level.

Still intimidated by the pictures, boards, and pinning thing? This beginner’s guide seeks to simplify the Pinterest set-up for every small business owner, demystify its mysteries and get you on track to utilizing an incredible asset for your business.

Words of warning: Be careful, it’s addicting!

1. Strategy.

It is essential with every social media account to put together a plan of action before taking the actual steps to create it.

Why are you interested in a Pinterest account? What are its goals? Is it to bring traffic to your website, generate sales leads or expand your online presence?

Once the goals are defined, the creative strategizing to achieve them begins.

2. Gather pretty things for people to post.

Before setting up an account go through your website, blog, Facebook or any place online your business stakes a claim and see how you can make it better by adding multimedia elements to share on Pinterest.

Add pictures to blogs, if a blog has one, add another. Nab some videos from YouTube that showcase speakers in your industry, how-to videos, or even something comical. Laughter is the best medicine and its certainly one of the fastest ways to get a share on Pinterest (just ask the ecards folks).

Gather data on your business or the industry and have an infographic made to share. Along with cupcakes and wedding dresses, infographics are one of the hottest commodities on Pinterest.

The point is to fill your site with as much rich content as possible for pinners to share.

3. Set-up time.

Okay, your business sites have content and you are ready. Setting up a Pinterest account is important, similar to Twitter or Facebook accounts. Take the time to do it thoroughly and have someone read it over – spelling and/or grammar mistakes make your business look silly.

Use keywords in the About section so pinners and search engines can locate your business account easily. Add spunk to the description, and include your location.

Connect the Pinterest account with your social media networks and add a Pinterest button to your website so viewers can follow seamlessly.

And one more thing, choose a high-def picture that symbolizes your business for the profile pic. It can be a logo, a picture of your office space or team, but understand it will be the one constant picture representing your brand.

4. Check out what everyone else is doing.

It is smart to know what competitors and other businesses in your industry are doing on Pinterest, and it is wise to tap into what they are doing successfully.

As soon as you hook up other social media networks Pinterest will do a nifty job at giving you plenty of people to follow, do so.

Use the search function to locate people and businesses related to your industry and some who do not. Your goal is to have excellent content to share, and most of it will not be your own. If someone is providing valuable content, follow them and share their pins.

Make a list of the brands you find who are pinning successfully and watch them. How to they interact with their followers? How often to they throw their own content into the mix? How do they express their brand through the boards?

A lot of people and brands are already doing it right – learn from them.

5. Naming Your Children i.e. Boards

The board naming convention is extremely important and will make or break the account. Some businesses choose to be cool and abstract thereby leaving the viewer confused and on to the next one.

Be straightforward, but witty. Use alliterations or rhyming (IF it suits) or a bit of humor. The board names should lure in the viewer, make them want to check it out – see what’s inside the box. Here again, check out how other accounts are naming their boards.

Quick thought: come up with at least ten boards to start that represent your brand culture and beliefs. The boards will be most comprised of multimedia pieces from all over the web, so do not feel hemmed in by your own products or services. This really is not about your business does, but more about what it represents. What symbolizes your company?

For example, perhaps you own a small food trucks company specializing in healthy cuisine. Have a brainstorming session about what the spirit of your business is. Let’s try to think of some board themes..

  1. Our favorite foods
  2. The best herbs & spices
  3. Staying healthy on the go
  4. Buying organic goodness
  5. Living green
  6. Sunshine makes us happy
  7. Local, Local, Local
  8. Recipes we cannot get enough of
  9. Our food gods
  10. Feature an employee’s “favorite” board for a month..

There are endless board themes to create, but start with ten and you will eventually come up with more. Show your business culture and tie in the human side of it by including your team.

6. Ready. Set. Start pinning!!

Pinning content is the best part of Pinterest, but will require some time to get used to. Do not be afraid to jump in and try out new strategies.

The underlying rules of Pinterest are simple. Do NOT only pin your products or things relating directing to your business. Similar to Twitter, pin about 80% shared content and 20% yours.

And approach the site from a personal yet professional standpoint. Pinterest is not the place to be a stucky business, it is a place to share to express yourself or your business through the pinning of important things. So interact constantly, repin content, Like it, and comment on it.

More than anything, let the personality of your business shine through and enjoy the process.

Did I miss anything? Feel free to share your feedback, and your Pinterest accounts!

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