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Why Pinterest is Perfect for Small Businesses

Posted by Kate Seat on 1/22/15 10:00 PM
Topics: social media, sales strategies

 In this excerpt from an interview with Joel Meek, the head of partner online sales and operations at Pinterest, he shares some of the reasons why a small business should consider developing a presence on the platform. Check out the full post by Rieva Lesonsky on AMEX Open Forum for more information and examples of businesses that are winning at pinning.

pin board 2

Pinterest isn't just for fashion photos and creative crafting--small-business owners can take advantage of the platform's 66 million monthly users, too. Here's how.

Why should a small business be on Pinterest?

Pinterest is a visual discovery tool helping people find ideas. They come looking for answers to personal questions—and those answers are something we call discovery. We’re building a discovery engine to help billions of people explore their interests and plan for their futures. If Facebook is about the past and Twitter is about the present, Pinterest is all about the future.

Something we believe differentiates us from other services is that businesses are a natural, welcome and essential part of Pinterest for our users. Businesses have the opportunity to get discovered by millions of users asking questions, wanting connections and taking action. This is one of the most powerful ways to drive business goals.

What's the difference if a business signs up for Pinterest with a personal or a business account?

I recommend all businesses sign up for business accounts. You get more features than with personal accounts, including:

Analytics. Pinterest analytics enable you to see what people are Pinning from your website, how Pins from your Pinterest profile are performing, and which of your Pins and boards are driving the most impressions, clicks and repins. And analytics tell you which Pins drive engagement across different platforms. You also get access to your audience demographics, which show the regions of America or foreign countries you’re getting interest from.

Awareness. There are many ways to get discovered. What you Pin gets picked up by the search engines. You should also add a Pin It button to your website (it is available in various sizes and colors) next to the items you want to share.

Promoted Pins. We launched Promoted Pins in beta in 2014. Participating brand advertisers achieved about a 30 percent bump in earned media (free impressions) from their campaigns. That’s from people who saw a Promoted Pin and thought it was good enough to save to one of their own boards. The program is now available to all U.S.-based Pinterest partners.

Once a small business has signed up for Pinterest, what’s the best way to get followers? How do you get your existing customers to follow you?

The obvious answer is to promote through your existing marketing channels, in your store, on your website and on your other social media platforms. Holding contests, for example, is a great way to encourage your audience to engage with you. But, make sure everything you Pin is authentic, meaning you should only Pin things that are representative of your business. For help, read our brand guidelines or tips on Pinning like a pro. You should also check out our "Acceptable Use Policy."

What should businesses Pin?

Quotes are very popular, as are infographics. A yoga studio could Pin educational material; health-related companies can Pin about living a healthy life and offer information about food and exercises. Travel agencies often Pin pictures of destinations and links to booking information, while hair salons Pin popular or new styles.

What are some of Pinterest’s best practices for small businesses?

You should:

Put Pinners first and consider what your customers really care about. We don't yet know the optimal distribution between Promoted Pins and organic content yet. But, as I said earlier, we recommend all businesses start with organic content, use our analytics product to find out what works and then use those learnings to determine which Pins to promote.

Curate your collection. The best boards are inspiring, with beautiful images that draw people in.

For local businesses, add your location in the Pin description to improve relevance in Pinterest search results.

Pin the things that represent your brand, but don’t just show off your products or services—show the ideas, places and people that inspire your brand.

Pin regularly and make sure your Pins link back to something helpful, such as your website where customers can purchase products, directions to your store or recipes of your restaurant's most popular dishes.

Doing these best practices also improves your search engine optimization (SEO) on traditional search engines. Test and see what works best for your brand and business goals.

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