Infographic of Pinterest Use

Pinterest Continues to Grow at an Amazing Rate

Pinterest is now (and has been for a while) one of the social networks that every business should be paying attention to for marketing opportunities. According to Nielsen’s 2012 Social Media Report, Pinterest experienced a user growth rate of over 1,000%. Compared to the 2nd best growth rate – 80% for Google Plus – there is no denying the power of Pinterest to capture new users. If you have an online retail shop, hopefully you are already well on your way to utilizing Pinterest as a means of displaying and selling your products. Rich Pins provide a direct pathway from a Pin Board to a sale, so get to know and love them. In case you missed it, here is a previous post on Rich Pins.

While online retailers are already pinning and sharing like crazy, can a small, local retail business take advantage of Pinterest’s huge growth and devoted user-base? Absolutely. Most businesses agree that a referral is the best lead generator on the planet, and having one of your customers pin or re-pin your products is a great, unspoken referral. A picture is truly worth a thousand words.

Is Pinterest Right for Your Local Business?

But before investing time or money on Pinterest, you need to determine if it’s right for your business. Here are some things to take into consideration:

  • Do you have visually compelling products to share?
    • Most retail stores will see this as a definite yes.
  • Are females a part of your target customer base?
    • Females make up about 70% of Pinterest users.
  • Can you add your contact information to your photos?
    • The answer to this question should be yes. For everyone. You can even add text to photos on your smartphone if need be.
  • Do you have the time and/or money to devote to a new marketing effort?
    • Like all social media marketing, creating a Pinterest account and showcasing your business there does not need to be terribly time consuming or expensive, but it definitely requires effort to connect with your audience in a meaningful way. It may also take some trial and effort to find exactly what images people respond to.

Tips for Using Pinterest for Local Business

If you answered yes to these questions, then you are probably ready to get to work without delay, so let’s explore a few ways you can best utilize Pinterest for local business to attract local walk-in or call-in business.

Contact Information

  • Include your contact information on everything you pin.
    • Always include your phone number & company name on your pictures before pinning them.
    • This may be the only way people know how to contact you. If you have a website, all the better.

Drive Traffic to Your Site

  • Always pin from your website, not your manufacturers’ sites.
    • The manufacturers will have nice stock photos and it’s tempting to use it to save time, but don’t do it. Wherever you pin from is where people will be taken to when they click on the image, and you don’t want to drive traffic to the manufacturers’ sites, you want to drive it to your own site.
    • Once people get to your site, have more great content there for them to engage with and a specific call to action for them follow if they want to reach out to you.

Dare to be Great

  • Create great pictures.
    • Hopefully this sounds obvious. Pinterest is a place where great images go on to viral fame. It’s also where uninteresting images languish in anonymity. Don’t be uninteresting.
    • Great images can be taken with a smartphone, if the concept is creative, unique. If you’re not sure where to start, hire a professional photographer.

Be Searchable

  • Include your location name and hashtag in the description of each pin.
    • Ensure that people can find you just by searching for your city.

Reach Out

  • Seek out other local people and companies and follow their boards.
    • Do a search for local businesses and people you know to find their accounts. When you follow their pin boards, they will be notified of it and many will follow you back – especially if they know and like you already.
    • Once you’ve found them, look through their other followers to see who else you might know or who else is local that you can follow.
    • Search for your city and for your city hashtag to find even more pinners and boards from other locals.

Cross Promotion

  • Promote through other social media networks and offline.
    • This is so often overlooked as a simple way to grow your audience. If you already have a large following on Facebook or Twitter, then utilize that. Let people know you’re on Pinterest and give them a link they can click to go straight to your account and follow your boards.
    • Create something in the store that lets people know which social sites your on. You might be surprised at how aware consumers are now and many of us look for notifications like these at our favorite stores.

Be Consistent

  • Update frequently.
    • Nothing keeps people engaged like great content and lots of it. It’s not always easy to do, but find a rhythm and stick with it.

Hopefully these 7 tips for using Pinterest for local business will help you gain new customers and connect with even more people in your area. As always, I’d like to know how you’ve used social media to create business. Has your business used Pinterest? If so, have you had any sales, leads, or contact because of it? Let me know in the comments below.