Pinning for PR: How Small Businesses Can Use Pinterest to Grow Their Brands

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This is a guest post by Mary Mallard, Social Media & Community Specialist at Grasshopper. She’s grown the company Pinterest presence by leaps and bounds– just check out their boards!

Small business owners can be some of the most innovative users of social media on the web, and Pinterest is providing new opportunities. As one of the fastest growing websites in history, Pinterest drives more traffic than Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit and Google+ combined. What does this mean for your brand?

Everything.

Okay, not everything, but Pinterest is a huge opportunity that you do not want to ignore. Here are seven great ways to grow your brand on Pinterest.

Pinterest on Your Site

You can “use” Pinterest to grow your business without actually doing the pinning yourself, and for a lot of small business owners, this is a great place to start.

1 – Create Pin-friendly content.

Pinterest is built around visually compelling content. The best pins are big, beautiful, portrait-oriented images, so make sure there is at least one on every page of your website.

Remember that once an image is pinned from your site, it may lose context if it doesn’t accurately represent the content, so avoid vague pictures. If you’re selling physical products, high-resolution photos are great. If you’re selling services or platforms, add some text to the image itself so that Pinterest users know what is being pinned.

2 – Install a Pin It button.

Pin It

 

 

 

 

 

 

A small “Pin It” button next to your shareable content is both a reminder and a tool. Pinterest offers a widget builder that lets you choose and tweak the look of your button, assign an image, and even set up a default description that will appear when users pin your photo.

Plan Your Pins

When you’re ready to dive in to Pinterest yourself, you need to take some time to make a plan. Pinterest is about organizing content from all over the web, so your profile needs to make sense. Decide what kind of content you want to collect and share, and create your boards around clear themes.

3 – Get Creative

Anything related to your business or brand is fair game.

Deschutes Brewery is a craft brewing company in Bend, Oregon, with a robust Pinterest profile. Their boards collect Beer News and ideas for repurposing bottles. In another example, wedding photographers tend to have boards not only showcasing their work, but also anything related to wedding planning that a bride may be interested in. Think all things DIY, styles of wedding dresses, reception locations – the list goes on and on.

Pinterest users are browsing by images, but they’re saving and organizing unique, useful content. Make your profile a resource.

4 – Map a Community Board

Hyperlocal marketing is gaining ground with more and more small businesses, and Pinterest’s Map feature gives you one more opportunity to be involved in your community. Here’s how you do it:

  • Set up a special board for your community. Call it “Our Neighborhood” or “Around Town,” depending on the size of the community you call home.
  • In the edit screen, toggle the “Add a map?” feature to On.
  • Find cool stuff in your area and pin it – your staff’s favorite lunch places, community events, tourist attractions, etc.
  • On each pin, click “Add to Map,” and type in an address or intersection. Pinterest will drop a place marker on the map on your board.

maps

 

 

 

 

 

 

Position your brand as an active voice in your community, and the locals will find you before they know they need you.

Get Social(er)

You will quickly discover what a great resource Pinterest can be for your small business, but don’t forget that it’s built on a social landscape. You’ll get more out of your profile if you update regularly, pin from other users, and remember that social is about being just that: SOCIAL. Don’t be afraid to start conversations about unique or interesting pins you find.

5 – Bundle your social networks.

Social channels work better together. From the Settings on your Pinterest profile, you can link to your Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ accounts, and this allows for some really simple cross-promotion. Facebook and Google+ don’t have the space for the kind of resource catalogue you’re creating on Pinterest, and Twitter doesn’t have the memory, but all can be used to share and spread your content.

6 – Share a board.

You can open your collections, and invite other Pinterest users to add things to specific boards. This is a great option if you’re worried you may not have the time to keep your Pinterest profile updated, because other people will be updating and adding content to your boards for you.

Just a word of caution: you can’t “set it and forget it.” You still need to make sure you have time to monitor the Pinterest board in the event that someone goes rogue and pins stuff that you don’t like. You should only invite people to pin that you actually trust (if you do it at all).

Here are a few options for people you could invite to pin:

  • Employees – Invite employees to pin to certain boards that reflect their specific interests or passions within your organization. They can help grow your profile, but you don’t have to start handing out your brand’s Pinterest password.
  • Local partners – Fans or other local businesses can collaborate on your Community board. There will be some self-promotion going on, but that’s okay.
  • The competition – People love it when rivals come together for the common good. If you’re a bakery, and you have a Pinterest board that collects cookie recipes, invite the bakery across town to share the board.

Shared boards will appear on the profiles of everyone who can post to it, but you retain control. If someone posts something that shouldn’t be there, deleting it is as easy as a couple of clicks.

7 – Follow Other Small Businesses, Customers, and Friends

It’s worthwhile to follow other small businesses, so you can easily see what they’re doing. These users get alerted when you follow them, so it’s an easy way to spread the word that your business is on Pinterest. It makes it more likely that they’ll follow you back and pin your stuff.

Following your customers gives you better tabs on what their interests are. If you understand what they like to pin, you’ll be able to create better pin-able content.

Get Some Pinspiration

Start small, and take some time to get familiar with Pinterest before you really start inviting people to your profile. Get set up and click around the site for a little while. A search for your industry will show you what other small businesses in your field are doing, and you can glean some vision for your own profile. When you’re ready, go back to the themes you came up with and start with two or three first.

Before you know it, you’ll be organizing and creating industry boards, establishing your brand as the experts, and driving a lot of new traffic to your website.

Craving more small business know-how? Check out Cision’s 6 Budget-Friendly PR Tips for Startups & Small Businesses.

Image via mkhmarketing

About Guest Contributor

Cision invites PR and marketing professionals to share their best practices and advice with the Cision Blog audience. To share your story, contact blog.us@cision.com

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