Is There Potential In Pinterest For Your Small Business?

The recent explosion of different social media channels is making it easier for people to connect and share similar interests. But as a small business owner, it can be overwhelming keeping up with all of the networking platforms available. Take Pinterest for example. Fairly new to the scene, this social media darling is becoming one of the biggest traffic drivers on the Internet. But is it for every business?

The Pinsentials

Pinterest is an online virtual pin board where users may create and manage themed image boards. These images are found online using the “Pin It” button, or uploaded directly from their computer. It is essentially another form of social bookmarking with a focus on visual media instead of written content.

Like other social networking sites, you may follow others, and who you follow will appear on your own homepage. You can invite people to contribute to your boards and vice versa, and in this way it can be used as a means of creative collaboration.

To Pin or Not to Pin?

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Now that you know what Pinterest is and does, should your business use it? That depends on a few things. Is your business about products or services? Pinterest is all about sharing gorgeous photos of “things” that can easily be viewed online and then purchased.

Think of Pinterest as an avenue that often leads to impulse buying. If you have an e-commerce site with images of products you offer, then incorporating Pinterest into your marketing plan makes sense. If your business offers services or information, taking part in this new social media frenzy will likely be a waste of time.

Reap the Benefits

If your business fits, then it makes sense to jump on the Pinterest bandwagon. Not only should you include the “Pin It” button on your site, you should start creating your own boards and pinning as well. Whether you’re an interior designer, photographer or baker, this platform can easily be used as a sort of social portfolio, where images you select of your work or products are pinned for others to see and share.

A significant increase in sales has been reported by many small e-commerce sites that currently use Pinterest in their marketing campaigns. The beauty of this particular site is the ease with which total strangers can send traffic your way. Even if someone who visits your online store doesn’t purchase, by pinning one of your items to their board and raving about it, they effectively drive traffic to your site that may very well convert.

Tricks of the Trade

Ready to start “pinning?” Before you clutter up your board there are a few things you should know. First, before opening an account understand that accounts are by invitation only. This is a good thing as it keeps out the riff-raff, just know you need to request an invite and will normally receive one in a few days.

When you start pinning your product images, make sure to link directly to your site so users who click can easily purchase without any hassles. Make the sale easy!

This is a wonderful opportunity to make your brand personal with new users. Don’t be shy; include photos of yourself, staff and workspace so that users might see where the magic and beauty that you create happens.

And finally, one of the best ways to use Pinterest is to give your audience a voice. Ask opinions about new products you’re thinking of offering and listen to the feedback you get. Have a vote – with the item getting the most pins winning. Also, ask your market to share photos of your products that they have purchased and used in some creative way. This is some of the best positive feedback your company can get!


Who knows what the next big social media site will be or what it will offer as far as marketing options. For now, Pinterest is seeing a lot of traffic action, so small retailers who are engaged in e-commerce should definitely explore the site, especially if their products have strong visual appeal.

Author Bio: This guest post was provided by Dean Vella who writes about social media training and Internet marketing for University Alliance, a division of Bisk Education Inc.

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