Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.

If you’re marketing to women, especially women 25 – 45, you should be on Pinterest.

  • People are spending an average of 1 hour and 17 minutes on Pinterest, as compared to Twitter at 36 minutes or LinkedIn at just 17 minutes.
  • Pinterest is growing at an astounding rate and shows no signs of slowing.  Users have increased over 145% since the beginning of 2012 alone.
  • Pinterest primes people for sharing and shopping for the products they love.
  • Pinterest generates more referral traffic than Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ – it’s second only to Facebook at this point.

Source: Internet Marketing Inc. (Click image for full Infographic.)

You may already be using Pinterest in your personal life, but it can also do amazing things to spread brand awareness and grab new website visitors.  It’s time to bring Pinterest to your business.

Setting up your small business on Pinterest

  1. Get an invite. Tweet at me if you need one.
  2. Sign up with your brand’s Twitter account. Note: You can only sign up with a Facebook profile, not a Facebook fan page. There’s currently no distinction on Pinterest between people (like Facebook Profiles) and brands (like Facebook Pages) on Pinterest. If you are the face of your brand, you might want to sign up as yourself.
  3. Choose your username. This is also your Pinterest URL. This should be the same one you’re using on your Facebook fan page and Twitter account.
  4. Enter your email. Use the email you use for your business. People can search for your email so choose wisely.
  5. Choose your password. Pick a safe one that you can share with anyone in your organization you’d want to pin with you as your brand. (Like Twitter, there’s no way to allow multiple people to sign in except shared passwords.)
  6. Choose some topics and Pinterest will follow a few accounts for you.
  7. Create some boards. Set up boards that relate to categories of inspiration on your website or for your industry.  For instance, a financial blog might have boards that are “Financial Literacy” or “Monetary Motivation” or “Worthy Splurges!”.  A retailer has it easy – set up boards for moods, seasons, trends, styles – basically, any of the ways you’d categorize your inventory.  This is a topic for a longer post to follow, but just dive in for now, and start pinning a few items.
  8. Add the Pinterest button to your bookmarks bar and start using.  Pin things from our own site and blog; pin things you find that are helpful for your clients or customers; just pin things!

But wait! Listen first.

The best way to get started on any new social network is to sit back for a little while and listen.  After you spend the time setting up your account, take some time to explore other boards and users.

  1. Find your friends. If you’re using Gmail or Google Apps for your company email, authenticate and follow they people in your address book. (Don’t invite everyone, though. That’d be spammy.) You can repeat this as many times as you want for different email accounts. If I was creating a Big Sea Design account, I could find people on jessica @, andi@, info@, etc.

    Be sure to click along the top to see not only the pins, but also the boards and people for each term.

  2. Follow more people. Do some searches for:
    • Yourself and your website.
    • Your competitors, colleagues and industry leaders.
    • Relevant keywords and phrases.
    • Your Facebook and Twitter friends.
  3. As you find relevant boards and people, follow them. 

Get pinning!

You’ve set up your profile and you’ve listened, now you’re ready to go. As you find relevant pins, start with repinning.  Use the simple ‘Repin’ button at the top of another pinned element to add that pin to your boards.

Then, start looking for new, fresh content to pin.  From your blog, your website, relevant industry publications – anywhere! If you’re using the Pinterest browser extension, this is ridiculously easy.  If not, be sure to paste in the URL that you want to link folks to when they click your pin (see how this works?).

In the description area, make sure to note what you’re pinning and why.  “Great tips on saving for college!” or “Amazing recipe for natural body butter!” – get people to click without giving them too much information.

Pinterest etiquette:

  • Remember, Pinterest is a social network. That means you have to be social. Get a lay of the land by seeing what the people you follow are pinning. Like their pins and comment on them liberally. Don’t blatantly self-promote. Only pin content that’s worthy and repin plenty of stuff from other people, too.
  • Pinterest is visual – so make sure you have great photos that are worthy of repinning when you pin content.  A great photo, paired with an intriguing comment will help inspire the click-through that you’re looking for.
  • Read up on Pinterest’s own etiquette guidelines, and follow them.

Are you using Pinterest for your brand or business already?  Post a link here so we can follow you, and follow us (Andi, Jessica, Charlene).