As a small business owner, you know the power social media can play for your business. It can bring new customers through the door, help you sell online, and lead to viral press.
While you’ve most likely figured out Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram on your own—you might be lost when it comes to one of the largest social networks out there … Pinterest.
Pinterest is a visual bookmarking tool—and it operates somewhat like a search engine and somewhat like a social network. Here’s how it works:
- You find an article, image, or website you want to share on your wall.
- You pin that piece of content to your board or a group board.
- Other users see the pin you created in their feeds when they search the site.
When other users “repin” your images to their boards, your content can go viral across the site! This makes Pinterest an especially promising network for small business owners. You can acquire new customers and share your brand with a huge audience—without spending a dime.
But how exactly do you do it?
We went out and asked some of the most influential voices on Pinterest to share their best advice for business owners wanting to get started on the social network.
Here’s what the 8 influencers had to say:
1. If you’re not on yet, get started ASAP
“My best advice for a small business owner about Pinterest is to start taking advantage of Pinterest as soon as you can. Even if you have a brand new account, you can still reach new followers. Pinterest is a very engaging platform, and readers want to find things to pin, and they are looking for things to buy, so everyone should be on it.”
—Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, Making Sense of Cents
2. Treat it like the search engine it is
“A couple things have really helped me on Pinterest. The first is realizing that it’s a search engine. Unlike most other ‘social networks,’ people are on there specifically to look for content. That impacts how you create your images, titles, and pin descriptions.
The second thing that has really helped me improve my Pinterest presence is requesting to join relevant group boards. When you’re just starting out, you probably won’t have a huge following on your own, but these group boards can all of a sudden give you a reach of thousands of followers. It takes a little bit of legwork upfront (explained in detail here), but this strategy has resulted in hundreds of new visitors to my site every day.”
—Nick Loper, Side Hustle Nation
3. Describe with details
“Besides the obvious, stunning vertical images with text overlays, make sure you’re writing a captivating description to go with your pin. Include relevant keywords so that when people search for topics, your pin pops up in the search.”
—Holly Reisem Hanna, The Work at Home Woman
4. Engage and share—often
“Join group boards that pertain to your niche. Pin your own content to those group boards for more exposure. Share the love and repin from others as well. Engaging and sharing is key to growing your following and pin popularity.”
—Aja McClanahan, Principles of Increase
5. Make the most of group boards
“Harness the power of group boards to promote your business! If you’re just starting to build a following on Pinterest, you have the opportunity to showcase your pins to a larger audience in these special groups.
Finding group boards to join is really simple: Look for Pinterest users in a similar niche, and check their profile to see what groups they are in. Once you find a group board page, you can view the list of contributors and repeat the process again and again. This is the only method I’ve used to find new boards to join, and it’s never let me down!”
—Allison Lindstrom, Allisonlindstrom.com
6. Know your target market
“Every business should be using Pinterest! Once you have a firm understanding of who your target market is, seek out your audience using group boards that relate to your brand and audience. Don’t underestimate the power of Pinterest SEO! Your audience will find your brand when your Pinterest pins, bio, and personal boards are using rich keywords and compelling descriptions.”
—Kristin Larsen, Believe in a Budget
7. Focus on images and keywords
“My best advice for small business owners who want to promote their business on Pinterest is to focus on two critical elements: images and keywords. A lot of businesses overlook the fact that Pinterest is a search engine and not a social media site. In order to be found on Pinterest and rank in search results, you must understand the keywords that your customers are using and then implement those keywords throughout your pin descriptions, board titles, board descriptions, and profile.
Equally important to keywords is creating eye-catching vertical images. Keywords are used by Pinterest to show your pins, and images are used by you to get users to click your pins.”
—Monica Froese, Redefining Mom LLC
8. Entice users with images they’ll want to click
“My best advice for a small business owner who wants to promote their business on Pinterest is to join group boards. Group boards allow you to share your posts with a wider audience than only posting on your personal boards. Also, make sure your images are clear and entice the reader to want to click.”
—Sarah Brooks, The Frugal Millionaire
Pinterest has more than 150 million monthly active users—and while its user base once was predominantly female, men make up 40% of the site’s users today.
As a small business owner, you should view Pinterest as a marketing opportunity. While there are millions of users on the site, most businesses have yet to take advantage of marketing on Pinterest. And best of all—you can use the social network to grow and connect with your customers without spending a dime.
If your business follows these tips, you’ll be well ahead of the curve in generating both buzz for your brand and traffic to your website!