By Rieva Lesonsky
Want to be hip to all the latest small business marketing tactics? One of the hottest on the scene right now is Pinterest. What? Haven’t heard of it? Pinterest, which The Wall Street Journal reported hit 20 million unique visitors in May, is dominating the social media scene when it comes to retailing. According to the report, Pinterest users follow an average of 9.3 retailers on the site, compared with 8.5 by Twitter users, and 6.9 by Facebook.
Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board where users “pin” images, follow other users and repin others’ pins. While the user profile is predominately female, Pinterest attracts anyone interested in seeing the latest trends, rather than just reading about them. The visual element is what Pinterest is all about, so if your business has images to share, you’ll want them up on Pinterest. Hair salons can pin new hairstyles, nail salons can pin funky new designs, retailers can pin their latest products, and restaurants can pin particularly yummy picture of a new menu item.
Pinterest is driving a ton of actual consumer purchases. It’s an ideal way to get the cash flowing; and it you’re lucky your sales will soar that you might not even need that small business loan you were considering.
That doesn’t mean service-oriented businesses can’t get into the act. A service business can always pin photos or videos from events, or photos related to the service your business provides, such as beautiful landscapes you’ve done in your landscape design business.
Pinterest is invitation-only, so get a user to invite you. Then make sure to grab your business name as a Pinterest account and add a description of your business in your account settings. Don’t forget to put the Pinterest bookmarklet in your browser so you won’t forget to pin your images and to follow others. You can also link your Pinterest account to Facebook and Twitter.
Once you’re in, you need to create pinboards related to your products or services. You can name your boards whatever you want; then select a category to file them under. This will help people who want to follow certain types of boards find you. Check out the popular boards or competitors’ boards and emulate what they do on your own boards. Optimize what you pin by using hashtags and keywords, whether that’s “seed capital” or “baby clothes,” in your descriptions.
Like Twitter, Pinterest can’t be one-sided. Make sure you repay the compliment and follow your customers’ boards. This will also ensure you know what the community is saying about you and your business.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at email@example.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports