Small Business Tips

Latest Pinterest Opportunities for Small Business

Victoria Morrison
Pinterest displayed on a tablet

What do online scrapbooking and millennials have in common? They're both on Pinterest, the visual search engine. Does Pinterest spark your interest? It should.

You should consider using Pinterest if you sell anything online. Why? Because according to Pinterest:

  • 250 million users "Pin it!" every month.
  • 52% of the US millennial population uses the platform every month.
  • New data from YouGov Plan and Track found 76% of Pinterest users like trying new brands, 64% like to explore new musical genres and artists, and 57% are interested in trying the latest technology products, services and apps.

Businesses create more than two-thirds of all the content on Pinterest, which means that visual social media is also a great product showcase.

Unsurprisingly, the social networking website is well-suited to facilitate online shopping. The format is purpose-built for the task: businesses and users publish slick pictures of products, food or visual ideas they "Pin" on the platform for others to see.

Viewers can click on images to link to detailed information or to buy products. It's less about connecting with people than with things.

Pinterest: what is it and why should you care?

Pinterest calls itself a visual discovery engine, "filled with inspiring, actionable ideas", i.e., pictures of stuff you might want to see, buy, try or do. It can help companies and marketers by linking to products, services and helpful information.

On other platforms, built for sharing information about you and your friends, such as Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat, it's more about people and less about products.

Pinterest offers collections of browsable products curated by users and businesses. People use it to look for products, ideas or recipes presented visually in illustrations and infographics.

female baker admiring cupcake in commercial kitchen

Search engines can't aggregate images into curated collections and themes. They can collect similar images and present them in raw form, but they lack the extra layer of intelligence, categorization and, of course, the slick format. Pinterest is much more effective, elegant and efficient at concentrating information into visually appealing postcards.

How does Pinterest work for small business?

Pinterest is more like a department store catalogue or a fashion magazine than any other online platform, which makes it well-suited as a visual showcase for products, services and practical tips and information. But is a Pinterest picture worth a thousand words? It sure is.

Pinterest claims to be "the most popular platform for finding and shopping for products." More importantly, people who look at items on the site follow through and purchase more often than on other social networks.

Pinterest tied with Instagram for first place (both scoring 15 percent) and ahead of Facebook when it came to influencing a purchase or shopping decision, according to a December 2017 Dectiva survey of 2,700 adults. Many other surveys also place Pinterest near the top, confirming its ability to generate leads and sales.

Pinterest for business users

If you're wondering how best to use Pinterest for your business, let's break it down:

  • People go on the Pinterest website or app to look for and discover things, or to receive Pin suggestions from others they follow.
  • When users see something they like online, they can save Pinterest-enabled content to a Pinterest board, or collection they've created.
  • If they add the Pinterest browser button to their browser, they can Pin content to the app from any web page.
  • When someone follows your company or one of your boards (content categories), they'll receive a notification and see new content in their home feed whenever you publish new Pins.
  • If your Pins are creative and interesting to your followers, they can generate loyalty and repins. When someone repins your pin, their followers see it. When you pay (per view) for a promoted or rich Pin, any views resulting from repins are free of charge.
  • Since it's possible to link Pins to your product page or to a shopping cart, it's a lot easier for people to buy your product or service, which can potentially increase sales.

Try to create pins and boards that are both inspiring and visually attractive. Design your content to capture viewers' attention and provide some value, information or inspiration.

Remember, the message and call to action centre around rich visuals, images and infographics. If you don't have a knack for graphic design, you can hire a freelance designer and claim the cost as a deductible expense for your business.

To learn more, check out this Pinterest for Business overview.

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Latest Pinterest opportunities for small business

People who use Pinterest on a regular basis understand how powerful it is at finding the things they're interested in or similar things.

Let's say someone's looking on Pinterest for the designer denim jacket a celebrity wore at an event. Your business makes affordable denim jackets and you know the trend. The shopper's intention is to see similar but more affordable items. If your denim jacket is on Pinterest, it could show up in the search results and ultimately, the user might purchase your product.

As a visual discovery engine, Pinterest is to web image search what high-end fashion magazines are to parts catalogues. It's a high-level experience built on creative visuals and the work businesses put into them. Those efforts make their brand and products stand out to users.

And although Pinterest hosts a staggering number of Pins, more than 175 billion and counting, according to Pinterest, sophisticated algorithms and categorization help users find what they're looking for.

Interesting and profitable features Pinterest offers

  • As a small business, if you create powerful visuals and infographics, 300 million users on Pinterest could see your products and brand.
  • Maximize your discoverability and target the right audience by creating great visuals, using rich Pins and maximizing keyword and topic management.
  • Buyable product Pins that you create with items from your online store get shown with shopping tags. That opens up the option to display price and availability data pulled from your site. Potential customers can go directly from a product image or visual idea to a checkout page on your website.
  • More than 50% of Pinterest users reside outside of North America. If you're trying to build your brand and sell products in other parts of the world, Pinterest could help generate sales in those markets.
Pinterest boards on Apple iPad

Using Pinterest for business marketing - tips & tricks

Pinterest has a range of marketing features that help businesses. With a business account, you'll have access to analytics and advertising features, like promoted Pins. These are tools which you pay for to reach a larger audience. See this useful step-by-step guide for setting up a business account on Pinterest and specific tips for advertising.

Here are some of Pinterest's key advertising features:

  • Analytics for organic and promoted Pins.
  • Promoted Pins and video Pins.
  • Access to Pinterest Ads and buyable Pins that have effective conversions and enable purchasing without leaving Pinterest.
  • Buyable Pins are being replaced with newer Product Pins and shopping recommendations that are generating 40% more clicks to shopping carts, according to Adweek.

When you publish ads and content to Pinterest or other social media, you can either use each platform's publishing and ad tools, or a content management platform such as Hootsuite. Hootsuite is a social media command centre that lets businesses publish content and manage ads for all major social networks from a single point.

If you do business mainly online, you've got plenty of things to think about, like upcoming changes in tax collection requirements in Canada and the US. If you find it challenging to create content and frequently manage ad campaigns on multiple social platforms. Using a solution like Hootsuite to manage multiple social media accounts might be worth considering.

Learn more about how to build your online business using Pinterest

Marketing tips for Pinterest are bountiful across the web. Here is a curated list of strategies to get you started or to help you reach the next level: