By Holly Reisem Hanna
A few weeks ago I met one of my online mom entrepreneur friends for breakfast. Not only was it great to get out the house and have some real life conversation, but generally when you get together with another creative mind – the ideas just start flying.
This day was no different.
I told her about all of the projects that I was working on and vice versa. But then she asked me if I knew about Pinterest? I had no clue what it was. She told me a little bit about it and how she was fascinated with how it could be used to promote small businesses.
And right then and there I was hooked.
For those of you not familiar with Pinterest, it is a fairly new social network (launched March 2010) that strives to connect people through shared interests and likes. Individuals create a series of bulletin boards dedicated to different topics (food, style, travel, kids, books, etc.). Then when individuals search the web and find something that they like, they can “pin it” to their Pinterest Board.
The visually stimulating application allows you to sign in through your Facebook or Twitter account – which then connects you with your current friends and followers. People can then see what other people are pinning to their boards, like them or re-pin them (similar to Facebook’s like button and Twitter’s RT). Every time an image is pinned to a board, it is automatically linked to its original source.
So how does one use Pinterest for business?
The possibilities are truly endless. But here are few ways that small business owners can use Pinterest for marketing and promoting their business.
Product Producers, Online Retailers and Direct Sellers:
This is probably the most obvious one, but if you are a small business owner or direct sales consultant that makes or sells tangible goods, you can pin your products to your virtual bulletin boards. Get creative with your board categories and descriptions. I have seen some really awesome boards using color coded categories and themed categories and the end product is truly a work of art. And don’t just pin objects from your own company – pair your products with other complimentary products and services for a refreshing point of view.
Graphic Designers, Artists and Photographers:
Another fairly obvious way to use Pinterest, is for those who are already creating images. Graphic Designers, Artists and Photographers and take their portfolios and add them to Pinterest and create fun and unique categories like weddings, kids, holiday, places … Again you’ll want to be clever with your descriptions and be social by incorporating other individual’s great designs and photos on your boards.
Service Based Businesses:
This one gets a little trickier, but with some out-of-the box thinking service providers can also use Pinterest to promote and market their business. Say you’re a professional organizer or interior designer – you can take before and after photos, submit them on your blog or Facebook and then pin them to your boards on Pinterest. A hair stylist can do the same with haircuts and colors that they perform. A pet sitter could take photos of the happy and well-cared for animals that they watch. A pastry chef can take photos of all of the delectable treats that they create.
Is your business more of the administrative type? There are still ways for you to use Pinterest for you business. Say you’re a Social Media Marketer, and you’re helping other moms promote their businesses. Pinterest can be a great way for you client to get their products pinned in two places, on your boards and theirs.
Still not convinced? Here is a great example of a way in which you can creatively use Pinterest to market your talents.
Of course the food bloggers and crafters have an advantage here, but everyday bloggers (mom, review, giveaway, business, etc) can also use Pinterest. Just the other day I wrote a post on the top holiday gifts for work at home women, and even though I’m a business blogger, I was able to use the fun photos from this post on my Pinterest boards.
Have a cool giveaway or review running on your blog? Use some of the images in your post and add it to one of your boards. Again, don’t think literally (Giveaway Board) – try adding playful categories that these products can fit into. Chocolate delights, adorable pink clothes for girls. Same holds true for reviews – if you’re doing review on a product or book, you can add it to one of your Pinterest boards.
As you can see, the possibilities for Pinterest and marketing your business are endless. And the great thing about this social sharing site is that it is very Zen like. Nobody’s shouting their message in anyone else’s face – it’s just brilliant images floating in front of you.
Currently, Pinterest is not open to the general public. You must first request an invite from them – or be invited by another friend. I also must warn that it is highly addictive – in fact it is becoming one of my favorite places to search for new recipes, blogs and unique gifts.
If you would like an invite to Pinterest – please leave your email below and I will send one to you.
And feel free to join me on Pinterest – I’m at Holly R Hanna.