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Pinterest for small business owners

What is Pinterest? Well in case you haven’t heard all the buzz lately, it’s a fast growing new social network. According to Hubspot, "In December 2011, Pinterest made Hitwise’s list of the top 10 social networks, sitting at number 5 and beating out big names like LinkedIn and Google+."

I know, I can hear you saying "I don’t have time for yet another social networking site." But if it could help you grow your business would you be interested? Well it can, more on that in a minute. First let me tell you a bit about Pinterest.

If you’re a visual person like me, you’re going to love Pinterest. It’s all about sharing images by "Pinning" them to your "Boards."

You organise your "Pins" by putting them on Boards you create and name. Other people can "Repin" your Pins onto their Boards as well as "Like," "Comment" and share them on Twitter and Facebook.

It’s super easy to get started and I've got several resources to help you along scattered throughout this article.

Getting started

First things first, you need to request an invitation. Just visit Pinterest and click on the button to request an invitation. Don’t worry, the process goes fairly quickly.

A great tip I picked up from the Hubspot report (see resources) is that once you get your invitation choose to register using your Twitter account and the same e-mail address you use for Twitter (not your Facebook account) so you can share your pins on Twitter.

It’s not possible to use your Business Facebook account with Pinterest, only your Facebook Personal Profile. From there complete all of the profile information and you’re ready to get started.

Benefits of using Pinterest

Besides the fact that it’s fun and addictive? One word, traffic. Serious traffic to your website. And more traffic means more clients. And who doesn’t want that?

You can monitor how much traffic you’re getting from Pinterest by using Google Analytics. This is a fabulous and free tool I hope you’re already using to monitor your website. 

What to Pin

Pinterest is not meant to be used only for promotional purposes. Even the big brands are being creative about what they Pin.

As a small business owner you want to mix it up and have a good balance of fun and interesting information along with promotion of your products and services.

Use Pinterest to illustrate different aspects of your personality and your business. What’s the right ratio? I always advise more value than promotion.

Actions to take

 Install the "Pin It" button to your browser so you can start Pinning. Then create some Boards and start Pinning.

Pinterest will give you some ideas for Boards, feel free to change the names of the Boards to something unique and to add additional Boards. Think about creating Boards around specific topics that relate to your business.

 Start following people. You can find people to follow using the "Find Friends" drop down box under your name in the top right navigation.

You can also find people by browsing through Pins by going to Pinterest and clicking on "Everything" right below the Pinterest logo. There you can also select specific categories to search.

 Repin, Comment, and Like other people’s Pins. You don’t have to be following someone to do this. You also have the option to share each Pin on Facebook and Twitter.

 Be sure to include the url to your Pin in the description box of each Pin. You can use a url shortener like bitly so the link looks tidy, and more importantly so that you can track the clicks. Just like on Twitter, you can also use hashtags in the description area.

 Add a "Follow me on Pinterest" button to your website.

 Add the "Repin" button to your blog posts. But before you do, make sure that you have designated a featured image for each post. Otherwise, it’s kind of pointless. More on that here.

 Upload your videos to your Boards. If you post your videos in blog posts, it’s best to Repin them from your blog so that the traffic goes to your blog / website. If your videos are only on YouTube, you can Repin them directly from YouTube using the Repin button.

I hope you’re starting to see how you can use Pinterest to grow your business. As with most things that are new, the best way to learn is just to dive in and start using the it. So set aside some time to get started with Pinterest and watch your traffic grow.

Resources

 3rd party tools for Pinterest
- Pinreach | Pinterest influence & analytics
- Pinpuff | Calculate your pinfluence
- Pinerly | Popular pins, boards, top pinners, stats & more

 "How To" resources
- Free 44 page ebook from Hubspot
- Free Pinterest course on Grovo
- 56 Ways to Market Your Business on Pinterest
- Help on the Pinterest website

 Follow on Twitter
- @pinterest
- @pinterestexprt

 Download the iPhone app


Stephanie’s Pinterest account can be found here.

Stephanie

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Stephanie Ward

Stephanie Ward is a Business & Marketing Mentor who helps passionate small business owners attract more clients and grow their businesses.She offers a free special report, 7 Steps to Attract...

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