Piquing Interest with Pinterest: Selling your Small Business

by Miles Hall

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Pinterest has been a hot topic lately, and with social media outlets skyrocketing, small businesses owners have begun looking into utilizing the Pinterest platform to increase profitability and drive traffic back to their sites. These same tactics can be employed by small business owners looking to sell their businesses, though there are a few things to think through before diving in completely.

What Is Pinterest?

One of the fastest growing social media websites, Pinterest is essentially a virtual corkboard that you can “pin” your interests on. People can view your board and see what types of interests you have pinned, and vice/versa. A quick scan will show you that most of the users are women, and that fashion, jewelry, makeup, hairstyles, workout tips, inspirational quotes, and home décor are some of the most frequently repinned items. While they are not as prominent, pins dealing with cars, engines, science, and nature are out there as well, providing a balance to the traditionally female-centric interests, and offering something more for males to pin and repin. Essentially, if one were to replace all of the text on Twitter’s website with pictures, you would have Pinterest.

Practical Application

The brief description above doesn’t do Pinterest justice, as the things that people pin are pictures, videos, or infographics that are often intense, beautiful, or visually stunning, and that link back to an original website—which is exactly where businesses come in. It has been shown that Pinterest has been driving loads of traffic back to small business websites, causing a lot of owners and operators to invest in the social media platform. Not only that, but a recent study by Bizrate Insights shows that 70% of consumers use Pinterest to get inspiration on products to purchase, and that 69% of consumers found an item that they either purchased or wanted to purchase.

Selling Services Instead of Products

If a company doesn’t sell anything on Pinterest, they can still generate traffic by pinning and repinning things that are in line with their company philosophies or services. A well-executed campaign can drive plenty of traffic back to a website when the right pins are posted, and, while not likely, it is possible for a particularly creative or inspiring pin to go viral.

Using It to Sell Your Small Business

In terms of selling a small business, Pinterest can be wielded as an effective weapon. If you are just putting your business on the market, or are about to, there is nothing like a spike in consumer interest to make the potential buyers of your business salivate. This platform plays well with many other social media platforms as well, and if you are generating traffic and awareness by pinning on Pinterest, those pins will show up on Facebook and Twitter as well if you want them to. With the rate that Pinterest is growing and with how easy it is to pin on the site, many would agree that it is a “worth-it” investment.

The Downsides

The problem that one might find with Pinterest is that it is still very small, at least in comparison to the other social media monoliths like Facebook and Twitter. Others are disenchanted by the extremely high number of women using the site, especially when selling products like software or lawnmowers, for example (though Mr. Rooter, a national plumbing company, has very effectively executed Pinterest campaigns). A final consideration is that the time invested in marketing through Pinterest is not profitable enough and will end up costing more than it is worth. Nobody wants to buy a business that is investing poorly and losing money.

It Can’t Hurt

Overall, the keyword here is moderation. Even if your marketing demographic doesn’t speak to women, you can still find niche demographics on Pinterest. Also, you don’t have to put in any more than 20 minutes per day for your Pinterest marketing to be effective. If you aren’t spending more time than it is worth on Pinterest, it really can’t harm your business. So sign up, log in, and start pinning!

Do you have any experiences with Pinterest and your business? What are your thoughts? Let us know!

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Leon
Twitter:
January 11, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Yes, I will do so. Thank you so much! :-)

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Michael January 8, 2013 at 12:04 pm

There are 2 sites I find that can drive instant traffic booms. Stumbleupon and Pinterest. If you are sitting on the fence about pinning, I say, give it a try.
Michael recently posted..Video: Sleigh Spinning With HarryMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 8, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Hi Michael,
That’s great that you’re driving traffic to your site via Stumbleupon and Pinterest. The traffic that i generate from both of those sites is negligible. Do you have any tips that you can share with us? I think basically, a blog like mine doesn’t really lend itself well for pinning.

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Leon
Twitter:
December 25, 2012 at 2:33 pm

This is a good article and definitely will help me. I am so clueless with Pinterest.
Leon recently posted..How to Choose the Right Wedding PhotographerMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 8, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Hi Leon,
Good luck with Pinterest. I think it should be a perfect social media site for you to participate on. If you’re looking for ideas on what to pin, I’d suggest checking out what other wedding photographers are pinning and how they’re using it to drive traffic to their sites.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Top 6 SEO and Social Media How-To Posts of 2012My Profile

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Jeri
Twitter:
December 5, 2012 at 10:11 pm

I’ve used Pinterest to create a storyboard for my work in progress. I’m pinning quotes every two weeks or so as I polish chapters. I’ve also started making quotable images with my website address on them. I’ve experimented with a few other things as well such as Cool Book Covers. At first I thought Pinterest was another time waster, but now that I’ve had an account for a few months, I can see lots of potential.
Jeri recently posted..JeriWB Writes: Lost Girl Road Update #6My Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 8, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Hi Jeri,
Somehow, I missed your comment here. (Sorry about that.) I hadn’t thought about pinning quotes. I’m going to check out your Pinterest boards. It sounds like a really good idea. Thanks for sharing it!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..How To Set up Google Authorship & the Rel=Author TagMy Profile

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Jeannette Paladino
Twitter:
November 30, 2012 at 7:20 pm

I have a Pinterest account but I opened it to learn what it was about. I sell a service and I don’t have visual images to share, not unless someone wants to look at a bunch of copywriting. I think it’s a great network for businesses with a product to sell.
Jeannette Paladino recently posted..How to Network, Build Relationships & Find a Job on LinkedInMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 8, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Hi Jeannette,
Jeannette, I apologize for just replying to your comment now! It’s funny that I recently left a comment on the guest post on your blog (about infographics) and then I see your comment here. As I mentioned (in the comment that I left for you), I don’t have visual content on my blog to share either. I’m mainly pinning SEO and Social Media infographics. Since those are both topics that I want to rank for in Google, I thought that would be an appropriate strategy for me.

A lot of the infographics that I’m pinning are from authority sites. So, I’m sharing relative content from bloggers who I respect. To me, it’s a win-win and it does not take a lot of my time to do it.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Top 6 SEO and Social Media How-To Posts of 2012My Profile

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Jeannette Paladino
Twitter:
January 8, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Sherry — you make good points. I will start pinning appropriate images from my site. Thanks.
Jeannette Paladino recently posted..How Infographics Can Create Compelling Content for Your BlogMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 30, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Hi Kabenlah,
Thanks for letting us know that you were enlightened somewhat by Miles’ post. I think the best way to understand Pinterest is to dive in and try it. :)

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Ron November 30, 2012 at 2:45 pm

It seems that you can’t read anything on FB these days that doesn’t involve Pinterest in one way or another, products, recipes, crafts. I think it’s an up and coming social website that will only get bigger and a great way to promote your business or products. You know what they say about getting in on the ground floor. It might take a bit of tweaking but I think in the end it will be of great benefit.

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 30, 2012 at 7:00 pm

That is so true Ron. When Miles offered to write a guest post on Pinterest, I quickly accepted. Ther is so much being written about it. I think you’re wise to get “in on the ground floor”. At the very least, I think everyone should at least create a profile and reserve their user name. (Reserving your user name on the majority of the social media sites will prevent someone else from taking it.)

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Howard Forton
Twitter:
November 30, 2012 at 5:43 am

A great Post and I have recently starting using Pinterest alongside my business blog, tweeting, Google+ and Facebook. Its early days, but it’s visual nature appeals to me and its a great way of discovering and sharing all sorts of images, links and Infographics -which are great. It takes less time than FB/Twitter and to me, it’s richness and ease of finding relevant content makes it a no-brainer for my particular businesses. A picture paints a thousand words and all that. I just hope I am not being dazzled by the gloss! Time will tell. Another arrow in the social media quiver.

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 30, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Hi Howard,
Thanks for letting us know that you enjoyed Miles’ guest post. There’s no denying that Pinterest appeals to people who learn visually. I’m surprised that you think it takes less time to share on Pinterest than on Twitter. I find the opposite to be true but that may be because most of the blogs that I pin from don’t have the Pinterest share button on them. Then again, other than infographics, I don’t pin much at all (at least yet).
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Is Your Email Address Part of Your Brand?My Profile

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Heather
Twitter:
November 30, 2012 at 1:05 am

I love Pinterest! I don’t think its the best way for me to get traffic to my blog/business though. It’s #20 as a referrer, way behind twitter and Facebook. But I like it anyway.
Heather recently posted..Blogs in Style: The Manicure EditionMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 30, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Hi Heather,
Thanks for sharing that stat with us. At least Pinterest is showing up in your analytics. Even though it may not be driving traffic, it may very well be helping you to build awareness of your brand. (That’s pretty much the only reason I pin on Pinterest at all.)
Sherryl Perry recently posted..What Google Authorship Means for SEOMy Profile

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Krunal November 29, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Hi Miles,I LOVE Pinterest.One of the fastest growing social media websites.I think you are right in terms of selling a small business, Pinterest can be wielded as an effective weapon.Thanks!
Krunal recently posted..BSNL Recruitment 2012-13 for DGM Telecom Operations and DGM FinanceMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 30, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Hi Krunal,
Thanks for letting us know that you liked Miles’ guest post about using Pinterest to sell your business.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..How to Use SEO to Improve Your Website Ranking in GoogleMy Profile

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Leora
Twitter:
November 28, 2012 at 7:05 am

I have used Pinterest to pin websites that I\’ve worked on to a portfolio board as well as to pin articles and any visually interesting material that might be relevant for design. I\’ve also been active on New Jersey boards, which is a way to connect with those in your own geographical area. I\’ve seen some local businesses do nice pins of photos from articles or websites. It can be an alternate way to connect.
Leora recently posted..Social Media QuestionsMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 30, 2012 at 11:33 am

Leora,
Having a portfolio board is an excellent idea! I know I follow you on Pinterest. I’ll check out your boards again to see what you’ve pinned. I will definitely create a portfolio board now. Thanks!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Why You Should Be Your Own Google Analytics Ninja and 4 Steps To Do It – Part 1My Profile

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Leora
Twitter:
November 30, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Sherry, one note about pinning a whole website – Pinterest doesn’t have a way of taking a screenshot. So one needs to take one’s own screenshots and pin those. I spent several hours one afternoon a while back doing just that, then creating pages just for pinning, then pinning them. I investigated screenshots in the process (see http://biz.leoraw.com/website-screenshot/ ) and really like a tool called Snapito.
Leora recently posted..Social Media QuestionsMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 30, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Great post Leora. I shared it where I could. I left a comment for you and mentioned a Windows freeware application called MWSnap. (Someone else here may have a use for it.) I use it all the time for capturing screenshots for my blog posts. It’s simple to use and does a great job.

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Ray November 28, 2012 at 4:53 am

Hello Miles,
I have read quite a few posts about Pinterest. I have visited the site on a few occasions, but honestly I don’t quite get it. We just sign up and post some images and that is supposed to bring us traffic? So far I have been putting off signing up, mostly because I don’t get the whole concept I guess, and it confuses me a little. I am probably missing out on a great opportunity I know. There are so many sites I need to spend more time checking out like Pinterest.
Ray recently posted..Be Careful With SuhosinMy Profile

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Miles Hall
Twitter:
November 28, 2012 at 10:10 am

Ray,
It took a wife and a mother-in-law to get me going on it, and I had no idea how to do any of the things they were talking about until I just sat down and signed up. The easiest way to figure out Pinterest is to make an account and just play around on it for awhile. Good luck!

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Doreen Pendgracs
Twitter:
November 27, 2012 at 11:30 pm

As a highly visual person … I LOVE Pinterest. It’s like eye candy for me. I go to Pinterest anytime I ned a quick pick-me-up. It’s almost like caffeine … or chocolate … for me!
Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..tips to make you a better bloggerMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 30, 2012 at 11:25 am

Hi Doreen,
I think Pinterest is a great fit for you. You always add images to your blog posts and both chocolate and travel are topics that lend themselves well to pinning.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Are Your Website Visitors Sticking Around Or Bailing Out?My Profile

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Ann Mullen November 27, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Miles, I really like the part about how a service can use Pinterest. I am trying to get something like that going for my clients. Thanks for the information.
Ann Mullen recently posted..In Home Care Givers and Workplace DiscriminationMy Profile

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Miles Hall
Twitter:
November 28, 2012 at 9:50 am

Thanks Ann, and good luck with that–let us all know how it goes!

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Jackie
Twitter:
November 27, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Thanks for a wonderful summary of how Pinterest might fit well into a small business’s marketing plan.

As you mentioned, some businesses are concerned that Pinterest may not give them the results they’re looking for since it is very heavily populated (about 70%) women. I think this is just a matter of knowing your target audience, and whether or not the Pinterest demographic fits. Many businesses market to the twenty and thirty something, well educated women on Pinterest. If that’s your business, then you should definitely have a Pinterest profile!

You also mentioned how you can pin services if your business doesn’t sell products. That’s a great point. Pinterest is really about selling ‘the lifestyle’ around your products and services. Don’t forget to entertain, inspire, or educate with highly eye-catching pins that your community will find valuable. Don’t just pin all your own stuff!

Thanks!
Jackie recently posted..Your Last Minute 2012 Holiday Marketing Cheat SheetMy Profile

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Miles Hall
Twitter:
November 28, 2012 at 9:44 am

Jackie,
You are absolutely right, knowing your target audience is a huge element to running ANY successful marketing campaign–though I do think that there are a lot of businesses that forget that women DO use their products and services. If these businesses were to tap into Pinterest, they might be pleasantly surprised.

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 30, 2012 at 10:34 am

Hi Jackie,
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Miles’ guest post about Pinterest. You raise a good point about selling ‘the lifestyle’ when you sell services. Until Miles submitted this article to me, I had been taking a mini hiatus from Pinterest. I’m realizing now that I need to refocus on it.

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Roberta Budvietas
Twitter:
November 27, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Pinterest seems a great way for getting visual products and services across but the backlinks by listing my blogs and videos has helped my ranking a little. And I love using and posting the great infographics I see and then I know I can always find them easily

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 27, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Thanks for letting us know how you’re using Pinterest Roberta. I need to decide on a strategy for using it. For now, I’m basically pinning other bloggers posts. Like you, I also pin infographics.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..How to Use SEO to Improve Your Website Ranking in GoogleMy Profile

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Tanya
Twitter:
November 27, 2012 at 11:44 am

Hi miles,
Pinterest might be small now but I have a feeling that it is going to get really big and popular just like facebook did. I don’t find that to be a downside at all. Great post!
Tanya recently posted..Suffusion theme, CommentLuv Premium, live chat, oh my.My Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 27, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Hi Tanya,
Thanks for letting us know that you enjoyed Miles’ post. I think you may be right about the potential of Pinterest becoming a popular social media site. Some large brands are really embracing it. Etsy is one site that has really embraced it.

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