26 Ways to Make Pinterest Work for Your Business

social media how to Are you looking for tips on how to use Pinterest strategically?

Is your business benefiting from Pinterest?

Pinterest is an effective tool for businesses of all sizes and sectors.

From B2B to B2C, there are a number of goals you can pursue—from driving web and foot traffic to increasing visibility with influencers and consumers.

In this article, you’ll find 26 tips, an A-Z guide for making Pinterest work for your business.

#1: Add an On Hover Pin It Button to Your Images

To drive referral traffic from Pinterest, your blog images have to make it to Pinterest.

The on hover Pin It button appears over images on your blog when a user mouses over them.

In the image below, you can see the on hover Pin It button on Social Media Examiner.

pinterest-hover-button

Hover buttons are effective calls to action.

The button is easy to activate and Pinterest provides detailed directions for how to do it.

Note: Pinterest cautions that there’s no hover interaction on touchscreens, so if you’re mostly interacting with people on mobile devices, the button will not be helpful for you.

Install the on hover Pin It button for a great visual reminder that makes it easy for users to pin images from your site.

#2: Build Relationships With Influencers

Every platform has influencers who stand out within their industry. Relationships with those influencers can benefit your business.

Nyerr Parham offers advice about using Pinterest to locate online influencers who already have the attention of your target audience. She writes, “Start by following them and repinning the content you like. Go ahead and like their pins and make thoughtful comments. This can be a good first step in relationship-building.”

When Mari Smith pinned The State of Social Ads [Infographic], a company took the time to offer an insightful comment on the information illustrated in the infographic.

pinterest-pin-comment

Take the time to share meaningful comments on influencers’ boards.

Take the time and make the effort to comment on influencers’ pins to encourage relationships that result in visibility with new audiences.

#3: Convert Your Pinterest Personal Page to a Business Page

Last year, Pinterest added business pages to their offerings.

Even though there’s no obvious difference in how the page appears to users, business pages provide helpful information via the added analytics features that personal pages don’t.

Take a few minutes to convert to a Pinterest business page and learn about the analytics and metrics you can measure; for example, number of unique users, number of repins, impressions and visits to your site and content that gets the most repins.

pinterest-analyticts

Use Pinterest analytics to help inform your decisions about what and when to pin.

#4: Designate Boards to Represent Your Business

It’s easy to get caught up in the casual feeling of Pinterest and lose sight of the opportunity to create boards that are reflective of your business.

Constant Contact is a great example of a business that has created a number of business-specific boards. In total, they have 97 boards and of those boards, 20-30% of them relate specifically to their brand and even have the business name as part of the board name (e.g., Constant Contact Infographics, Constant Contact Guides, Life at Constant Contact, Constant Contact Offices).

Similar to how you share content on other social networking platforms, strike a balance on Pinterest. Curate boards that share information of interest to your target audience and boards that are about your business.

constant-contact-pinterest

Share the fruits of your labor on Pinterest.

#5: Explore Rich Pins

Want to add more information to a pin?

Pinterest has five types of rich pins that let you add topic-specific details to a pin.

  • Article pins include the headline, author, story description and link
  • Product pins include real-time pricing, availability and where to buy
  • Recipe pins include ingredients, cooking times and serving info
  • Movie pins include ratings, cast members and reviews
  • Place pins include an address, phone number and map

Decide which kind of rich pin you want to apply for, add the appropriate metatags to your site and validate your rich pins.

Use rich pins to give users more relevant information about the pins that interest them.

pinterest-rich-pin-place

Don’t just show your place of business on Pinterest, tell users where and how they can find you.

#6: Follow Other Businesses

Many businesses share content on Pinterest that they don’t share elsewhere.

Find out if businesses whose blogs you follow are on Pinterest by searching for them either with Pinterest search or by doing a Google search (e.g., HubSpot on Pinterest).

Connect with your trusted content providers on Pinterest to see what else they have to offer. 

#7: Greet Commenters

Don’t let Pinterest’s casual style keep you from engaging with commenters.

Target is a good example of a business that gets right in there to greet each person by name and offer timely responses. Users take notice when businesses engage in conversations.

Make sure your social media community managers respond to the comments and questions users post on pins.

pinterest-comment-reply

Respond to commenters on your business pins.

#8: Heed Image Dimensions as You Pin

To make sure your boards and pins look as inviting as they can, it’s a good idea to pay attention to the size of your images.

Caitlin Muir points out that long, skinny pins are the most clicked-on image sizes.

“They drive traffic because they require you to click on them so you can see the full size [to read them].”

Check out the Pinterest Cheat Sheet to Image Sizes to help make the most of your images.

pinterest-image-cheat-sheet

Keep the cheat sheet handy and remember to link pins back to your website.

#9: Invite Others to a Group Board

Looking for ways to collaborate with clients and prospects on Pinterest?

One way is to create a group board and invite users to pin to your board.

While others can contribute to the board, as the creator, you will be the only person able to change the board’s title and description. You can also remove pinners and any inappropriate pins from the board.

To learn more, take a look at Pinterest’s Top Group Boards with 1000 boards to choose from or browse Board Deck’s directory of Pinterest community boards.

pinterest-group-board

Group boards help increase your followers.

#10: Justify With the Facts

People want easy, digestible information. This type of information lends itself quite well to infographics.

Spend a few minutes on Pinterest and you’ll quickly find that infographics are one of the images people like, as well as repin. They’re also an excellent way to drive traffic to your website.

Andreea Ayers shares how an infographic she created and shared on a Pinterest board received 30,000 repins.

Even if your business doesn’t create any infographics of its own, share the ones you like and think are beneficial to your clients.

pinterest-infographic

Infographic pins are highly liked and shared on Pinterest.

#11: Keep Your Pins Inspiring

Inspiration on Pinterest comes in many forms with pins that share quotes, art, movies, books—you name it.

When Pinterest introduced place pins, they described the new feature as a way to “help people turn their travel inspiration into reality” with maps, addresses and phone numbers.

Pin images that will help inspire and dazzle your followers.

pinterest-inspiration

Pinterest is an excellent source of inspiration.

#12: Leverage Your Website Images

Steven Van Belleghem makes a compelling case for all companies to use Pinterest: “…it forces you to think visually and it helps you build a strong visual archive on a trendy site. A must for all companies across all sectors.”

Certain industries may be more image-friendly than others, but you probably have more images at your disposal for Pinterest boards than you think. Similar to a content inventory, take note of all of your brand’s image assets (i.e., graphics from white papers, web pages, charts, photos taken of your staff, corporate events).

Want to tell your brand’s story through images? Volkswagen USA is a good example of a business that has created a visual archive. Their board, VW Through the Years, uses old photos of their cars to visually demonstrate brand history.

pinterest-vw

Don’t know what to do with old business photos? Create a visual archive.

In addition to traditional images, different types of content can be pinned. We’ll discuss this in #21: Use Different Kinds of Content.

#13: Moderate Your Use of Pin It Buttons

Whether you’re using Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer, add the Pin It button to your browser and make pinning a seamless process.

But just because the button is there doesn’t mean you have to use it all the time.

Donna Moritz advises, “Don’t do a pin dump! Pinterest is unlike Facebook and Twitter where the feed-time is limited. Pins will remain in view for days or weeks due to the cyclical nature of their exposure. Pinning for a few minutes a couple of times per day is enough to get you started.”

pinterest-pin-it-button

Pin It buttons make it easy to pin things you come across.

#14: Name Images Strategically

Want to make sure your website images are found when users are searching the web for pins?

Jason Stanley suggests naming your images with keywords and hyphens (versus underscores) so search engines are sure to recognize the image name.

For example, use a name such as “custom-home-builder-stacked-stone-entryway.png” instead of the default camera name such as DSC_0166.jpg.

pinterest-image-name

Make your image names search-friendly.

#15: Optimize Pinterest for SEO

Content and SEO go hand in hand regardless of the platform. Pinterest is no exception.

HubSpot outlines 10 fantastic tips for optimizing a business’s Pinterest presence for search that include:

  • Choose an optimized company username
  • Optimize the “About” section
  • Include links back to your website
  • Differentiate your inboards
  • Speak your customers’ language
  • Use your pins’ descriptions wisely
  • Make sure the images you pin have descriptive file names and alt text
  • Incorporate hashtags
  • Leverage the long tail
  • “Pinjack” relevant search terms and images

Do what it takes to ensure that your pins are findable, and include a reference link back to your website to drive traffic.

pinterest-hubspot-links

HubSpot includes a link back to their landing pages in their pins.

#16: Promote Your Less-Followed Boards

When it comes to pinning, boards that get less of your attention are followed less.

Take advantage of all of the real estate you have on Pinterest and share the wealth of your successful boards!

Repin from boards with fewer followers to boards that have a related theme and more followers.

pinterest-board-pins

The New York Times Sweets pinboard has 63 pins and 27,272 followers. Their Spicy pinboard has 5 pins and 27,065 followers. Bumping up visibility for spicy pins would likely add more board followers.

#17: Quote Comments From Events

An effective way to promote an annual event is to pin notable comments from speakers to an event board.

Pinterest’s scrapbook look and feel make it easy for users to scroll through a board of quotes from last year’s speakers. The event board, in turn, serves as an adjunct to your marketing efforts for this year’s event.

Use a tool like Quozio to format your quotes for easy pinning.

pinterest-conference-quotes

HubSpot posted quotes from speakers at the Inbound Conference 2013.

#18: Reap the Benefits of Multiple Platforms

Still trying to decide whether you can manage another platform? Facebook and Twitter are working well? Pinterest is a visual platform that offers a user experience the other platforms don’t. Combined with your other efforts, Pinterest could provide the content balance you’re looking for.

To get started on Pinterest, Jim Yu advises businesses to add relevant boards;
short-list a handful of themes and kickstart boards aligned with some or all of them; pin images that are visually attractive and aligned with the board theme; and don’t aim to sell, aim to inspire your users.

Once you have Pinterest up and running, use Pinvolve to share your pins to Facebook and let your fans know you’re on Pinterest.

#19: Stay Informed of Pinterest’s Business Updates

Like most social media platforms, Pinterest introduces changes as it evolves.

Pinterest’s resources will help keep you updated on Pinterest news, tips and features.

Check out Pinterest’s business blog, sign up for their e-newsletter and the official Pinterest for Business page to stay updated.

pinterest-business-blog

Pinterest’s business updates will help keep you in-the-know.

#20: Title Boards With Keywords

Pinterest boards are more discoverable via search when the board name contains keywords.

Of the boards found in Pinterest’s search results for “Pinterest for business”, the ones that appear on the top of the list have the keywords directly in the board name. Make your boards more findable.

Optimize your boards for Pinterest search and you’ll get higher placement in results.

pinterest-board-titles

Use keywords in the name of your pinboard.

#21: Use Different Types of Content

Want to stand out from the competition?

One of the greatest, and perhaps most underutilized, features for creating a business presence on Pinterest is posting different types of content—video from YouTube, slideshows from SlideShare and audio from SoundCloud.

Pinterest is a wonderful way to collect your marketing messages all in one place:

pinterest-soundcloud-link

Entrepreneur on Fire’s interview with Mike Stelzner.

#22: Vary Board Position With the Seasons

Pinboard traffic is affected by seasons and holidays.

Jennifer Evans Cario writes, “The great thing about seasonal boards is they can be revamped and reused each year with no need to delete them. These boards can be relocated to the bottom of your profile page while you quietly add content to them as you run across it.”

Apartment Therapy has a Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas Exchange board that they’re currently showcasing on the top of their Pinterest profile. As you move through their profile, you can see other seasonal boards for Thanksgiving Decorating, Christmas Decorating and The January Cure.

As you plan new Pinterest boards, think about the seasonal impact on your sales and marketing cycle and plan your board display accordingly.

pinterest-seasonal-board

Celebrate the seasons with holiday and weather-themed boards.

#23: Write a Good Business Description

You have up to 200 characters to describe your business in the About section. Melissa Megginson suggests using them carefully. When in doubt about keywords or phrases to use, she says, “Check out your Google Analytics to see what drives people to your site… Make sure to keep it easy to read and not overly ‘keyword-y’.”

Organik SEO uses the following description of their business on their website: “Organik SEO is an online marketing company in San Diego specializing in local search SEO and social media marketing. We increase a business’ online exposure.”

On Pinterest, their description reads, “Organik SEO is a green friendly online marketing company specializing in social media and SEO.”

When restricted by the number of characters, their focus drills down to the keywords SEO, social media and online.

Add a clear and relevant business description to take advantage of SEO on Pinterest.

organik-seo

Business descriptions should be short and to the point.

#24: e(X)amine Pinterest Statistics

Is Pinterest right for your business?

There’s no doubt that Pinterest has made an impressive entrance into an already crowded list of social networking platforms. Before you jump in, you need to know that Pinterest can help you meet your goals.

Take a look at statistics and reports to help justify your business’s presence and glean insights about areas that you can tap into.

pinterest-growth-graph

Check out Pinterest’s growth. Graph source: Semiocast

#25: Your Company Values and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Initiatives

Pinterest can help you communicate what matters to your company.

Victoria Lennon offers tips about ways that B2Bs can use Pinterest. “If you’re running CSR initiatives, then create a compelling board that shows the work you are doing, reflecting the wider issues. Many companies develop values, which then sit on a website or intranet.”

The key here is to use the board to reflect the issues and values important to your business and remain visually interesting for your followers.

#26: Zero-in on Your Pinterest Followers

Who’s seeing, commenting and sharing your pins? Can that information help you to engage with individuals and businesses that may not have been an intended target in your Pinterest strategy?

For example, this pin from Toms’ Eyewear Giving pinboard was pinned to a number of users’ pinboards with names such as Giving, Giving Back, A Cause Worth Pursuing, One for One, Inspirational.

When your followers repin, read the comments the repin generates to help you find other like-minded users and possibly some good brand ambassadors.

pinterest-toms

Be curious about the individuals and businesses that share your pins. They may lead to places you hadn’t expected.

Over to You

We covered a lot of territory in this article and these are just a few ways you can be strategic with Pinterest and make it work for your business. Social Media Examiner publishes many useful articles about Pinterest. Be sure to check those out, too.

Check out the tips and try a few. See which ones resonate with your target audience and adjust your Pinterest strategy accordingly.

What do you think? Do you see any tips that you’ll consider using soon? What other business Pinterest tips can you share? Please leave your comments below.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

About the Author, Debbie Hemley

Debbie Hemley is a freelance writer and social media coach. She helps businesses develop and maintain social media content strategies. Follow her on Twitter @dhemley & Facebook. Other posts by »




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  • http://blogbizbuzz.com/ Joan-BlogBizBuzz

    Keyword targeting within the pictures extension, many forget this goes a long way to actually getting the picture to carry some weight. Pictures pinned directly onto Pinterest, from your personal photo’s via desktop PC; do an edit and add your URL.

  • http://navneetsau.com/ NavNeet Sau

    Great list of Pinterest tips for strategical marketing on Pinterest. I
    would like to include Pinterest scheduling tool, however, it is paid
    after 14 days trial.

    Also I have a question about Pinterest, what should I do when somebody placed the linked of his/her own website on my image after repinning.

  • deb1221

    Thanks for your comment and suggestions!

  • deb1221

    Check out info on protecting your images on tailwind’s blog

    blog.tailwindapp[dot]com/protect-images-on-pinterest/

    For something someone has already posted you could try asking them to either remove or to change the link. It doesn’t hurt to try!

  • treb072410

    Thanks for sharing a great tip Deb.. It is very useful for people like me who are just starting to explore social media…

  • deb1221

    Glad to hear it’s helpful to you.

  • treb072410

    It really is Deb, thanks again and hope to hear more from you soon.. :)

  • Betsey

    Excellent tips, Debbie! I’m really interested in rich pins, especially how they can aid with local SEO, so I really appreciated your overview and that you linked to the Pinterest for Business rich pins page (which saved me some digging!). Thank you for the great insights!

  • http://sproutsocial.com/features/social-media-engagement Sarah @ Sprout Social

    I think sometimes it’s easy to get lost on Pinterest. The visual focus makes curating stunning boards front and center. I love that you divulge further and give actionable tips for turning Pinterest into an avenue for connecting and furthering the brand.

  • http://www.thesocialsyndicate.com/ The Social Syndicate

    Excellent tips Debbie. I recently attended a webiner that Amy Porterfeild produced with Melaine Duncan on the Power of Pinning, also excellent. Businesses are starting to see the real value of Pinterest.

  • deb1221

    Rich pins provide some great features!

  • deb1221

    Thanks! I think once you start thinking about Pinterest you can begin to see great ways to visually showcase your business.

  • deb1221

    Yes, I agree. Businesses are definitely expanding their vision of what Pinterest will provide.

  • http://www.thenetimpact.com/ Jennifer

    I love using Pinterest for personal use but we need to do a better job of taking advantage of its benefits for business. These will be helpful tips to get us back on the right track in the new year!

  • deb1221

    Sounds like a great goal! Enjoy.

  • Mike Schoultz

    Thanks for sharing this useful post Debbie. Have a question for you. When converting the personal account to a business account, do all the pins posted come along? Or do you end up with 2 accounts and have to start over with the business account.

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Great post!

    Thank you for all of these great tips. I’ll check into converting my personal account to a business account.

  • deb1221

    Thanks for reading, Mike. Yes, all the pins and boards come along.

  • deb1221

    Thanks, Amandah. Yes, you’ll like the business account.

  • AmandahBlackwell

    You wouldn’t happen to know where I can find information on how to convert a personal Pinterest account to a business account. Thanks!

  • Sarah Bauer

    I really appreciate the breadth of examples used for this post because it demonstrates how Pinterest can be harnessed for brands and companies that step out of the classic Pinterest arenas such as weddings, food and home decor. Definitely inspiring for all those “boring” businesses out there!
    Cheers,
    Sarah Bauer
    Navigator Multimedia

  • deb1221

    Click on the word “convert” in #3, it will take you to the pinterest for business page. Since you already have an account, click where it says “Already have an account? Convert here.

  • deb1221

    Yes, isn’t it great to know that businesses don’t have to resort to being boring!

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Thank you!

  • http://jameshalloran.net/ James R. Halloran

    Thanks for sharing! I definitely agree with #15!

    If you optimize your Pinterest for the search engines, that’s more exposure for your business. Many people don’t realize how “unexplored” Pinterest still is and it’s a shame. Pinterest is a gold mine. You might as well beat your competitors to all the free exposure in the search results, right?

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  • deb1221

    I’m with you, James! Thanks for reading & commenting!

  • http://www.michaelofei.com/ Michael Ofei

    Wow what an informative post on how to use Pinterest for business! I agree with engaging with your followers and commenters. It doesn’t happen enough on Pinterest. Thanks for sharing. Mike

  • deb1221

    Mike, thanks for reading. Engagement really doesn’t happen enough. Well maybe we’ll see that change in 2014?

  • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ John Lee Dumas

    Debbie, these are great Pinterest strategies! I love that you’ve included how
    we can optimize our pins for SEO, and the image size cheat sheet is
    amazing! Also, a nice birthday bonus for me to see EntrepreneurOnFire as
    one of your examples; can’t wait to implement this on Pinterest stat :)
    Thanks for the great content!

  • http://socialscoremedia.com/ Jeremy Yancey

    I think one of the main challenges/obstacles with Pinterest is the ability for users to source and post images that aren’t copyright. Many ‘Pins’ are often just taken from Google Images. Perhaps Pinterest could look into a strategic partnership, similar to that of Facebook’s with Shutterstock, where users – especially businesses – could access and post high-quality Pins.

  • http://www.CardTruth.com/ CardTruth

    That concept about the On Hover
    Pin It Button is truly interesting. I am used to interacting with people on
    social media and I find these tips a good help and a visual reminder. It would
    also be helpful for people with online business.

  • http://navneetsau.com/ NavNeet Sau

    Watermark is different aspect @deb1221:disqus. How to I report to the user who pinned my image and placed his/her own link in source by editing it after repinning, can’t I report that user?

  • deb1221

    Unfortunately NavNeet, I can only share what I’ve read. I am not affiliated with Pinterest in any way.

    Here’s a useful link about issues people have encountered, http://greekgeek.hubpagesdotcom/hub/Is-Pinterest-a-Haven-for-Copyright-Violations.

    Maybe there is something there that will be helpful to you. If not, I’d suggest you write to Pinterest directly and see what they advise in this case.

    I’m sorry to hear you are having this experience.

  • deb1221

    Thanks! And, happy birthday btw.

  • deb1221

    Yes, certainly there are issues as you’ve mentioned. NavNeet and I have been discussing below.

    Here are two links that may be worth looking at:
    blog.tailwindapp[dot]com/protect-images-on-pinterest/
    http://greekgeek.hubpagesdotcom/hub/Is-Pinterest-a-Haven-for-Copyright-Violations

  • deb1221

    I agree. On Hover is quite useful. Thanks for reading.

  • http://www.HobbytoHOT.com/ Bonnie Andrews {Hobby to HOT!}

    Debbie, love this post, thank you! The only thing I didn’t see here that I love, love {because it saves oodles of time} is Viral Tag. It’s a fantastic pin scheduler and great resource. Thanks again for the comprehensive info – definitely pinning ;)

  • deb1221

    Bonnie, Thanks for your feedback and mentioning Viral Tag!

  • http://www.theedesign.com/ Lauren_Mktg

    Great tips! I love seeing what other brands do on Pinterest. Some are super creative, providing great inspiration for clients.

    We use cover images for our most important boards. It looks great and really helps to keep our brand image consistent across all our social channels.

  • deb1221

    Hi Lauren, Your cover images on Pinterest look great. Nice job! Best, Debbie

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  • Susan

    Such a helpful & detailed article, thanks so much. I am still very new to Pinterest but 12 months ago so was I to Twitter & now love, use & promote it all the time. Much to learn here.

  • Ann

    Thanks Debbie! Your tips are amazing!

  • Jerry Tang

    As a business owner can we pin images (copyrighted perhaps) from other business webpages/ boards etc?’

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  • Madhava Verma Dantuluri

    Good one

  • Lori Thomas

    Could you set up an account just for business? How would be the best way to do this?

  • Joelblack and Gold

    Two questions on how to engage people who repin, like or comment, how do you speak directly to these people? I receive hundreds of emails from Pinterest daily, but I feel like they are a waste since I can’t respond to these people or engage with them.

    The second question is technical and simple, but I’m overwhelmed with work. When I want to make a comment and include users in the comment to reach them, do I put @samantha_jones or @samantha jones for a pinner named samantha jones?

    To me, it seems like Pinterest keeps users at a distance by not allowing you to directly contact someone like Twitter does. Am I wrong and can it be made more direct?

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