How to Use Pinterest to Connect With a Local Audience
Do you want to strengthen ties with your local community?
Including a strong geographic focus in your Pinterest marketing can help you create more visibility with people who live or are interested in your locale.
In this article you’ll discover how to use Pinterest to connect with a local audience.
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#1: Add Geographic Information to Your Profile
Along with your keyword-rich explanation of what your business does and what you pin, be sure to mention what areas you serve or where your business is located. This helps you show up in Pinterest search results for your area, and lets people know if you’re close enough for them to visit or engage your services.
If your local business profile is missing this crucial bit of information, click the Edit Profile button to go to your profile. Make sure to enter your location and add more geographic cues in the About You section (think “Serving the Lakes Region of Southern North Carolina”) and consider whether your followers might appreciate the extra hint. This is especially helpful if you’re a franchisee.
Don’t limit yourself too much, though. Granite Ridge Estate, a wedding barn, lists their small-town location of Norway, Maine, but also uses “New England” so people searching a broader area have a good chance of discovering them.
Adding geographic information may seem like an obvious step, but you’d be surprised how many local businesses leave it out. Suppose you’re a photographer looking to attract new business. How will people know if you’re close enough to hire if you don’t tell them where you are and how far you’ll travel? Make it easy for people to find you and buy from you.
#2: Optimize Your Boards and Pins for Local Searches
Adding your location to the descriptions of individual pins can help people find you when they do a search on Pinterest or Google. That’s right, pins (as well as boards and profiles) can be indexed by Google.
Include your town or state name in a board or two, as well as any applicable pins. If you serve several areas or your area is known by several names, have a board for any location that people might search for. It’s perfectly fine to have more than one board with similar pins.
Here’s a Granite Ridge Estate pin that pops up in a Google Search for “Maine wedding venue Norway.”
The exact number of searches performed annually on Pinterest is unclear, but with 100 million users, you can be sure it’s significant. VentureBeat reports that the number of Pinterest searches has been increasing by about 81% per year, so it’s in your best interest to optimize for search.
If you search for “barn wedding new England” on Pinterest, you’ll see one of Granite Ridge Estate’s boards. The combination of the board title, description, and pins on the board helped the business show up for this search.
How can you use this tactic for your business? Wherever appropriate, add your location to your boards, board descriptions, and pin descriptions. If you want people from out of town to find you, think about how people would look for your area. They may not search for Norway, Maine (it’s tiny), but they might search for “Southern Maine,” “New England,” “Maine,” or “Southern New England.”
Using keywords strategically can help ensure your business shows up in location-centered searches. Go through your account and make sure you’ve used a location wherever it makes sense. For example, if you’re a photographer and you pin your work, add the location to the photos in each shoot. Did you take those amazing bridal photos at Scarborough Beach, Maine? Tell people that!
#3: Repin and Engage With Fellow Local Businesses
Pinterest is more of a search and discovery platform than a true social network. However, there are social elements that allow you to stand out from the crowd of solitary shoppers and pin collectors.
Search for your customers, business partners, or favorite local hangouts on Pinterest. If you don’t find them (not everyone has integrated location keywords), check their websites for a Pinterest link. Follow their boards and like, repin, and comment on their pins. It’s likely that they’ll return the favor, exposing your pins to their local followers.
To do this, simply find an active pinner in your local area and find something of theirs you can pin to your boards, either as a repin from their boards or directly from their site. Mention them by typing in “@” and their Pinterest handle.
Make it a point to do this several times a week with various businesses. You never know when you’ll get the attention of someone who can help promote your business in turn.
#4: Build a Resource-Themed Board
Even if you’re not trying to become a tourist destination, consider having a travel board or creating a truly useful place for people to find what they want in your local area. It might be, “10 Fun Things to Do in Norway, Maine.” Or maybe you go for something more closely related to your business, like “Wedding Flowers in Maine.”
On these boards, pin content from the websites or Pinterest boards of local businesses, making sure to @mention them in the description.
To create a board like this, you could start with a Google search for the types of businesses you want to feature in the area near you. Or pull inspiration from a review site such as Yelp to make sure you’re pinning places and businesses likely to be useful finds for pinners. In the wedding business, for example, there are several reputable niche review sites that make a great starting point.
In addition to taking advantage of Pinterest’s search components, this method of becoming a resource also increases your networking power. If you get a good response from people whose content you’ve pinned, you could invite those people to contribute to the board. They may have great local resources to share and you’ll increase your reach in the process.
You might also find local group boards and ask to be added as a contributor. Well-maintained, relevant group boards can be a great vehicle for expanding your reach. Look for boards in your niche on PinGroupie.
#5: Create Your Own Place Board
Place pins were originally designed as a way to help people plan trips, but you can also use them to create a board with your favorite local places.
These pins work with Foursquare and the Foursquare logo. The location name will often supersede your rich pin information, including your own branding and the page title, so you may not want to make every local pin a place pin. However, place pins can show up well in search, so it’s worth experimenting with them.
In the left image below, a Wedding Wire pin shows their branding and chosen title. In the right image, Foursquare overtakes this. Aim for a mix of place pins and regular pins to grow your brand awareness.
To create a place pin, pin something and then edit the pin. In the Place field, start typing in the name of the location. If the business or attraction is not on Foursquare, you can add the place (from Foursquare) or find the town and state and just use that.
Place pins are another way to improve your chances of being found in search and help build your reputation as an authority on your local area, making you someone people want to follow.
#6: Target Promoted Pins to a Geographic Area
Promoted pins are now available to all U.S. pinners and to Canadian pinners with a U.S. credit card. This is good news for your local business, as you can ensure even more local people see your content. Currently, promoted pins can be targeted to 210 U.S. and 147 Canadian cities.
You may not need to target just your local area, however. If you have a wedding venue in Norway, Maine, you might know that many couples come from New York City and Ohio. Capitalize on your deeper understanding of your best customers and promote your pins accordingly.
Tailor your promoted pin’s content and keywords to each area you target. For example, if you’re targeting pinners who live in your town, use words that the locals use in both your pin descriptions and targeted keywords.
If you’re hoping to reach New Yorkers who flood your town in the summer, use familiar language to appeal to them. While a local might use “Norway, Maine wedding venue,” someone from out of town might look for “New England wedding barn.”
Targeting your pins this way and optimizing descriptions for the search habits of your target audience will help you get more for your promoted pin investment and help more potential customers find you on Pinterest.
The challenge for local businesses on Pinterest is that people from anywhere can find your pins, repin them, like them, and visit your site. But if your funky café is in Charlotte, North Carolina and the pinner is in Boston, all their admiration won’t do you a whole lot of good (unless they’re planning a vacation). However, with just a few tweaks to your pinning strategy, you can attract more people in your geographic area to your pins and your business.
What do you think? Have you tried these tactics to improve visibility with your local audience? How do you promote your local business on Pinterest? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.