9 Secrets for Entrepreneurs Using Pinterest

By February 19, 2012

Q: How can I best use Pinterest to promote my business and engage new/existing customers?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to unemployment and underemployment and provides entrepreneurs with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of their business’s development and growth.

1. Follow Your Target Audience

Kelly AzevedoIf your target audience is using Pinterest as a resource to share their content, then you can connect by following, commenting and linking to their pins. Just like Twitter and other social media platforms, you want to balance promoting your own business with engaging with customers. Add value to your Boards not just by repinning content but also by adding new pins to the site. –Kelly AzevedoShe’s Got Systems

2. Add a “Pin It” Button

Matt MickiewiczYou can add a “Pin It” button to your content to make it easy for people to share on Pinterest, much like you might already do with Twitter, Google+ and Reddit. Before doing so though, you want to make sure that Pinterest is right for you–it will work well with highly visual consumer products, but is probably not worth doing for business-to-business services, for example. –Matt Mickiewicz, 99designs

3. Analyze Others’ Strategies

Kent HealyThere is no point in reinventing the wheel. Have you seen others use Pinterest in ways that successfully promote their business? Ask yourself some analytical questions about their techniques and discover how you can apply some of those same strategies. Marketing is not always about being novel; sometimess it’s matter of discovering what already works and adding your own unique spin. –Kent Healy, The Uncommon Life

4. “Pin It to Win It”

Logan LenzLaunch a site-wide contest that incites Pinterest users to “pin” products related to your business. With every “pin” doubling as an entrance into your generous giveaway or contest, the value you create–along with the fun and excitement that the campaign will generating for your site–will lead to a great deal of inherent marketing and brand awareness. –Logan Lenz, Endagon

5. Introduce Personality

Ashley Bodi Create boards that feature your employees and give a quick background that lets customers get to know each of them. Post products that you use within your business to get things done, share “behind the scenes” photos at the office and have a board of the places you have traveled to with your business. Be social; make potential customers not only love your brand, but you as well.-Ashley Bodi, Business Beware

6. Invite Clients to Create Inspiration Boards

Allie SiartoIf you’re in a visual field (photographer, designer, etc.), encourage your clients to set up a specific pinboard to collect inspiration around the project you’re working on. The visual inspiration boards will help you to get to know their styles, and you’ll have the added bonus of staying top of mind for referrals or new projects through the day-to-day sharing after the project ends. –Allie Siarto, Loudpixel

7. Celebrate the Community

Derek ShanahanPinterest’s real value at this stage is in the vibrant community they’ve brought together, so be thoughtful of the party you’re joining: it’s a visual cult that’s extremely celebratory and fast-paced. Offer something to the community through great content, unique events and active participation. You’ll find a great group there, but it’s not for every brand. –Derek Shanahan, Foodtree

8. Give Fans a Platform

Aaron SchwartzEvery business has evangelists. Find those customers who love Pinterest and ask them to try pinning your products. Their networks extend way beyond your company’s. By offering very little direction, you will learn how an audience thinks your product should be pinned (e.g. lifestyle shots, product shots, etc.). –Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

9. Decide on a Strategy Different From Other Content Marketing Platforms

Heather HuhmanEach social network and content sharing platform should have a unique angle on your business and space. Pinterest provides a fun way to share links, photos, videos, and more on different pinboards–so decide how you can best utilize this tool to give your audience something different than what you already provide on other networks. –Heather Huhman, Come Recommended

The Young Entrepreneur Council

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.