This month in my series designed to help you get your small business on social media, even if you can’t afford a social media manager just yet, I’m talking about Pinterest.

When I discussed how to choose a social network for your small business I mentioned that Pinterest isn’t a social network. So why, you may be asking, am I talking about it at all in a social media series? The answer is pretty simple; it can drive a lot of traffic.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is regularly slung into the “social media” barrel with the likes of Facebook and co, but it is really a search engine. Imagine if Google and Instagram got it together; an aesthetically pleasing search engine.

The premise is that it is a digital pin-board; you can “pin” anything you can find on the internet and collate those pins into boards so they are easy to find.

How do I use it?

First you need to set up a business account, this gives you access to stats, advertising and extra options which you don’t get with a standard account. Fill out your profile completely, explaining who you are and what you do, and ensure you claim your website and any other social accounts too. Claiming them links your Pinterest account to them, showing them as your official sites and enabling all Pins from those places to be credited to you.

Enable rich pins. Rich pins allow for extra information to be added to your Pins, meaning they stand out more in the feed and look more professional.

Next, set up some boards. These can be for different aspects of your business, different services you offer, or just relevant topics. To give you an idea, my own Pinterest boards include Facebook, Twitter and small biz tips and tricks. Make sure you also explain in the description of each board what it’s about.
Top Tip: make sure you also have a prominent board which contains only your content.

What to Pin

Pin things that your ideal client is interested in. If you’re a small, ethical clothing store, consider pinning information on ethical living more generally or sustainable living, maybe your ideal client is also vegan so you include pins about vegan leather alternatives. Don’t stray too far from your lane, but curate a Pinterest account which is of interest to your ideal client.

Keep in mind that people aren’t searching single words on Pinterest. Including slightly longer captions allows you to include more specific keywords. Rather than “clothing” or “fashion,” opt for “ethical clothing” or “sustainable fashion” or even “sustainable vegan fashion.”

Here is the key, make a note, write it down, put it on a sticky note, point: Pin mostly other people’s things! Pin things you’re reading across the internet, pin your favourite podcasts, pin tools and services you love, pin anything relevant that isn’t yours. Pinterest is hot on spam and you pinning only your content, that’s spam. The general rule of 80/20 (the 20% being your content) is a great way to make sure you’re still promoting your own things but are also curating an amazing, varied and useful account.

How to Pin

Make sure you are creating an image optimised for Pinterest for all content you want to Pin; blog posts, podcasts, videos, products, etc. Upload these images to wherever that content is hosted and include a description which will be shared whenever someone pins it.

I use the following code to add Pinnable images on my website, though there are other methods I have found this to be the most reliable.

<img src=”LINK TO SMALL IMAGE”
data-pin-url=”URL PIN LEADS TO ”
data-pin-media=”PINNABLE IMAGE URL”
data-pin-description=”PIN DESCRIPTION”/>

The Pinterest basics tl;dr*

Make your account a hub for everything your ideal client loves. Embrace the idea of sharing other’s content and offering value. Create a Pinnable image to everything you want to share.

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*tl;dr = too long; didn’t read. The key information from the post.