Pinterest for Entrepreneurs: Why?
Even if you don’t use Pinterest as part of your marketing strategy, here are some things you should be aware of as an entrepreneur.
Sure, when Pinterest first started out it was used by lots of people to post recipes and crafting ideas. But that’s all changed now. If you haven’t checked the platform out lately, I bet you’d be surprised to see that Forbes, Wired, Small Business Trends, WeWork, and even Gary Vaynerchuk are all on it.
Before you roll your eyes and say “Oh no, not another social media channel I need to be posting on!”, let me explain why I am on it, why I find it so valuable, why I don’t really spend a lot of time on it, and why you should not upload another blog post without making sure you have at least one Pinterest-ready graphic for it (even if you’re not on Pinterest!).
Why I Am on Pinterest
To be honest, I did start using Pinterest as a place to save recipes. But then I realized that I had all of these bookmarks on my browser for various business tips, social media tips, writing tips, and podcasts of interest. It was a chore for me to scroll around trying to find and organize my internet browser bookmarks in a way that made it easy for me to find what I was looking for.
Enter: Pinterest. I created a board for “Social Media Tips.” I found that to be a useful way of organizing all of my bookmarks, so I created more boards. I now also have boards for topics like “Pitch Decks and Presentations,” “Branding,” “Tips for Designing Graphics,” and “E-book Creation.” I am on Pinterest because I really do use it like a big digital bulletin board where I can find info I want, quickly.
I don’t have a lot of followers, but as you can see from the image on the left, anyone who finds me there can see my (very brief) profile description and a link to my website. If they find my boards to be useful to them, they can follow either me or an individual board.
Why I Find It So Valuable
When I go to the main Pinterest page, it shows me pins (images for articles) from the people I follow. This is one social media channel where I actually don’t mind the random order. It never claimed to be in any type of chronological order in the first place. The search function is also very useful for when you are looking for lots of information on a single topic.
Another thing I find valuable about the way Pinterest is set up is that I can follow a person, or I can follow just one of the boards that they manage. So, if someone has a great board about designing graphics for Instagram, I can follow that board — and that board only — and not see all of the pins they post to their board for comic book illustrations.
Just imagine if, on Facebook, you could follow a friend’s posts about their children and job, without having to see all of their posts about what they eat at every meal!
Why I Don’t Spend a Lot of Time on It
I don’t have to. Pinterest is not the kind of place where an entrepreneur has to be posting every day just to be noticed. There’s no pressure to post regularly. You create your boards, you follow other people’s boards, you check in when you’re looking for tips or if you want to refer back to a pin you know you have. If you sell products through a shop, Pinterest will be a lot more important for you. But for me, as a freelancer, it’s not as crucial for me to post regularly here.
Why You Should Have at Least One Pinterest-Ready Graphic for Each of Your Blog Posts
When you “pin” a URL for a website page or blog post you want to bookmark or save, Pinterest will look for photos or images on that page, and then show you the images. You can choose which image you want to save as the bookmark you pin to your board. But what if there’s no image? Or what if the image has no text to remind you of what you’re bookmarking? Take a look at one of my boards in the image below.
Here, you can see that some of the pins have an image that includes the name of the article I am saving. Or, it’s an infographic that I am bookmarking. You can also see that some of the pins are just photos. I have to manually type the name of the article in the description so that I know what it is when I go back to it in the future. (Hmmm… a guy with an empty wallet? What was that article about?)
You can also see in the above image that some of the pins are just a boring gray box with the article title — sometimes cut short — squeezed into it.
Now think about your own blog posts. How many of them include a photo or image? How many of them include a photo or image that also has the title of the blog post on it? Even if you never want to have your own Pinterest account, other people may be trying to share links to your blog posts as pins on their own Pinterest boards. It makes good sense to create an attractive, pinnable image that includes the title of your blog post (and maybe even the name of your business).
After I started using Pinterest to pin articles that I wanted to bookmark, I tried pinning one of my own blog posts — and I was horrified. At that point, I started making sure that every blog post I wrote had at least one image that included the title. That way, if anyone wanted to pin my blog post, they’d have an attractive image that also showed the title.
You can see in the image above what it looks like when I pin one of my blog posts. A selection of images is shown. If you have no images in your blog post itself, Pinterest will take images from your website background on that same page (you can see my website “hero image” as one of the pinnable options).
You can also see at the bottom of the photo that Pinterest also shows me images from my website that others have already pinned to their own boards!
There’s also an option to set your profile to a “Business Profile” — similar to the feature that Instagram introduced a while ago. I haven’t explored this option yet, but when I do, I’ll create a new article about it.
Pinterest may not be the best place to reach your target client, but you should at least be aware of the above points about how it CAN be used by entrepreneurs to simply make daily life — and online research — easier.