Using Pinterest as a Marketing Tool

Using Pinterest as a Marketing Tool

by Stephanie Morrow, June 2013

Social media has become a lucrative medium for marketing goods and services, whether it's giving away coupons to potential customers who “like” a Facebook page, enticing users to “follow” your business on Twitter, or posting commercials and how-to videos on YouTube. However, a social media network that many business owners have not yet tapped is Pinterest. This site has millions of potential customers who may be interested in following your company's new interests and branding techniques.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a social networking site that allows users to discover and share similar interests visually by “pinning” (posting) images or videos on virtual pinboards (Web pages). Pinboards are usually organized by theme, such as home décor, cooking, entertainment or architecture. The boards can be shared with individuals who have similar tastes and interests. For example, when an individual posts a picture of her newly decorated kitchen, she will post a picture for others to either save on their own Pinterest site or “repin” to their followers. Users can also “like” and comment on pins and then reshare them through Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, or even to their own personal websites or blogs. Basically, users connect based on what they find interesting, and companies have discovered ways to capitalize on this social networking phenomenon.

Phenomenal Growth Spurs Interest from Large Companies

The phenomenon that has enticed mega-companies like Lowe's, the Home Depot, and IKEA to use the site for marketing purposes is the tremendous growth in new users over a short time period According to Daily Infographic, the number of unique (nonreturning) visitors to the site increased by 429% from September to December 2011. Daily users increased by more than 145% since the start of 2012, according to Sirona Consulting. Target marketing is also unique to Pinterest, with approximately 97% of users being women.

Many companies have created Pinterest accounts to promote beautiful and unique pins to the nearly 5 million users who spend an average of 15 minutes per day on the site. Users can add images and videos in a strategic, organized fashion, creating beautiful online collages to help market their products. However, as with all social media, there is a fine line between creating experiences users feel enrich their lives and blatant self-promotion, which most users find repellent. Below are five tips to market your goods and services through Pinterest without turning off “pinners” through obvious advertising tactics:

  1. Create a visual, user-generated, fan-based pinboard. The first thing to remember about Pinterest is that it is visual: text on this site is minimal, generally consisting of a description of the image. So be sure to focus on your best visual content. In addition, because Pinterest allows other users to contribute their own pins to your hosted pinboards, have your fans help in your marketing! Ask customers to pin images in a showcased board on your site, which makes your Pinterest site a fan-based promotional site as well as a marketing site.
  2. Advertise your Pinterest site everywhere. Once your Pinterest site is off and running, add a “Pin-It button” to all of your other marketing materials, including your website and Facebook page. This will help to expose your new brand to other audiences with the click of a button. You can also add a “follow” button so that customers will see your pins automatically. Similar to Twitter and Google+, Pinterest users can use hashtags to tag their pins and make their content easier to search via the social media world. By using an integrated social media marketing method of combining sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ with Pinterest, you will leverage the popularity of your Pinterest account with customers in a nonintrusive way.
  3. Hold a contest. As long as your contest adheres to the Pinterest terms of use, you may want to hold a contest that asks users to create a pinboard using your products or services. This is a great way to engage your customers and build awareness for your products. For example, say a customer pins a picture of herself wearing the shoes you market. If that picture is re-pinned by other users, you're getting word-of-mouth advertising that money can't buy! Your followers can then vote on the pin they like best, creating an even deeper connection.
  4. Create a video board. Many new users of Pinterest do not realize that pins are not just static images, but can also be videos. Create a separate pinboard that features interesting videos your company produces, such as how-to videos of employees demonstrating your products, videos of your employees at trade shows or events or, with permission, videos of customers using your products. Because the video sections of Pinterest are much smaller than the image sections, you will stand out as new and innovate in the Pinterest world.
  5. Develop future branding. Not only can you use Pinterest to market your existing goods and services, it's also a great way to develop your future brand. Check out your customers' pinboards to see what interests them. Showcase their pins in a separate board and add to your own collection of related pins. You can also comment on others' pins, which is a great way to put your face in front of new followers.


Pinterest is a unique and beautiful way to entice new customers, and the impressive statistics show that the users will more than likely increase exponentially over the next year, one pin at a time.