As a small business owner, marketing on a shoe string budget is a challenge that one encounters possibly every day. Thanks to the advent of social media, marketing within budgetary constraints is no longer impossible. However, most businesses big and small, veer towards Facebook and Twitter for promotion and tend to overlook the power of Pinterest in this regard.

In my work as Business Consultant, I come across several small business owners who feel Pinterest is just about great pictures and as such is more of a visual medium, one that does not give you the power of words to build your brand. But I beg to differ. Today, Pinterest boasts of about 500,000 business accounts and a whopping 70 million unique users who have made more 30 billion pins till date. A 2013 (second quarter) study showed that almost 26% of total referrals to e-commerce websites came from Pinterest. The study concluded that while facebook delivered more social commerce conversions , Pinterest users spemd more in terms of average order value.

 If you are all out to grow your business through social media, you cannot ignore Pinterest for long. I have compiled the following tips on how you can use Pinterest to boost your small business.

Sign Up

The first thing, join Pinterest, create an account, it’s free and it has immense potential as a tool for viral marketing. If you look at Pinterest very carefully you will discover that more than 80% of the content users share on the site comprises repins. People see something they like and they repin it, so brand engagement is carried out by users rather than companies themselves.

Repins essentially are a form of word of mouth marketing in the virtual context. The fact that people share things they like is an endorsement in itself. In this essentially lies the power of Pinterest.

Add a Pin It Button to Your Website

If you want to get people involved then adding a pin-it button to your website is another good way to do it, and that too for free. This will allow people to pin things that interest them from your website and encourage them and people in their network to follow you.

Update Your Pinterest Page Regularly

If you’ve ever wondered why marketers repeatedly bombard you with the same messages repeatedly, attribute it to the short attention span we have. We live in the age of information overload and this is precisely why you cannot just create your Pinterest account, upload a few images and let it be.

You need to update it regularly so that content is fresh and people stay engaged and interested.

Be Creative with Your Boards

Yes, the most obvious reason why you are promoting on social media is to get people interested in what you have to offer. But to grab attention and stand out in the crowd you need to be more creative. You must go beyond pinning pictures of your products and services. You can have upto 500 Boards in one account, and subcategories under each board.

Do have a board with pictures of your product or service, but try and come up with more boards that are useful, intereseting, related to your line of work (not necessarily directly) and to break the monotony, even things that people might rarely connect with you and your line of work.

Heads Up For Tails is an Indian startup dealing in pet accessories that makes creative use of Pinterest. They have 11 boards, one of which features their products and other interesting ones on topics like: Oh My Dog facts (comprising interesting facts about dogs), Dog Training Tips, Puppy Love, Dog Art, Happy HUFT Customers and Bow Wow Secrets- Lessons from my Dog.

I would say a good example to follow if you would like to be creative with Pinterest.

Arrive at the Right Mix of Images and Text

True, the more visually attractive a pin, the greater are its chances of being repined but remember not to make it all about pictures. The best thing to do is arrive at the right mix of pictures and text. It’s like a cake mix, the right measure of ingredients produces perfect cake.

Fab India can serve as a good example here.

Integrate to Leverage Your Brand

If you don’t have a website and are selling on e-retail platforms like eBay, then integrate your online stores with your Pinterest board. Users can then click on images on your board and be directed to your web store, saving time and effort and helping you increase your web footprint.

To wrap this up, Pinterest is a place where pin boards and repins really are subtle product recommendations. If you want to be different without burning a hole in your pocket on the marketing front, a clever use of Pinterest is the way to go.

pinterest-business-infographic

Infographic: Visualistan