by Rebecca Clark
Starting your own small business is no easy task, but luckily there are tons of resources available —including some expected ones. When we normally think about advertising our work, we tend to think of places like Twitter and Etsy, but Pinterest can also serve as a great place to promote yourself and your product.
My own personal Pinterest is just an amalgamation of my dreams: wedding dresses and venues I could never afford, complicated vegetarian recipes I will never have the patience to master, tattoos so big and colorful I would still be met with disappointment in my parents’ eyes thirty years later. Most of my pins are of things I just dream of doing, nothing I would ever link to a potential employer like I would a blog or my LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. But for some, Pinterest is a smart marketing tool for their brand.
It doesn’t have to be just a place for lusting after pretty white dresses and dreaming of visiting the exotic beaches you’ve seen in so many pictures. There are tangible, practical ways to use Pinterest, ways that you can’t use Facebook or Twitter. If done correctly, you can use Pinterest as a marketing tool to reach people all across the world.
Here are four professional ways you may not have known you could use Pinterest:
- Online Portfolio: First and foremost, Pinterest makes a perfect place for artists to curate their work. Creating boards organizes your work, and you can create as many different boards as you please. On Pinterest’s home screen, there’s a dropdown menu that links you the most popular searches, and you can quickly and easily access the work of tattoo artists, photographers, designers, and people who make crafts, jewelry, decorations, etc. Pinterest prides itself on colorful and visual content, so it’s the perfect platform for creative people to showcase their talents. Posts can easily be shared to other users’ boards, multiplying your audience tenfold.
- Networking: It’s easy to meet fellow Pinners with the same goals as you do. Think of it as LinkedIn for artsy, creative people. Based on the types of things you’ve liked and shared, Pinterest will recommend people for you to follow, a good way to meet others with similar interests as you. It’s also very easy to see who people have re-pinned things from, and you can quickly find the post’s author. You can also follow topics and boards in addition to people, which increases your network as well. If you follow a topic, you’ll see posts from anyone in the world who posts in that topic, not just people you follow. Finally, Pinterest has a messaging option.
- Collaboration: This is kind of an extension to networking. It’s easy to join up with other Pinners to create group boards and do other collaborative work. There’s even a “secret board” option, where only you and other contributors can see the board until you decide to make it go live. You can also collaborate with other Pinners to share each other’s material—and avoid annoying your followers from constant self-promotion.
- Promotion: That being said, it’s totally okay to promote yourself and your brand! After all, how will anyone know who you are if you never post original content, talk about yourself and your product, or link to your website/store/blog/etc.? Tags and categories make it easy for other Pinners to search for you and your posts. Of course, mix up your posts: maybe for every self-promotional post, you pin a couple of relevant images and one post that promotes someone else’s work? Helping each other out by sharing each other’s content is such a great way to network.
The highly-visual nature of Pinterest makes it so much more than your average social media site. It functions as a hub for artists and creators to interact with their potential customers. Since Pinterest is so different from sites like Twitter and Facebook, it may take a little more reflection upon your brand to figure out how to best utilize the website, but the possibilities are endless.
Rebecca Clark is a recent graduate of Miami University with degrees in English literature and professional writing. She enjoys reading, writing, and traveling, and hopes to one day become a book editor.