As social media platforms go, Pinterest is a rock star. It has 100 million users. Its content has a longer lifespan and is reported to generate more sales per click than Facebook or Twitter. Many businesses ignore its value though, because frankly, it takes more time and energy to engage the right audience. But for those with visually compelling products and messages, it can pay off.

There are two key factors for small businesses to keep in mind in order to make the most of their Pinterest presence. The first is that Pinterest is more idea-based and product-based than most other social media platforms. Users are more likely to be browsing for topics rather than specific resources. This can put your business “out there” among a sea of global competitors, losing that connection to your local market unless you put your location front and center.

This leads to the second factor. As much as you’d like to believe it, all of those 100 million people are not your customers. If your products or services depend on local business, you have to make sure your visibility is heightened in your geographic target market. How? Our top five suggestions will help you do just that.

  1. Use your location as a keyword. Including location information in your profile and content is vitally important. You are allowed a small bit of text to describe your brand and business on your profile page. Local businesses should always add their location there.
  1. Contests aimed to engage locals are popular ways to build both buzz and brand awareness. While there aren’t as many third-party tools for targeting and managing campaigns like this on Pinterest as for other platforms, there are a few that are worthwhile. One example is a visibility tool that lets you control, by time zone, when content is visible.
  1. Create a Place Pin with your name, address, hours and contact information. While these are often used for “dream vacations” and such, they are increasingly valuable for businesses and brands.
  1. Use your newsletter to build Pinterest traffic. If your customers and prospects have already invited you into their inbox, use that email newsletter to promote a board or a pin. Be sure to include an image and a link!
  1. Collaborate with other local businesses on a board, event or contest in which you can both participate. Simply start a guest board, and add the other local business’s profile as a collaborator. Keep the board focused on your mutual interest. A great example would be a restaurant and a local farm partnering on a “Locally Grown in Your Town” board.

Every social media platform can serve a different function for your business, and a well-planned strategy for each is the key to using them successfully. GMS works with clients large and small to develop and implement their social media strategies. Contact us now to discuss how we can help with yours.