Pinterest 101: Pinning Your Way to a Successful Business
Is your restaurant known for its world-class cuisine? Is your catering service constantly booked throughout the holidays? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then I have to ask, who knows about your success? You and your staff may know, but are you taking the necessary steps to ensure that your potential customers know just how good your food business is?
Sure, most food businesses are taking advantage of Facebook and Instagram to attract new customers, but I have to be honest, there’s a perfectly good social media platform that is drastically underutilized by business owners. And that’s where Pinterest comes into play.
Pinterest can be a vital tool for marketing your restaurant, catering services, or other food businesses because of its focus on visual content. Pinterest runs its operation almost exclusively through photos and curated images, meaning you can showcase your food, restaurant, and other services with a single image. It’s the closest way for potential clients to explore your menu and visually devour your food before ever setting foot in your brick and mortar. Pinterest can also serve as a photo organizer, allowing you to curate your own images and inspirations in one place.
In this blog post, we’ll be breaking down the tips and tricks of an effective marketing strategy for Pinterest that is sure to help up your social following. We’ll begin with a simple overview of the platform before moving on to managing the perfect photo selection and how to properly engage on the platform.
Pinterest is kind of like the social media equivalent of Google in that it serves as a sort of visually-driven database which houses a variety of boards filled with links and images that cover a variety of topics. Another way to look at Pinterest is as a central hub for families and pretty much anyone, where they can find ideas and inspiration for crafts, meals, and even home decor.
Every idea, link, or photo that is posted on the website is considered a “pin.” These ideas don’t always have to be 100 percent original, as you can also share links to websites that have inspired you. When you save a pin on Pinterest, it is automatically added to your boards. Boards are like virtual bulletin boards that you can use to group together ideas for a specific theme or main topic. It’s kind of like a virtual filing cabinet. Not only can you see your own boards, but also those that others have built and created for their own day-to-day use.
As a food business owner, there are a lot of advantages to using Pinterest that you may not have considered before. Because Pinterest is so visually oriented, it’s the perfect place to let your menu come to life. You can share images from your restaurant, as well as copycat recipes or even dishes or recipes that have inspired what your restaurant is today. For caters, Pinterest can serve as a prime spot to show off images of past events and any past awards or special recognitions you’ve received for your catering.
Because the visual aspect of Pinterest is where a business can truly thrive, making the perfect photo selection is key. When creating your own pins, it’s important to make sure the photos you include will stand out in a crowded feed full of saved pins and boards. But that’s not the only reason or goal you should have in mind for your photos. The perfect photo can also help you attract your ideal customer and target audience. It also doesn’t hurt that a clear and poignant image can make your entire business and what you do that much clearer to would-be clients. You’re taking out some of the guesswork that might potentially hinder some people from coming to your restaurant or using your catering services.
One final advantage of great photo selection is that it can help drive views and clicks to your website. If people like what they see when perusing their feeds, they’ll be more inclined to visit your website and see what else you have in store.
Your photos should be clear, in-focus, well-lit, and well-composed. You want your images to seem like you spent time thinking about them rather than just pointing and shooting something on a whim.
Another thing to consider when designing your pins is what technology most users will be viewing your content on. According to Hootsuite, more than 80 percent of Pinterest users are accessing the site through the Pinterest app on their tablets and mobile devices. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure that your images are optimized for smaller screens. Typically, vertical imaging is the way to go because they give you more room to work with.
When working toward designing Pinterest-perfect photos that will drive traffic, there are three things to keep in mind:
Color - While it’s not essential, especially if you already have a set color palette your company uses for branding, it is suggested that warmer tones of red, yellow, orange and brown perform better than cooler images with hues of blues. Other things to consider when developing your photo colors are the lightness and saturation of your images. Images with medium lightness are currently being repined nearly 20 times more than darker images, while those with 50 percent saturation are performing better than those that are desaturated. When considering colors, these are only guidelines and suggestions, always do what works best for your audience.
Photo type - Authenticity is clear when it comes to Pinterest photos. People are more likely to click through a pin if it contains realistic lifestyle shots of your products being put to use, rather than a still of your product up against a boring background. It is also recommended that photos without faces perform better on Pinterest. This is because people like to envision themselves using the products, or eating your food, rather than having a total stranger showing off your brand.
Text overlay - Adding text to your photo can help browsers get a better sense of the content they’ll be clicking through if they click on your content. When considering text overlay, make sure you’re taking into consideration fonts that are large, clear of clutter and have easy readability. Simple typefaces typically work best.
To better connect with your audience on Pinterest, you need to first seek to understand which tactics will drive the largest amount of engagement possible. One of the easiest ways to initiate the engagement process is to get into the heads of not just average Pinterest users, but also your supporters and followers. This can be an important time to put your buyer personas to good use. Research has shown that nearly 80 percent of Pinterest users are women, however, men are continuing to become more and more involved on the platform.
To help achieve your maximum engagement, you’ll first want to optimize your posting schedule. You need to get into the routine of posting new pins regularly and taking 15-20 minutes every day to respond to comments or add a comment to pins that you enjoy and that fits well into your business’ personality. Make sure that when you’re adding comments, that you’re doing so authentically. Comments shouldn’t seem rehearsed or like they’ve been copied and pasted. They should happen organically.
Another way that you can help increase engagement is to share your Pinterest success stories and failures. Simply repining a recipe isn’t enough, you’ve got to go out there and try it for yourself. If it’s something you enjoyed and think would be a hit for your business or at least something others would enjoy, let the world know. This can be something as simple as snapping a picture of your recreation and uploading it as a new pin. You also shouldn’t be afraid to let other users know your negative experiences with pins and new recipes.
Yet another option to help increase engagement is to form relationships with fellow food business owners or just everyday pinners who you’ve come to enjoy. Something as simple as repining a recipe from an account that you follow can start to build a relationship with them. As this relationship continues to grow, you’ll see opportunities for cross-promotion and collaborations starting to come into fruition.
Still stuck on how to best engage users on Pinterest? This one-of-a-kind guide might just be able to spark some engaging inspiration! All you need to do is sign up with your name and email address and you’ll have access to five engagement tips and tricks that are geared toward Instagram but can easily be adapted for Pinterest or any other social media network. The best part is that it’s entirely FREE!
Now that you’ve become more familiar with Pinterest and how to use it for your business’ advantage, the sky’s the limit with how you continue to build boards and pins to help promote your food business and services.