How Small Businesses are Using Pinterest: 5 Strategic Approaches


As a website producer, I'm pretty busy with keeping up with the current needs of my clients, not to mention everyday developments and customer service at Tin Shingle, and often keep a skeptical eye on new technologies just for the sake of time. So many online tools launch so frequently, I usually let other people filter out what will be a hit, and what will be a dud. Pinterest seemed like a beautiful distraction to me, one in which I could not indulge in because it was not work-related (if you don't know what Pinterest is, click here for a quick overview). This all changed when I was having a strategy call with a client, and learned she was not only using it to promote her designs, but was seeing traffic to her site rise from it.

Ok, so Pinterest is great for a designer, as it's 100% visual. But what about other business types? Can other businesses use Pinterest to promote their businesses? Or is that cheesy. How about brand awareness? Or how about just enjoying this new tool? To find out, I went to our members at Tin Shingle to find out how they are using Pinterest. Here are 5 examples for your brainstorming pleasure:

PEGGY LI CREATIONS, Jewelry Designer

Peggy Li of Peggy Li Creations, a San Francisco based independent designer, first really took note of Pinterest over the 2011 holiday season (it's been around since 2010). She noticed that people were using it for wish lists. This is a clue that websites are going to stick around - when people are using them for a specific reason that helps their day to day lives. Then Peggy began using it for her business. "I am pinning my products to Pinterest and I've definitely seen traffic to my website rise from the site!" But like with all of these social boards, one must balance what they post with other useful ideas. Or do they?

Says Peggy: "Currently I'm trying to encourage customers to pin pictures of themselves wearing PLC jewelry onto a "Customer Portrait" board." All of these social strategies are a work in progress, to be fine tuned based on reader behavior. Click here to see Peggy's Pinterest boards to get inspired...and tempted!

DAWN DEL RUSSO, Celebrity Stylist

Dawn is a celebrity stylist out of New York, and is one of those business owners who is really good at the internet. She can spin out a video faster than you can type a tweet. She uses Pinterest on a daily basis, both from her computer and phone while she's out at fashion events, taking pictures and adding unique picture content to her Pinterest boards, hoping they will be shared, aka "Repinned" or "Liked". I'll let her tell you exactly how she's using Pinterest as a celebrity stylist, who also runs an online boutique selling her favorites finds, with links to her visual Pinterest boards she's created:

"I started making boards to "show" how to wear certain styles like striped and colored denim.  I also began posting pictures from award shows to link to my blog.  It has been incredibly useful for NYFW to post pics of my favorite looks, trends and then embed in blog posts and talk about on twitter. As a fashion stylist is has endless possibilities :) It is also fabulous for linking products I sell.. grouped in categories like jewelry or accessories and adding a link to click and buy."

And once you're done looking at those boards, don't miss her board dedicated to "Fancy Closets".

Are we sparking ideas for you yet?

KELLY KEPNER, Haute House PR & Marketing, LLC

Kelly Kepner is the founder of the California based pr firm, Haute House PR & Marketing. They recently dove into Pinterest to create different boards to feature celebrity spottings of their clients' products. "We have boards that feature celebs in our clients' brands in every day and red carpet appearances, as well as a Who Wore it Haute(r)? board and tv, online, and print placements."

Does Kelly think it will boost sales for her clients? "Maybe sales won’t skyrocket because someone saw Vanessa Hudgens in a Simdog tee or Taylor Swift in a Rachel Gilbert gown, but more importantly, they will become aware of those brands and possibly purchase something in the future." Kelly and her team definitely want their "pins" shared and Repinned by others, helping to spread this brand awareness, so are working to keep their boards interesting and inspiring. They are currently developing boards for all seasons.


Seatle based Melody Biringer, founder of the CRAVE Guides, is using Pinterest to build brand awareness for themselves and the women business owners they feature. Some of their top boards are: "What do you CRAVE"  "Inspiring Entreprenesses"   "Girlfriend Time"  and "CRAVE guides". Also important to them is to post items that will be "fun" for others to repin. They create a new board every month around a monthly theme, such as Balance and Mission Statements, and then talk about it on their blog and discuss it at their meetings for business chats. For this business chat in particular, they taught the women attending the meeting how to create a vision board at Pinterest, and then assigned them to make a board on balance, which led to a discussion as to how these business women could use Pinterest for their businesses. CRAVE is also creating boards around each city chapter they run, which will feature the women owned businesses who are members of CRAVE.