A question that has been piquing my curiosity since Pinterest came to the social media scene is: How will this benefit those small businesses looking to market locally? I thought I would dive into a bit of research to help my customers understand the pros and cons of marketing on Pinterest if they aren’t looking to reach a national audience.

We all know that Pinterest is great for recipes, e-commerce, parenting advice, and decorating tips, but how can small businesses on Pinterest “do more” to help market to their local area?

Here are some of the top ways.

1. Add your location. 

And this means your actual location. This is not a place to be clever by posting that you are “Locally Owned” or to refer to your location as “Hot Deals, USA”. You want to be helpful by adding your city and state. This also will help your users to understand quickly if they’ve reached the right profile or not.

2. Verify your website.
Verifying your website is a relatively simple action to help users know they’ve landed on the right account, similar to adding your location. Once you’ve verified your site, you’ll gain access to a lot of fun and informative tools, like Pinterest Analytics. Verifying your website is as simple as clicking the pencil in the bottom right of your profile information, Although verifying your website might seem like a daunting task, Pinterest makes it easy. Simply click on the pencil in the bottom right of your profile information box, scroll to the bottom to type in your web address, and click “Verify website”. From there, you will be asked to download either a META or HTML file, depending on how your site is set up. After adding the snippet of code to your site, go back to your Pinterest page and see your new “verified” checkmark!

3. Start Promoting your Pinterest page.

If you’re already active on other social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, use them to promote your Pinterest page! The people following those pages are already interested in your business, so they’ll likely be interested to follow your pins. If you want a more aggressive (and paid) approach, you can use the geo-targeted ad capabilities within Facebook and Twitter and promote your Pinterest page there, since you know those users are a close match to your ideal target market.

4. Use “Place Pins” to show off your local board.

A few years ago, Pinterest revealed “Place Pins”, for “the explorer in all of us”. This essentially turns regular Pinterest boards into which turns a regular Pinterest board into a fun, interactive map. Some cool features of the “place pins” include being able to create a board either by yourself or with friends, making Pinterest more actionable, and giving yourself a place to plan your vacations. Here are some really great examples curated by Pinterest themselves: Pinterest Place Examples. For local marketing, it can be a great place to add pins related to your own area, and encourage your customers to pin to your boards. Ask your customers to take photos at your business, then add the images to their own map board while tagging your business in the post.Another idea, is to invite other local businesses to share a board with you.

In hopes that other businesses will return the favor, you should also seek out other local businesses and interact with their Pins. You can like, repin and comment to promote their businesses on your local boards.

5. Don’t forget the keywords.

By choosing the keywords that only locals would understand, you’re more likely to bring in those types of followers. For example, in Minnesota, Minneapolis and St. Paul and called “The Cities”, and essentially anything northern of the cities is referred to as “Up North”. If you’re looking to target a specific area, it’s important to be in touch with the local nicknames, and use them in your pins.

6. Speaking of keywords, don’t forget SEO.
Pinterest pins are showing up in search engine results. Google is always looking for ways to index the most relevant results, using social signals such as likes and repins. Pinterest images, and Pinterest boards are showing up in the search results, so an active Pinterest account may help your search rankings as well.

Despite pins to your site acting as “no-follow” (meaning they don’t help with your SEO link score) links, more of your links out there means more click-throughs to your site – any website’s ultimate goal, right?

The important places to use your location and other keywords include:

  • Account Names
  • Bios
  • Board Titles
  • Board Descriptions
  • Pin Descriptions, and even
  • Image titles and alternate text

Another important step for anyone hoping to market their business, local or not, is to include a link back to your website in all of your pins. It can be shortened with a tool like bit.ly if it appears too long in your description. If you’d like to take it a step further, you can link to specific landing page for that pin, so that customers are entering your site on a topic they’re already interested in.

Do you follow any great local businesses on Pinterest? What are they doing well?

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