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Does Pinterest Spark Your Interest?

Avatar photo by Casey Woods, Executive Director | July 8, 2014
Does Pinterest logospark your interest?
A new type of social media is generating marketing buzz for savvy small businesses… 


Pinterest Page Shot
Product heavy and full of testimonials, Pinterest lets people "pin" their "interests" within categorized boards.

Savvy small businesses attempt to take advantage of emerging trends.  One trending technology that burst onto the scene this spring is Pinterest.  It's scarry that something that really emerged this April is now "established" in the world of social media, but it is an indication of how quickly the business and marketing world is changing.  Part of our job at Main Street is to ensure that you are aware of these emerging trends so that your business can take advantage of new tools to reach customers.


In today's article, we will focus on Pinterest and a newer upstart that encourages "in store" shopping as a game: "Tip or Skip".  Both programs

Pinterest Activity
People can easily follow "pins" on Pinterest.

  integrate with existing social media like Facebook, and both are a graphics based program that allows you to identify and categorize different imagery.  So, how can you make these new social media tools work for you?  Each program requires some experimentation and a photo heavy element to your web site (or on-line photo albums in a static url environment; not Facebook)  Lets explore some real world scenarios that can allow your business to engage in effective social media marketing via these new programs:


RestaurantsPinterest and Tip or Skip both use a category system to 

Pinterest Upload Photo Shot
Once uploaded, Pinterest photos are easy to tweet or share through other social media

divide images, though Tip or Skip is opening up the images for an up or down vote (thus you can "tip" an item to increase its popularity or "skip" it to fade an item into the background).  For restaurants, you can provide categories inPinterest that showcase where your locally obtained ingredients come from, recipes of some favorite dishes (superimposed on a picture of the dish), pictures of customers (everyone wants to be famous), images of your business at different events or causes that your business wants to support.  Remember, when you have access to a decent photo editing program, you can add your logo and other text information fairly easily.


Pinterest Page Options
Pinterest allows you to "add a pin" through finding a picture on a web site, "upload a pin" by uploading a picture from your computer or "create a board" to display similar items or interests.


Retailers New products, products your business is considering or old favorites are great additions to image based profiles.  Even better are

Tip or Skip logo
Tip or Skip turns shopping for your favorite unique merchandise into a game, thus exposing unique products (or services) and their unique providers to the masses.

images of "before and after" shots.  Rooms before and after home decor additions, people before and after a wardrobe change, home projects before and after a trip to the hardware store (with product names)… The list is endless.  Craft stores can have a picture with a list of products on a split screen with a finished craft and grocers can fix that annoying "what should I make for dinner" conversation by taking a picture of a list of ingredients with instructions on how to make a delicious meal (using your products, of course).



Entertainment Easy pictures include posters for upcoming events, movie stills or pictures of upcoming bands.  But, remember the three phases of selling (sell them what you are going to sell them, sell them, then sell them what you just sold them).  Use your social media accounts to show individuals having fun at your events (especially if they represent your target market).


Service-  Car repair facilities can show a picture of a happy customer and their vehicle with a text description of how they saved them money with an easy repair.  Accountants can post pictures of a "tax deduction" with tax tip text, attorneys can post pictures of significant life events with the reminder to update legal forms, a masseuse can show new techniques with an appropriate photo of a relaxed customer, a yoga studio can display a "pose of the day" and work out facilities can show multiple images stitched together of an aerobic activity.


Tip or Skip Game Screen
Like Pinterest, Tip or Skip allows you to find images from a web site or your mobile device to share, but that is where the similarity between the two platforms stop.


Cultural- Images with text can showcase the history of area ethnic groups, churches can type a favorite bible verse over an appropriate local image for a daily testimonial, art groups can showcase finished works with their artists.  Historic photos with contextual information are easily added within image based social media.


Civic- Want to support a cause or show what you do?  Images with text become social commercials when handled properly.  Remember, keep text brief and try to use humor when appropriate.  A picture of a 4-H project meeting with the text "the cure for- "I'm bored mom…" is an easy way to contextualize a message.


Tip or Skip ranking screen
Item visibility and rankings change in a positive manner as people "tip" an item.  Items fade into the background as people "skip" an item.  Because of the inherent focus on unique products, independent businesses have a distinct advantage through the use of this media.


Although different types of social media require special considerations, there are some basic rules to effective use.  You need to post consistently.  You need to develop unique content.  You need to reach out to others in order to expand your social media network, you need to find ways to recognize and reward your "followers"…  If you can do those things, engaging an image based social media platform may provide an additional tool within your marketing plan.  But, like any other form of marketing, it will take creativity, consistency, work and quality materials. 



Is "Pinterest" or "Tip or Skip" for everyone?  No.  You have toKansas Main Street Logodedicate time, creativity and resources to make any marketing campaign actually work.  You must be willing to adapt and participate in the changing marketplace to utilize these tools.  Only you can make the decision to jump into some of these newer marketing arenas.  But, you can't take advantage of a tool you don't know about.  And, instead of fumbling around with the whole "how the heck do you use this thing", we try and provide education to you on the subject for free.  Why?  Because when you are successful, the community is successful, and that kind of home grown growth is priceless.  This article topic was suggested by an Emporia Main Street member that wanted to learn more about emerging social media trends.  What would you like to know more about?  Contact Emporia Main Street with your questions or topic suggestions at [email protected] .

About the Author

Casey Woods, Executive Director

Before accepting the director position in March of 2009, Casey worked in both retail and agricultural jobs in the family businesses. A lifelong resident of the Emporia Area, Casey was a ten year volunteer for Emporia Main Street prior to his appointment as director. During that time he served as the board president and chair of the Economic Vitality Committee.

Casey also serves as a partner in PlaceMakers, LLC, a consulting firm that routinely works with both large and small communities, and their businesses, to promote sustainable economic growth through community and economic development practices. Casey consults with businesses, organizations and communities to understand their market capacity and fill vacant spaces. He has been involved in two projects that included crowdfunding as a part of their overall business funding strategies, Radius Brewing and Twin Rivers Winery & Gourmet Shoppe.