When you think of Pinterest, what comes to mind? If you’re familiar with the website, you’re probably imagining a wall of images linking to recipes, fashion, DIY tips, hobbies and other things for your personal life. For those of you unfamiliar with Pinterest, it’s a popular website where users can save, or “pin,” photographs of things they want to share with other users or keep for their own personal reference on themed boards (for example, party ideas, plans for home renovation, vacation locations, etc.). At first glance, it doesn’t look like more than an entertaining diversion, and definitely not something you should be spending time on at work. However, businesses are starting to venture into the world of Pinterest with great success, and your company can do the same once you’re armed with some tips to help you excel with this marketing tool.

First, some stats: there are 70 million users on Pinterest, many of whom are in a shopping mindset when they use the website. In fact, users spend 70% more money when buying a product from a link they find on Pinterest, which translates to $140-180 more spent per order, compared to $80 more on Facebook and $60 more on Twitter. Pinterest also generates more sales than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined.

When your company pins something, other users will re-pin it to their boards if they like it, and it will show up in the Pinterest feed of all their followers, who may also re-pin it, sharing it with all their followers as well. This exponential sharing drives traffic back to the website from which the pin originated. Plus, with a good title and description for your pin, it will show up in search results on both Pinterest and Google.

You may be wondering if Pinterest is a valuable tool if you sell services rather than products. While it’s true that products are easy to pin because they’re easy to photograph, service-based companies shouldn’t pass on Pinterest. All you need are compelling images – pin photos of your service in use, digital assets like ebooks, helpful tips or infographics, industry information and even your employees at work. There are four categories to focus on when pinning:

1. Business: Show off your product or service in a visual way. For example, if your company designs ADA-compliant ramps, take a photo of one under construction or in use (make sure to get permission from anyone appearing predominantly in the photo). If you provide claims mitigation, post a photo of one of your employees hard at work at their desk. Here’s your opportunity to remove your business’ protective shield and make you someone people want to know more about.
2. Environment: Tell the story of your business and its day-to-day happenings. Take selfies, show employees enjoying your company culture (at outings, fundraisers, etc.), share behind-the-scenes shots of your office or locations. This humanizes your company and makes you more approachable and engaging to current and potential customers.
3. Expertise: Establish yourself as a leader in the industry by sharing valuable information with your clients. Tips, especially those superimposed on top of a striking image, are popular pins. If you’re in the concrete industry, share an image of an attractive structure with a tip on construction. Even if you’re in the business-to-business side of things, people appreciate a little industry knowledge being shared with them – informative pins are up to 30% more engaging than other pins.
4. Themes: People love predictability, so if you can establish a day of the week when you post an item with a particular theme, your followers will start to look forward to it. For example, share an inspirational quote on “Motivation Monday,” or pin a photo of your company’s founder on “Throwback Thursday.” Think your field doesn’t inspire beautiful quotes? They’re out there – try www.brainyquote.com as a good source. (“It is not the beauty of a building you should look at; it’s the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time.” – David Allen Coe)

So you’re ready to jump in and create a business page on Pinterest. Before you do, there are a few important things to remember. First, keep in mind that Google indexes every board and pin description so they’ll be found in search results; take advantage of this by providing a thorough description of what it is you’re pinning. Studies show that pins with 200- to 300-character descriptions are shared more often than others. Pinterest automatically resizes pins to 236 pixels wide with a scaled height, so the longer the image, the better. Research has shown that the most optimized photos have a reddish-orange color, multiple dominant colors, medium lightness, an aspect ratio between 2:3 and 4:5, less than 10% background, a smooth texture and no faces – don’t go crazy trying to make your pins fit every single one of those characteristics, but keep them in mind. Lastly, because Pinterest is such a fast-paced platform, don’t be afraid to post a lot – at least five times a day, but no more than ten – in order to keep your company showing up in your followers’ feeds and search results.

For some “pinspiration,” check out these construction companies on Pinterest:
Turner Construction Company
Concrete Floor Coatings, Inc.
ABC Paving & Seal Coating
World Cement
Water and Wastewater Equipment Company
Midwest Asphalt

Don’t be afraid to experiment. See what works with your followers and what falls flat – the analytics provided by having a business profile on Pinterest will show you where you are successful and who your audience is. Take advantage of the tools that Pinterest provides business owners. And remember – CCI is always here to lend a hand if you need a bit of guidance into this new and exciting marketing opportunity!