Using Pinterest for Social Media Marketing

August 10, 2015

Pinterest is a great social media platform for retailers for two reasons. First, users can use it to create “idea boards” for things such as “Great gifts for people who love hiking,” or “Ideas for my amazing wedding reception.” Second, Pinterest users are heavy on the “buy.” Many idea boards on Pinterest are directly linked to a way to purchase an item, although do-it-yourself and recipes remain important categories on Pinterest.

Interestingly enough, the largest demographic of Pinterest is affluent women – the same demographic that frequents museum and other institutional gift stores. After Facebook, Pinterest is a “must do” for any museum store serious about social media marketing!

Using Pinterest begins with creating an account for your store and then planning out the types of “idea boards” that could be interesting to potential customers. For example, if your store is in an art museum and there’s an upcoming exhibit of Egyptian art, you might consider a Pinterest board on Egyptian-inspired jewelry. Or if your institution specializes in history, use that aspect to build a board of exciting historical places to go. Leveraging the collections of your institution is a quick way to identify what could be fun, intriguing, or useful to users.

So, after all this hard work, what kind of real returns should you expect to see? More online sales? Increased walk-in sales? Increased brand awareness? If your store has ecommerce, you can most certainly expect to generate some sales coming from Pinterest. The Pinterest board for “Egyptian jewelry lovers” or “Gift ideas for Civil War buffs” may increase traffic to your ecommerce site. And don’t discount the value of using Pinterest as a venue to build your brand and create customer loyalty. If done well, Pinterest can do both.

For busy store operators, social media requires time and effort to do it well. And a good strategy includes utilizing different platforms as part of your overall social media strategy to reach users in ways that work for them. We’ve talked about how Pinterest may provide a potential path to increased sales and awareness, but for non-profit retailers, the most important social media platform is Facebook, followed by Yelp or Google+ local, and Pinterest. It’s good practice to concentrate on a couple of these platforms and do them well, instead of doing several of them poorly.

And don’t forget the oh-so-valuable real world of social networking. Instruct the retail counter staff to promote your social media by asking customers to “like” or “follow” or “connect” with your store.

Whether you choose to use Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter, social media is a valuable tool to build your store’s brand. Once you add it to your routine, it doesn’t take much time to maintain your presence on social media.  It won’t take long before you realize that it’s time well spent.

Jason McDonald is founder and Senior SEO/Social Media Director of the JM Internet Group. He has written several books on social media as well as conducts webinars and hosts videos. To learn more about SEO and social media marketing visit

Listen to Jason’s webinar Pin It to Win It: Using Pinterest for Social Media Marketing recorded earlier this year.

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