Let’s face it, Pinterest is pretty much the hottest thing in social media nowadays. If you don’t know about it, you soon will. In a nutshell, Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board where people share ideas through photographs and videos, which are then categorized by interest. It combines all of the core elements that make a social network successful: a focus on sharing, a pleasing graphic interface, easy searchability, and an area where those with niche interests can easily find one another. Since starting Pinterest, a day doesn’t go by in which my wife doesn’t suggest some new way to store her wine collection, incorporate arugula into a fancy-looking sandwich or display photographs in some sort of tree-like structure.But the point of this blog is not the crafty side of Pinterest, but how businesses can harness this burgeoning juggernaut.

Pinterest B2C

Each post on Pinterest is a DIYer’s dreamland. Whether it is home organization, food preparation or landscaping, Pinterest gives the feel that there is a person behind each post. With the right marketing, businesses can capitalize on this market by openly sharing ideas and shopping their wares in a non-threatening manner. This ideal is the epitome of transparency, perhaps the most important element of successful use of social networks for business. In a B2C world, Pinterest is just waiting to become an open market for products (Check out Domestica’s page). The wonder of Pinterest is that it actually builds brand trust by not pushing for the sale all of the time and by offering a face to the product and an open dialogue. Sure, Pinterest can be used as a guise to shroud business interests (businesses posing as an individual), but trying to hide your intentions in social networks just makes the consumer trust you less.

Pinterest B2B

How can Pinterest possibly work for a B2B market? Unlike Facebook and Twitter, where more generalized information is shared for the masses to find, Pinterest automatically understands that your business offerings are not for everybody! You may have ideas that initially seem best expressed in words and outlined in blogs, but you have to translate those ideas to pictures or videos for Pinterest. Ask yourself: How does your service work for other businesses? What do you have to offer that other competitors don’t? What do you like that your competitors are doing? (I know that one feels risky, but it will show your transparency). What do your customers have to say? All of these topics can be expressed visually, and the efforts to do so will keep your target audience engaged. It might take some creativity to turn your services into pictures and video, but the effort is well worth it.

So consider this: Pinterest can work for business, but only if you are willing to put the creativity and footwork into it. You don’t have to be cloak and dagger about how you advertise yourself! Let your customers know what you offer.

Infographics and charts can read as well as photographs if placed in the correct framework. Customer testimonials (video or with an accompanying picture) will sing for your brand, and the right combination of product videos and products-in-action can make even the dullest markets quite “Pinteresting” to your followers.