Gini Dietrich

Three Ways to Use Pinterest for Business

By: Gini Dietrich | January 9, 2012 | 

I’m not going to lie. I’m obsessed with Pinterest. I blame my sister. She’s an enabler.

Since its launch, I’ve been a big proponent of it. It’s, in a sense, an online scrapbook. You find images and videos you like and “pin” them to your online boards.

For instance, I have “must make,” “winter training,” “books worth reading,” “gift ideas,” and more that feed my creativity. But the best part? The “what do you want for dinner” discussion has left our house. Now we just look at the “must make” board and decide very quickly what’s for dinner.

Something like 84 percent of us are visual learners. Pinterest feeds that in a big way.

I’ll admit I avoided it for a long time. I knew there were business applications for it, especially if you sell something visual such as clothes, food, or jewelry, but I knew once I got on there, I’d have to quickly attend rehab. I was right.

But the more I play with it, the more business applications I’m finding.

Following are three things you can do for your business right now.

  1. Hold a contest. When I saw what Samuel Gordon Jewelers was doing with their “Pin It” contest, I was very intrigued. In order to win Honora Pearls, Samuel Gordon encouraged people to visit their website, pin photos of the jewelry to their personal boards, and share with their networks. Because Pinterest incorporates Facebook and Twitter, the sharing capability is automatic and the viral effect is large.
  2. Add the “Pin It” widget to your sites. Just like you have the social network widgets on your website and blog, you can add the Pin It widget. This allows readers and visitors to automatically share something they like on your site with their networks.
  3. Create a company board. The site is still by invite only (let me know if you want an invite), but once you get in, you can create a branded board. While you’re not allowed to blatantly promote your business, you can follow the lead of brands such as Nordstrom and Whole Foods.

Granted, there aren’t a ton of applications for a business-to-business organization, but if you’re thinking about how to share your products and services visually, you’ll want to consider Pinterest. It might be behind-the-scenes shots of your manufacturing floor, the insides of an engine, oxidizer, or gauge, or how-to videos.

Remember most people are visual learners so think about how you can cater to them while showing off the cool things you do.

This first appeared in my weekly Crain’s column.

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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220 responses to “Three Ways to Use Pinterest for Business”

  1. This is a bit creepy. I am totally just typing a similar post for Paratus. Ohhhhhhh meeee god! 🙂 Totally in love with pinterest. Wish it wasn’t as addicting.

  2. KenMueller says:

    The nice thing about this is I”m new to Pinterest and still don’t have a full handle on it, but I see the potential, and am including it in a post for either this week or next. Now that you’ve done the homework, I can link back to this one for the part where I discuss Pinterest. Thanks!

  3. I’ve been using it for a while but deliberately make myself forget about it because I lose hours of my life drooling over beautiful things. Am getting back into it now I’m taken the visual route to marketing. And yes, the vast majority of us ARE visual learners!

    • ginidietrich says:

      @Ameenafalchetto LOL! I can’t forget about it. It’s become my reward at the end of a long day. I love it!

  4. katskrieger says:

    The strikes me most about Pinterest is that more so than any other social network (except Facebook) is that I see so many of my connections in the beta group. Literally dozens of people I went to school with (let’s not talk about how long ago that was) are using Pinterest. The same people who don’t use twitter, who don’t even realize Google has a social platform. It has mass popularity in a way we haven’t seen for a long time. I’m really excited about it. And growing more personally obsessed by it. 🙂

    • ginidietrich says:

      @katskrieger Exactly! I knew it was going to be something big and beyond the social media chamber when my mom, sister, and cousin kept saying, “I know you’re trying to avoid it, but you really have to check it out!” Fine. I also really love that you get to see a side of people you don’t normally see. For instance, I had no idea a friend of mine loves rabbits, but he has a board for them. It’s really cool.

      P.S. Looking forward to Brian’s post at noon today!

  5. ginidietrich says:

    @AmeenaFalchetto It’s quite the obsession, isn’t it?

  6. Brands that are closely monitoring their clickstream funnel might just see Pinterest prompting initial interest in a product (because of an individual user’s use of the platform) and reward those true influencers (i.e shaping behavior) in some meaningful way.

  7. ginidietrich says:

    @bdorman264 You have any more? I didn’t think so.

  8. I also haven’t tried Pineterest yet but thanks to you @ginidietrich I’m going to get started!

  9. eatniks says:

    @mikeschaffer @ginidietrich Im starting to use @Pinterest as part of our social media strategy. Great tool!

  10. ginidietrich says:

    @mikeschaffer Yay!

  11. StaceyHood says:

    @jenniferwindrum Where’s my our post invite?

  12. margaretalmon says:

    Oh, yes, once I was on Pinterest, it was like “how did I live this long without it.” I use it for blog ideas, because I often write about art, and it’s much more motivating than looking at my list of bookmarked ideas.

    • ginidietrich says:

      @margaretalmon You know what? You just gave me a great idea. I should totally have a board with blogging inspiration. Thank you!

  13. swonderlin says:

    @TuscCVB_Chrissy thanks for the RT! Hope you have a great week!

  14. bradmarley says:

    There is an ongoing internal debate at my job where we are trying to figure out how (or if) we can use Pinterest to enhance our work. I really like how Nordstrom is using it, but they have a product that fits, you know?

    I do like the contest idea, however. I might steal it. 🙂

    • ginidietrich says:

      @bradmarley Yeah, I definitely think you have to have a product that is visually appealing. I would think you guys could have some fun with it. Though your department is less cars and more “green” stuff, right?

      • bradmarley says:

        @ginidietrich Yeah. We are all green. A lot of our news revolves around sustainable facilities and activity, which can be difficult to put into pictures. We’ll see.

      • bradmarley says:

        @ginidietrich Yeah. We are all green. A lot of our news revolves around sustainable facilities and activity, which can be difficult to put into pictures. We’ll see.

  15. Communic8nHowe says:

    Sounds interesting. Guess, I’m going to have to finally check it out. An invite would be appreciated.

  16. Cision says:

    Thank you for giving me even more excuses to be on Pinterest…I will now make it part of my social media strategy 😉

  17. makammerer says:

    Thanks for writing this! I’ve been hearing about Pintrest for awhile now, and it sounds awesome! We’re looking into it for a client right now. The more I learn about it the more I’m itching to try it out for myself. 🙂

    • ginidietrich says:

      @makammerer Definitely try it out for yourself. Once you use it for a couple of weeks, you’ll discover ways to make it applicable to clients.

  18. Hajra says:

    Thanks for giving us reasons to be all the more addicted to it…!

    • ginidietrich says:

      @Hajra You’re welcome! 🙂 And thanks for that hilarious video. I’m definitely going to include it in this week’s Gin and Topics.

  19. HowieSPM says:

    What say is this Pinterest

    Do I have an Interest?

    With pins and boxes I can share my Oxes

    Share my Oxes with Sam I Am

    Sam I am loves Oxes and Foxes

    And Hotdogs but Ketchup Only

    Not like funny Chicago he says their Baloney

    Now a place for recipes and dreams

    Sam I Am loves Spain and Green Ice Cream

    He likes to pin upon his wall

    He likes to share them with you all

    So what is this Pinterest you say you?

    Its the latest craze for little Gini May Who!

  20. HowieSPM says:

    So it’s like facebook’s time line in format but much more powerful with more utility and more fun?

  21. smccollo says:

    I love Nordstrom’s use of the site, but this could quickly become one of those classic cases of jumping on the bandwagon. Not every business needs to be on every single network available, especially if they are at all struggling to keep up their current (likely the most popular) of the social networks.

    • ginidietrich says:

      @smccollo Totally agree with you on that. Which is why I said it makes sense if you have something visual to show and it probably doesn’t make sense for B2B.

  22. Great post! I love Pinterest. Have you seen what is doing? Love their use!

  23. cbaumgarten says:

    @IowaHawkeyeMeg @ginidietrich @Pinterest @spinsucks Love the idea that companies are hopping on this bandwagon– smart and subtle marketing.

    • IowaHawkeyeMeg says:

      @cbaumgarten @ginidietrich @Pinterest @spinsucks It’s definitely smart, but not subtle. Esp. b/c we keep blogging about it! Haha.

      • cbaumgarten says:

        @IowaHawkeyeMeg @ginidietrich @Pinterest @spinsucks Haha okay fair, but more subtle than a screaming billboard or magazine ad.

        • IowaHawkeyeMeg says:

          @cbaumgarten @ginidietrich @Pinterest @spinsucks True! Sounds like fun but can’t participate until I’m off Facebook. Too many networks.

  24. ShellyKramer says:

    I love Pinterest, too, Gin. And I see some great applications for brands – especially lifestyle ones. I mentioned the other day during an online conversation that I’m not much interested in brands using Pinterest to pimp themselves, but I think there are some great ways a brand can use the board, thoughtfully, and reap some benefits. Another board I’m a fan of is Cabot Coop … but then, they do just about everything well. They’re a brand that really understands community and how to leverage consumers’ love of their products in ways that really make sense.

    I literally have to drag myself off of Pinterest on a daily basis. Just what we both need – one more addiction. Gah.

    • HowieSPM says:

      @ShellyKramer I should be a fan of cabot but when I got to know them on the Twitter and I asked about who does their marketing so I can make a sales call since they are not far from my future place of residence I got a very arrogant response. So I immediately became a Fan of NY and Cali Cheese on Facebook in retaliation. lol

      And now seeking other vermont brands to champion in hopes they get big and buy Cabot so I can fire their social media people. See never mess with Aliens always be graceful and nice!

    • ginidietrich says:

      @ShellyKramer But it’s such a fun addiction! Do you do like I do and tell yourself you can get on there after all your work is done? It’s pretty motivating.

  25. My god! Your ‘must makes’ have me drooling.

  26. acraKA says:

    @JulieLech addictive right?!? Lots of good stuff on @pinterest

  27. TheJackB says:

    Gah, one more platform to try and avoid. It sounds like it could be a huge time suck that might have value. I have been trying to avoid those for a while now. I don’t hear from too many men about it though.

  28. jacque_PR says:

    Another interesting feature of Pinterest which shows enormous potential for brands, is the ability to create collaborative boards with several other users. I think once more orgs take advantage of this platform and figure out how to best utilize its features, we’ll be on the verge of Pinapalooza.

    Oh, and Gini? If you do decide to start a PA: Pinterests Anonymous group for us addicts, let me know. I figure I show promise for recovery since I’m past the initial “denial” stage. (“My name is Jacque, and I have a problem…”)

  29. mariafullofmace says:

    @ginidietrich me too I love it! #Pintrest

  30. amandaelliot says:

    @ginidietrich I’m obsessed too! Great article on a practical application of #Pinterest!

  31. ILYQuintero says:

    @ginidietrich Have a great Monday!

  32. johnmorgan says:

    @ginidietrich my wife has been using and addicted to Pinterest since day one.

  33. DTCchicago says:

    We love Pinterest at DTC, it’s starting to get a little spammy, but I think the people running Pinterest are doing a great job trying to keep it natural and organic. I have had the pleasure of discovering really positive conversations going on about some of our clients on Pinterest – and we have been able to add to those conversations and keep them going over time. If anyone is working with websites that showcase visually engaging content, the time to get on Pinterest was yesterday! Sign up now!

    (also you can get AMAZING recipes off of Pinterest – if you are into cooking it is a great resource – warning: if you browse food related boards you WILL get extremely hungry)

  34. MicaelaFiorito says:

    Hi Gini! Thanks for this post! I’d like to test Pinterest for business purposes, but i still have not the invitation 🙁 Can you help me to find out one for me? I would thank you soooooo much!!! 🙂

    • ginidietrich says:

      @MicaelaFiorito Absolutely! Either DM me on Twitter or FB message me your email address. Or you can leave it here, if you don’t mind the world seeing it.

  35. Raj-PB says:

    Pinterest is new to me. But the concept is interesting for sure. I will check out the service now. That reminds me – how much I liked my orkut account – especially glancing through all those friends scraps… 🙂

  36. Communic8nHowe says:

    @lauren_dugan Are you on Pinterest? I’m getting an invite soon.

  37. ginidietrich says:

    @Robin_CE Get on there!

  38. ginidietrich says:

    @prweb Love, love, love me some Pinterest.

  39. ginidietrich says:

    @JulieLech LOL! I totally just gave you fodder for using Pinterest during the day

  40. ginidietrich says:

    @DesignSpike Not 110%?! I have work to do

  41. ginidietrich says:

    @tie_xchange For you, Pinterest is perfect!

  42. ginidietrich says:

    @aimoboot I’m really just giving you a reason to use it during the day

  43. jeffespo says:

    @ginidietrich I am not cool enough for that site

  44. ifdyperez says:

    Sigh, I joined today (finally). I am holding you to it! 🙂

  45. emcardenas says:

    @ginidietrich Love it! Thanks Gini 🙂

  46. lindsayfg says:

    @ginidietrich Thanks, was wondering how I could use @pinterest for work. Now to just get clients to try it.

  47. MikeSchaffer says:

    I’ve been playing with Pinterest for a few weeks, @ginidietrich , and I like what I see. There is so much marketing potential for “pin boards.”

    I see two major hurdles for it to overcome:

    1) The heavily female skew. rachaelgking said she heard it’s officially 59% female, but taking a look at posts, it seems closer to 85%. Not a bad thing, and it could become a network strong in young adult female demos. But for it to reach broad appeal, it needs a larger male population.

    2) The photo-only issue. Right now, Pinterest only pins photos. Image the power of a pin-board featuring photos, videos and text? That would give brands an even stronger voice.

    These are hurdles, not obstacles, though. It’s captured the attention of an audience segment and seems to be catching fire!

  48. I try and try to stay away just for this very reason – I’ve now been there for several, a few, a couple, oh I don’t know how many hours! Gah! Curse you, Ms. Gini!

    So far I’m mostly just having fun with it, meeting people, building up my network. I am listening closely, however, to smart people such as yourself for tips on promoting my business there. 😉

  49. heidirettig says:

    Hey! I want an invite to the company boards. I love Pinterest – my graphic design consultant puts up boards of packaging designs for me to review. Plus all the fun stuff…

  50. […] Three Ways to Use Pinterest for Business on SpinSucks – Possibly the biggest timesuck since Facebook, Pinterest is a neat website where people can share their ideas on, well, pretty things – it is essentially an online vision board/scrapbook.  Now we can use it for business! Hah! Told you I wasn’t wasting time! […]

  51. CeciliaCove says:

    Three Ways to Use Pinterest for Business via @SpinSucks

  52. ryancox says:

    I just heard from a very reliable source (a good friend) that he has seen on his own account, and confirmed with friends, that Pinterest is auto followng people for users insinuating intrest in others thus creatng activity/growth. <That’d be a shame because I am really digging Pinterest!

    • ginidietrich says:

      @ryancox Interesting…I haven’t noticed that, but I did notice I’m collecting follows from people I don’t know.

    • katskrieger says:

      @ryancox They do auto follow from your contacts…I linked mine to FB and it auto-followed my friends on it already. But I didn’t mind that so much. IDK. Brings up a few issues I guess.

      • Brankica says:

        @katskrieger@ryancox i followed some of my FB connections but it really cool to see unknown people follow you just because you pinned something intersting

  53. NicoleGSimonds says:

    @ginidietrich saw this article and loved it! Plan on putting the tips to good use!

  54. inspiredtoshare says:

    @brandonmeves awesome, thanks!

  55. ginidietrich says:

    @adamtoporek Now you have 198!

    • adamtoporek says:

      @ginidietrich Too many! But I’ll still DM you about invite. Imagine a world with just YouTube and Twitter… sounds like heaven 2me. 🙂

  56. bdorman264 says:

    As usual, I am a late adopter and actually just getting in Pinterest this weekend so I haven’t really done anything with it yet. However, without doing anything I have picked up a handful of follows and most are people I know but a few I don’t……of course, I’m not that picky so I will probably welcome them all.

    I do like the books worth reading idea…………

  57. feliciahudson says:

    Gini, I recently got an invite and signed up, but haven’t had a chance to pin anything yet. From the way you’ve described it–and what I’ve already seen–I, too, predict I’ll soon be addicted. Thanks a lot for promoting yet another thing to compete for my time and attention! 😉 In fairness, you did introduce me to Evernote, which has turned out to be a productivity gem, so I guess it evens out. 🙂

    I do see Pintrest being useful for nonprofits as well though.

    • ginidietrich says:

      @feliciahudson OK. So next tool I recommend will be something that gives you time back…to make up for this.

      • bhas says:

        @ginidietrich @feliciahudson , you could try Rescue Time. It is swell for keeping a track of where you spend your time online.

        Every day I look at the pretty bar charts and am absolutely gobsmacked by how my time leaks. And as you become aware, you can clamp down on time wasters

  58. matthixson says:

    I may not be as obsessed as you Gini but I agree that there is a major opportunities for business here – especially if there product has a visual element. I posted a picture of the new Range Rover Evoke on my Pinterest the other day. I think the design of the car is amazing so I pined it. My email went nuts over the next 8 hours with people repining and liking it. It was amazing to me. Range Rover should be in there engaging with these people – they are possible customers. I agree with you – very addictive. The other site I love like this is

  59. matthixson says:

    I may not be as obsessed as you Gini but I agree that there is a major opportunities for business here, especially if there product has a visual element. I posted a picture of the new Range Rover Evoke on my Pinterest the other day. I think the design of the car is amazing so I pined it. My email went nuts over the next 8 hours with people repining and liking it. It was amazing to me. Range Rover should be in there engaging with these people – they are possible customers. I agree with you – very addictive. The other site I love like this is

  60. Communic8nHowe says:

    @asanchez82 Yes, it is interesting. I’m now exploring Pinterest. Thx for the RT.

  61. BenjaminHofmann says:

    I’m a man and I enjoy Pinterest to store any manly ideas I find. It is interesting to think about using it for business and I enjoyed your article. One thing I like about social media in general is someone or some organization can’t be too irritating or they will be “unfriended”. It forces businesses to look at marketing totally differently. This new way of marketing is difficult to determine effectiveness. How would someone track how effective their efforts on Pinterest were? I know you can track referring web sites using traditional web analytics but what other ways can you track marketing efforts on Pinterest?

    • ginidietrich says:

      @BenjaminHofmann I’m not sure how to track (yet) outside of Google analytics. I’m testing a few things, but haven’t gotten definitive answers yet.

  62. trophycupcakes says:

    @morganneh @ShellyKramer Thank you Morgan! @trophycupcakes loves Pinterest! Thanks for sharing that article. #MoreIdeas

  63. Wade Kwon says:

    Just a quick correction to No. 2: The “Pin It” button you linked to is a bookmarklet for users’ browsers. So if I add this button to my Firefox or Chrome, I can Pin a page quickly.

    If a widget or Share It-type button exists for sites/blogs for Pin It (like the Like or Tweet buttons), please let me know.

  64. jkozuch says:

    @EdenSpodek @doctorjones I haven’t, but I’ll check that out right now. @ginidietrich @pinterest

  65. PRSANewPros says:

    @AmyL_Bishop Thanks for the RT Amy!

  66. chirafisiyjnw6 says:


  67. Tinu says:

    Good ideas. Seems obvious when you see maddiegrant ‘s board for Humanize.

  68. franceskadion says:

    @VMasseGagne sujet d’actualité…tout de même fière d’avoir publié la première! ahah

  69. CoburnsExclusiv says:

    @abbynicole1204 just started doing all of these things for my business! Loving it! #brandchat

  70. LNMiner says:

    RT @britmorse Three Ways to Use Pinterest for Business – via @SpinSucks

  71. ginidietrich says:

    @hackmanj Are you trying to jack up that post’s numbers?

  72. […] Brand: According to a blog post on, a professional development website for PR pros, 84% of people are visual learners. Pinterest […]

  73. […] Pinterest accounts, as well as integrating the platform on their site. Gini Dietrich recently had a good overview of Pinterest over on her […]

  74. StacyHamm says:

    @KahanPromotions @ginidietrich thanks Barry!!! You are on top of it!

  75. StacyHamm says:

    @KahanPromotions @ginidietrich thanks for the tip! Followed & followed back 🙂

  76. […] Pinterest accounts, as well as integrating the platform on their site. Gini Dietrich recently had a good overview of Pinterest over on her […]

  77. Still sending invites, Gin? Please, may I? Thanks.

  78. […] hem and haw all the way to a new channel; everyone knows that about me. I let the leaders be first movers, ahem, Gini, and I watch and read as they navigate uncharted waters and inform us all. Why not? They’re the […]

  79. Great post, yes, love an invite! Thank you. 🙂 esta email @sheconsulting

  80. Lori_Pelletier says:

    @PhilOllenberg Ooooooohhhh….. Ya, you definitely probably shouldn’t have shared that! #URSMUG

  81. […] Three Ways to Use Pinterest for Business via […]

  82. Mark Madere says:

    Thanks for sharing some ideas about Pinterest. When I first starting looking at it, I just didn’t see any value for creating pin boards and how it might help my business. A few weeks later, a friend starting telling me all these “Ninja” ways she was actually making money with her pin boards! And it is way easier than anything she’s ever done with other Social sites like Facebook, Twitter and all the other “Johnny-Come-Latelys” that keep popping up on the Internet.

    So wanting to know more, I found a fantastic video that shows some really clever ways to easily make money with Pinterest. I wasn’t thrilled I had to pay some cash for it but for $7 and change – the valuable knowledge I gained is worth hundreds of times that price. Just be aware that if you want to invest in the 45 minute training video – the price rises with every sale – so don’t wait long to check it out.

    Oh, here’s the link to the video:

    Have fun!

    Mark Madere

  83. Al_Winmill says:

    @KatieMHutton you’re not pinning up a storm yet??

  84. SpinSucks says:

    @suzicraig Very cool. if you end up with a case study on it, please let us know. We’d love it for Spin Sucks or even @spinsuckspro.

  85. […] pay any attention to Pinterest. I didn’t see any value in it for me and ignored it  but then I read a few posts about and it started to wonder if I had made a […]

  86. […] Three Ways to Use Pinterest for Business, by Gini Dietrich […]

  87. […] every author should be on Pinterest. I’m not alone. Gini Dietrich wrote a compelling piece on three ways you can use Pinterest for business. Gini is a marketing genius who is highly respected in her field. Bloggers from every sphere are […]

  88. […] every author should be on Pinterest. I’m not alone. Gini Dietrich wrote a compelling piece on three ways you can use Pinterest for business. Gini is a marketing genius who is highly respected in her field. Bloggers from every sphere are […]

  89. […] Three Ways to Use Pinterest for Business […]

  90. […] A Beginner’s Guide to the Hot New Social Network Three Ways to Use Pinterest for Business 12 Ways to use Pinterest for Your […]

  91. […] is an article about 3 ways to use Pinterest for your business. This entry was posted in Fusion PR and tagged blog, content marketing, Marketing, marketing […]

  92. […] conversation continued for 21 tweets. He posted a picture of the table to confirm my description and he put it on hold for me. Neil also told me if I arrived […]

  93. monyhussein says:

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  94. […] Exactly how small business can leverage the growing interest in Pinterest is still developing. Here are three ways shared by Gini Dietrich of SpinSucks in her article ‘Three Ways to Use Pinterest for Business’. […]

  95. […] 3 Ways to Use Pinterest for Business –  Gini Dietrich with Spin Sucks […]

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