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.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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