What Types of Businesses Shouldn’t Bother with Pinterest

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I’m often asked several variations of the question exactly what type of business should use Pinterest.  Should only B2C (business to consumer) businesses be on Pinterest? Should only product-based businesses use Pinterest? Should only female oriented businesses have a presence on Pinterest? Should MY Business be on Pinterest?

What Types of Businesses Shouldn't Bother with Pinterest

While I enjoy receiving questions like these, the answers vary as much as the people asking them. The answer really depends on the business’s goal with using Pinterest. Essentially, Pinterest is a tool and the results of using the tool depend on how you use it.

Pinterest is a tool just like this oven in a kitchenFor example, think of an ordinary kitchen oven it’s a tool, right? If I expect to to get a gourmet dinner out of it, I first have to have all of the ingredients and skills necessary to prepare the food to put into it. If I expect it to reheat left over pizza, that doesn’t require as much preparation and the expectations aren’t as high. If I don’t cook at all and use it to store books, it can do that too.  It all goes back to what I want to accomplish with that tool and the same can be said for Pinterest.

 Should only B2C businesses be on Pinterest?

NO! (But that “no” comes with a catch) We know that B2C businesses like ModCloth and Target are doing great with Pinterest but are any B2B businesses doing well with Pinterest? YES! Let’s take for example Constant Contact, a company which helps small businesses with email marketing. They have done a great job building a presence on Pinterest and currently have over 20,000 followers.

The biggest reason that they have been able to leverage Pinterest to bring attention to their service is that they have created their account to tap into the lifestyle and interest of their ideal client as it relates to their business. They don’t just have boards and pins about email marketing they have boards with small business quotes, marketing humor, and social media tips. All of which are things that their ideal customer could find helpful or interesting.

The catch: Not all B2B businesses can use Pinterest with the same results that Constant Contact has seen. Take American Bolt & Screw as an example. They are a very highly specialized industrial B2B company that makes commercial grade fasteners, nuts, bolts, and screws. This company is likely to be selling to other industrial types of companies. While they could create an account following Constant Contact’s model It probably wouldn’t have the same result. Their market just isn’t as big and their customers are likely to be other large industrial types of businesses who typically don’t use Pinterest.

This doesn’t mean that American Bolt & Screw Cant use Pinterest for a different purpose. Perhaps they are about to go through a rebranding. They could use Pinterest to research and organize logo or website design ideas (secret Boards are perfect for teams to work together on projects like this). Perhaps they are looking to expand and build another facility in another city. They could use a Pinterest account to attract new employees by pinning  job postings, company culture and images of the new locations progress to their account.  A good example of this type of HR approach is Taco Bell Careers‘ Pinterest account.

Should only product based businesses use Pinterest?

NO! Oh So Pinteresting is a service-based business and most of my referral traffic comes form Pinterest. Ok, ok, I know that seems a little biased but other serviced based companies do well on Pinterest including HubSpot, the University of Michigan, and Virgin America Airlines.

Product based businesses do have an advantage in that they can measure direct sales from Pinterest but that situation isn’t unique to Pinterest. But isn’t it generally harder to measure the success of marketing efforts for service-based businesses across all platforms?

Should only female oriented businesses have a presence on Pinterest?

NO! While a majority of Pinterest users in the US are women that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any men using Pinterest. Internationally Pinterest use is more balanced among the sexes.

Here a just a few of some less “girly” Pinterest accounts:

If you represent a US based company, it is also good to keep in mind that women make most of the buying decisions 🙂

Should MY Business be on Pinterest?

I think a better question to ask is “how can my business best use Pinterest?” I think all businesses can find some use for Pinterest but if you’re looking at it to use as a sales and marketing tool, it depends. There are many aspects of a business to consider before investing time and effort in Pinterest. Some businesses such as women’s clothing retailers are naturals on Pinterest other’s should tale a closer look at their business and how they can use Pinterest to their advantage.

Let’s take a local hair salon as an example. They have a website which gives information about the location and the services they offer but they don’t sell products online or have a blog. The amount of content that hey can pin to Pinterest from their site is pretty limited. But there are other things that they could do with Pinterest to help their business and serve their clients here are a couple of examples:

  • Upload pictures to Pinterest of styles created in the salon and link back to their site. Each stylist could have his or her own board.
  • Create boards that their clients would find helpful: hair care tips, hairstyle ideas, hair trends, hairstyle tutorials etc….

To get the most out of their Pinterest efforts they should promote their account to the clients that come into the salon as a resource, as a way they extend their service.

As with many other tools, Pinterest can be used in many different ways by many types of businesses. It seems that a quick and easy yes or no answer is sought to the questions asked here but as with many questions in life, the answer isn’t that easy.

Have you seen other creative uses of Pinterest but Businesses you wouldn’t expect to find using it? Please share them or your thoughts or just say hello in the comments below. Or give me a call at 773-669-7461

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