Local Small Businesses Using Pinterest

I’ve covered a few topics about large brands using Pinterest, but I have yet to cover something on small businesses. Social media like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all great for small businesses because of the small(er) cost of entry and still great effectiveness and driving social traffic (especially for businesses that locals love!).

Pinterest is no exception. It’s a great way for small businesses, local included, so get their brand message out across the web. Of course, doing so takes time, effort, and a clear strategy. There are countless stories of businesses thinking that just creating a Facebook page will get them people interacting with their brands, and many create a profile, post for a few days, and then give up.

When using social media, Pinterest included, it is important to have clear expectations and a clear strategic plan. Create an integrated campaign that makes use of promotions, brand messaging, and multiple media channels. Understand what each social media tool can be used for. Have reasonable expecations (it can take months to get thousands of likes), and have a plan for content. Content is king in social media, and using Pinterest is not an exception. Make sure you have images available for your use. Plan out important boards. Determine what the purpose is. Do you want to share your store offerings? Do you want to share photos related to your offering? Are you going to use Pinterest for competitions, promotions, or other marketing efforts? Will the page tie in to promotions in your store, on your website, and on other social media channels?

Take a look at how the following local businesses in Detroit suburbs like Royal Oak and Troy are using Pinterest. Then, do a competitive analysis and see what your competition is doing not only on Pinterest, but across all social media platforms. Finally, take all of this information and start formulating a strategy. Social media is not something to rush into, and those that are most successful with it have planned and reacted to the media accordingly.

Urbane Life

Urban Life is a local apartment “chain” that offers multiple units across the Detroit suburbs, including Clawson, Birmingham, Berkley, Royal Oak, and Ferndale. The apartments are targeted towards a younger demographic seeking a funkier side of life. Many of the apartment units from Urbane Life feature bright colors, interesting external design, and modern elements throughout the aparment complexes.

Urbane Life’s profile on Pinterest includes links to their website and Twitter page (their Twitter page is heavily followed). They post heavily, already at 156 pins after only being on Pinterest for what looks like 3 weeks. Urbane Life has 128 followers and 12 boards, covering topics like things to do around Detroit, Detroit food, rental life tips (such as how to hang photos), and styles they love. Many of the photos link to their website or relevant content.

Urbane Life is off to a great start, and I think they’re a great business to get some insight into. If they position themselves right, promote their page, and remain active, they could become a lifestyle resource for trendy young adults in Detroit. They could easily partner with area bars and hip shops, providing links to the content on their Pinterest page and having a small presence in the stores.

Hour Detroit

Hour Detroit is a popular monthly Detroit lifestyle magazine. They target younger professionals, but are popular for reviews, and many look to them when they release their top picks for different business categories for each year (like top restaurants, top salons, etc.). Hour Detroit’s Pinterest page has 101 followers. Hour Detroit got an early start on Pinterest, some of their pins dating back over 16 weeks ago. They tie in links to their website and Twitter page.

Hour Detroit’s Pinterest page features eleven boards, featuring clips from current and past issues, past covers, advertisers, and even a board on men’s spring fashion, which was featured in the March issue of Hour Detroit.  Their pins link back to their website, placing the user directly into the magazine’s articles and content. This is a great strategy, as it utilizes Pinterest capabilities to drive users to their magazine online, and hopefully result in additional readers. Their pins also get a good amount of repins and likes, signaling that their followers are paying attention and are interacting with their business.

I love what Hour Detroit is doing on Pinterest, and I think if they can tie in any promotions or voting competitions with Pinterest, they’ll even be more successful. They can also use promotional marketing on their website and Twitter profiles to drive traffic to the page. It makes complete sense for Hour Detroit to have a presence on Pinterest, as readers love the photography and style, and it really resonates with their target audience.

Nth Degree Fitness

Nth Degree Fitness is a local small business gym in Royal Oak, MI, a trendy, up-and-coming suburb of Detroit. Nth Degree Fitness jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon early on. The business has 185 followers and has pinned over 70 photos to their boards. Their profile features linsk to their website and Facebook and Twitter pages. Unfortunately, it appears the Facebook link heads to the marketing leader’s profile, and their Twitter page doesn’t exist. Oops!

Nth Degree Fitness’ boards post business awards for best gym, photographs of the gym’s equipment, and sprital quotes. Many atheletes love inspirational workout quotes, and this shows. Many of the images have been repinned by their followers.

From what I can tell, the small business is using Pinterest casually, as much of the content is not promotional in nature and it doesn’t appear as though a heavy emphasis has been placed on their profile. They haven’t placed a link to the page on their website yet.

Overall, this is a good start for a local business, but I would like to see more content that pulls from their website, so that when a user clicks on the image, they’re taken to information about the gym. (They could even post this on their Facebook page.)