On Squeeze In’s Pinterest page, the family-owned restaurant business already has 12 boards and 263 pins — from photographs of sumptuous breakfasts to scenic shots of the Lake Tahoe area, where it operates three restaurants in Reno, Nev., and Truckee, Calif. A photo of a dish called the Queen Victwa, which features slices of French toast stuffed with cream cheese and topped with fruit and powdered sugar, has been especially popular: It’s been “liked” and re-“pinned” multiple times.
“Not everyone watches sports or old movie channels on television,” says Misty Young, who runs Squeeze In with her husband, Gary, and their children. “It’s the same thing with social media. Some people are visual, and that’s what is great about Pinterest.”
On Pinterest, you “pin” your favorite pictures onto your virtual pin boards, organizing them into categories, such as Healthy Recipes or Dream Vacations. Others may follow your boards and see your latest pins. Pinterest has exploded in popularity in recent months, with more than 20 million unique visitors (estimated) in March.
Many small businesses have joined Pinterest as part of their broader social media strategies. Young offers these three tips for taking advantage of Pinterest:
1. Don’t focus on sales. Although it’s tempting to use Pinterest to promote and sell your products, that’s just going to turn off your customers, Young says. “It’s not sales media. It’s social media,” she notes. Use Pinterest to build relationships with your customers: Follow their boards and “like” and “repin” their pictures. Invite them to collaborate with you on a board. Think of your activities as a continuous conversation.
Young says she limits the amount of blatant marketing on her page: a board called Get Hooked Up! includes a single image of the restaurant’s logo and an invitation to join its loyalty program and its VIP Eggheads board features its loyal customers.
2. Show who you are. Reveal your personality and interests through the pictures that you pin. Post images that inspire you (keeping in mind the website’s new copyright rules). For example, if you’re a florist, pin photographs of your flower arrangements. But don’t stop there: Share pictures of beautiful arrangements by others that you admire, your favorite gardens, and eye-catching flowers from weddings and events.
Squeeze In’s page includes boards dedicated to Eggs, Sweets, and Good Eats. These boards are relevant to its business and show its whimsical side, too, with pins such as photos of heart-shaped hardboiled eggs and a cake decorated like Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”
3. Check out the competition. Follow them, even. It’s an easy way to keep tabs on your rivals. You may get a peek at their strategy, their interests, their customers, and the direction of their businesses. You may also glean ideas for your own endeavors — such as new recipes, in Squeeze In’s case. Googling “businessname Pinterest” will usually turn up whether they have have a page.
Photo courtesy Squeeze In.