How to use #Pinterest to market your local business. via @scalablesocial

Can Pinterest Work For Local Businesses?

Faster than a speeding bullet for lead generation, able to leap traffic generation records in a single bound! Yes, Pinterest, when done right, can be the Superman of inbound marketing. But, is it a good investment for a local business? It just might be!

The Challenge of Pinterest for Local Businesses

How to use #Pinterest to market your local business. via @scalablesocial beauty of Pinterest is that it allows us to dream. We collect dream boards that let us believe that one day we will be the sort of fit, beautifully-dressed, perfect parents with the coolest car and most perfectly-decorated house (or three). We’ll cook the most gorgeous meals and throw the best parties. We’ll learn to make a home out of corn cobs and live on nothing but bean sprouts and swamp water in case of an emergency.

The challenge for local businesses is that, when you post lovely images, people from anywhere can pin. They can click through to your site. They can even download some free content from your site and become a lead. But if you have a produce market in Wilmington, NC and your lead lives in Tennessee, that lead is not very helpful to you. Unless they know someone in Wilmington, or unless they’re moving – you get the point.

How To Use Pinterest For Your Local Business

All this is not to say you shouldn’t give Pinterest some serious consideration when planning your social media strategy. There are ways to make it work (if you’re a veterinarian, we have some specific ideas here). You’ll just have to be a little more creative, a little better at networking, and very focused on all things local. You’ll also want to be aware of promoted pin options.

Network Locally

Are your customers, your business partners, the salon down the street on Pinterest? Look for them (you can use Pinterest’s search or just go to their websites and look for a link). Follow some or all of their boards. Like, repin and comment on their pins. Promote their businesses on your local boards. You’ll likely find that they will return the favor!

Use Place PinsPinterest place pins - become an authority on the local

Place pins were created by Pinterest as a way to help users plan trips, but there’s no reason you can’t create a board with your favorite local places! These pins work with Foursquare, so you might find it limits the places you can include (unless you want to add them to Foursquare yourself). When you add another business as a place pin, you’re doing them a big favor – when people click on the pin, they can see the phone number and a map for the business location.

To create a board for place pins, just click on “Add a map” when you create a new board or edit an existing board and add a map. To add a place, click on “Add a place”! Then you can select an existing image (Foursquare uploads) or add your own.

Become a Local Resource

Pinterest-restaurants-localPinterest is really more of a search engine than a social network. Take advantage of the adventurous nature of Pinterest users by becoming a go-to resource for all things local. Create a board for local restaurants (you can pin reviews, menus, your own photos), current events, fun things to do, news. The possibilities are endless!

Don’t Forget SEO

Have you noticed Pinterest pins showing up in Google Alerts? I have! This means (as we knew) that Google is finding Pinterest images – and boards are showing up in search engine results. They may also soon start using social signals (such as likes and repins) as a ranking factor. Bing is already including Pinterest boards in image search results. Look!

Pinterest boards are already showing up in Bing image search results.

Even though links from pins to your site are “no-follow” (meaning they probably don’t pass any link juice), more of your links out there means more click-throughs to your site – and isn’t THAT the purpose of SEO? It also means that we all need to remember to use descriptive keywords (which for us will mean including our location) in our:

  • Account Names
  • Bios
  • Board Titles
  • Board Descriptions
  • Pin Descriptions, and even
  • Image titles and alternate text

Also, remember when pinning your own content to include a link back to your website in the pin description – it makes it easier and more likely that people will click.

Target Promoted Pins By Geographical Area

The ability to use promoted pins is rolling out to all users. A proposal received by an agency from Pinterest and published on Digiday revealed that,

The geo-targeting capabilities include “US only,” “user location” and “metro-city level,” thus allowing Pinterest
to attract local merchants — like a boutique clothing shop — in addition to national chains.

This is GREAT news for local businesses. When you share your own content as a pin, you’ll be able to pay to reach local users who aren’t already following you. To get started, you’ll need a business Pinterest account, verify your website, and you’ll need to enable rich pins. Get started now (or let us help), so you’ll be ready when the rollout is complete.

Do you follow any great local businesses on Pinterest? What do you see that they’re doing well? We’d love to have your observations and suggestions. Please share!

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Can Pinterest Work For Local Businesses?
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About the Author Alisa Meredith (311 Posts)

As co-owner and chief inbound marketing consultant at Scalable Social Media, Alisa Meredith spends a lot of time keeping up with online marketing trends for the benefit of our customers. Computers have been a passion of hers since her first T1-99, so inbound and social media marketing is a natural fit.


  1. Those were great tips for Pinterest, thanks a lot. Pinterest is definitely an important and significant tool for businesses to gain publicity and reach customers, but don’t you think that If you are a local business, and you want (or need) to reach local costumers, shouldn’t you use also location-based social networks? I mean on Pinterest you are exposed to some very far audience, but local networks (like circle/ can be perfect for that..

    • Alisa Meredith

      Hi, Alina. Sure, Pinterest (or any other platform) shouldn’t be the ONLY platform people use!

  2. I want to make a house out of corn cobs, Alisa — Pinterest, here I come! LOL!

    Goofy-ness aside …
    I definitely follow local businesses on Pinterest. Why? I’m new to my community and I want to start building relationships to network with other biz owners. I resided in my previous community for 30 years so I’m starting from scratch again. On a personal level, I search Pinterest for dermatologists, veterinarians, photography studios, etc., since I can no longer rely on my previous resources and service providers (unless I’m up for a five and half hour drive back to SoCal) 😉

    Value-laden post! Thanks, Alisa.

    • Alisa Meredith

      If you do, Melanie, I want to see it!!

      So happy to see you here on my blog and I have to apologize big-time! My blog lets spammy comments through all the time, but it marked yours as spam! I was wondering why you had such trouble commenting on my blog and thought I’d search spam. There you were. Argh!!!

  3. SEO can be the great equalizer Alisa for local Pinning. Thanks!

    • Alisa Meredith

      Thank you so much for stopping by, Ryan! That’s the conclusion I came away with, too. A little more challenging, but worth it!

  4. I happened to find this post by following a link in a newsletter from Manta. It happened to arrive in a very timely fashion, as I’m just trying to figure out how to share my photos effectively on Pinterest. Thank you! It’s the kind of post I will end up reading more than once!

    • Alisa Meredith

      So glad you found this just when you needed it, Ed. Thanks for taking the time to say hello!

  5. How can a local food bank use social media. right now we just do Facebook.
    Any suggestions?

  6. Perfect! This is just what I have been looking for! This is such a great, comprehensive list- just a great reminder that there’s ALWAYS something I can do if times are slow. I’m going to be proactive today and do some things on your list! God bless!


  7. Awesome post. Wel done. I have 2 blogs. Should I pin a content in the same pinterest account from both blogs or have 2 separate pinterest accounts for each blog. Theoretically one pinterest account with many boards should work. Please lmk – Thx

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