Is using Pinterest for small business worth the time, trouble and expense? It can be, depending on your business's target audience.

Pinterest is a social media site where users "Pin" photos and links to virtual bulletin boards, sharing what they love with friends to connect to them via the website. A corporate Pinterest account is similar to a personal account but provides additional analytics that can yield important insights into who is Pinning your posts, when they're Pinning them and with whom they're sharing. Corporate accounts also enable you to "sponsor" a Pin — in other words, advertise on the site.

Although the site is only a few years old, it boasts 100 million active users worldwide, according to VentureBeat. That's a staggering number, and likely to continue growing. Here's how you can determine if Pinterest for small business users like your company is worthwhile.

Pinterest for Small Business: Is It Right for Your Business?

Social media is about interaction, branding and advertising. In order to determine if Pinterest for small business is right for you, you first need to know who uses Pinterest. According to Mashable, Pinterest's demographics indicate users are:

  • Primarily female (68 percent)
  • Well-off, with an annual household income of over $100,000
  • 25 to 34 years old

Consider your company's target audience. Does it fit this profile? Is this your main demographic or perhaps a niche? If it is, then Pinterest may be a great fit for your company. Any company that sells primarily based on visual appeal should consider a Pinterest presence. This includes small businesses such as clothing or shoe stores, restaurants, bakeries, salons, spas and anything else that may be visually appealing.

But don't discount using Pinterest if your small business offers services instead of products. Services can also be marketed effectively via Pinterest. It's all in how you use the site.

Tips for Small Businesses

To get the most out of Pinterest for small business, try the following:

  • Think like a content marketer. Your Boards and Pins should tell a story about your products and services.
  • Brand your Boards with your company's name. Instead of "Recipes," name your Board "South Shore Seafood's Recipes," for example, if your business is called South Shore Seafood. This builds brand recognition.
  • Personalize the descriptions under your Pins if you Pin photos from your own website or blog. Some sites automatically populate the description field, but it may not be the best description. You can change it with the Edit button.
  • Pin frequently throughout the day. Schedule times to share Pins.

Lastly, when using Pinterest for small business, take your own photos so they're unique, original and you own the copyright. If you use stock photography, read the license agreement to make sure Pinterest use is acceptable to the copyright holder. Always check the terms of use of any website you use to stay aware of what they do with your information, and what you are allowed to do with theirs.

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