Business Tools

Quick-Start Guide to Connecting With Customers Through Pinterest

Listen to the SEMA webinar, "Pinterest: The Basics and Beyond,"  for tips on ways to use Pinterest to boost customer outreach and engagement to help increase sales.

By now you've probably heard about Pinterest, a visually driven, interesting and highly engaging social media site. Natalie Carmolli of WhizBang! Training says if you're not using Pinterest, you're missing out on a very powerful social media tool that has the potential to impact your business for the better.

Carmolli conducted the SEMA webinar, "Pinterest: The Basics and Beyond," to help businesses discover ways to use Pinterest to boost customer outreach and engagement to help increase sales.

Pinterest is an invite-only website, currently, and once it is opened to the broader community, it will be even more valuable for business owners and retailers. According to Carmolli, most users spend more time on Pinterest than on Facebook, and that it's generating more referral traffic than YouTube, Google and Facebook combined. Through Pinterest, a company can establish credibility, build relationships with potential customers and fortify its reputation as a leader in the industry, according Carmolli.

The latest information shows that Pinterest is comprised of about 60% female users. The age demographic is age 35–44 years old. Carmolli points out that about 81% of the female Pinterest users trust recommendations from Pinterest, compared to Twiiter at 71% and Facebook at 67%.

Carmolli acknowledges that some people are hesitant to place their images on Pinterest simply because of how they can be "pinned", or copied, easily to other users' pinboards. However, Carmolli believes that companies should want to have their images pinned by as many users as possible, which helps companies to create exposure. Those who do not wish to share photos can use an option provided by Pinterest that prevents images from being pinned. Instead of that option, Carmolli suggests that companies watermark all of the images that are posted to Pinterest.

Getting started in Pinterest requires an invite, either from a current user or by requesting an invite from Pinterest via e-mail. Once started on Pinterest, you will need to create an account with Facebook or Twitter. This is done to make it easier to find the people who are on Pinterest and to help reduce spam. Once you're invited to Pinterest and you're in the system, editing your profile is the next step. Users can update e-mail addresses, create a username for Pinterest (use a name that reflects your company's name), add a website, company logo and your image and more.

Creating boards in Pinterest is a simple process where users can name and set the contributors for their board, as well as categorizing and adding pins. When naming contributors, Carmolli points out that you will need to follow at least one board of a user if you want to add that user as a contributor to your board. She also suggests that companies should include their employees as contributors to help save time and workload when creating a social media strategy. Not only should staff be named as contributors to a company's board, Carmolli also suggests creating a board dedicated to employees, staff and customers.

When naming the board you created, it's important to use terms that are relevant to the industry, such as products that a company sells from certain vendors. Companies can also create board names based on a theme, or a board based on resources for customers.

"Anything that you think would get your customers to come and look at your board as a resource is a good idea," said Carmolli. "Get your customers, members or staff to help contribute to your boards; it will keep you active."

Carmolli also suggests that companies make a board about their businesses, such as a history page, or a page that provides a tour of your store, or offer a coupons page. 

To hear all of Carmolli's suggestions when using Pinterest and creating a pinboard, listen to the webinar in its entirety. The session is available on, free of charge for SEMA members.