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How to Use Pinterest - Tips to Grow Your Craft Business

If you promote your craft business online, and you're not on Pinterest, you're missing a huge opportunity. 

If you're going to use Pinterest to promote your website or Esty shop, you first need to understand how to use Pinterest for business promotion. If you've used a personal account for years, you'll have a good, foundational understanding of how the platform works. However, you'd do well to learn and use business-specific tips and strategies to promote your online business on this platform.

Pinterest is an ideal fit for marketing a craft business because it is so visual. It is also one of the few social networking sites designed to get people off of the site and on to other sites.

That makes Pinterest an excellent opportunity for craft business owners.

Pinterest is full of people looking for and recommending beautiful items to enhance their homes, their personal style and their lives in general. What else do craft business owners do but create beautiful items that enhance people's homes, lives and personal style?

If you're not fully convinced that there's a great connection, keep in mind that Etsy is one of the top domains pinned at Pinterest.

Concerns About Pinterest

Some craft artists have avoided using Pinterest and put pin blocking code on their sites due to concerns about people copying their work.

Worries of being copied are legitimate. It happens.

I've had my own work copied online. When it takes, not only hours to complete the work itself, but also years to develop the skill and knowledge to be able to create that work in the first place, it's heartbreaking and infuriating to see it stolen. Then, you have to decide if you're going to spend hours of your time going after the person who's stolen your work.

I cringe every single time I see a pin to an item from an Etsy shop with a comment like, "Ooooh, I'm going to make a (wreath, scarf, necklace, whatever) just like that one!"

But copying is a concern whether you sell at craft shows, or on your own website, or on Etsy. Any time you have developed a fantastic product and are having a good measure of success, you're open to copycats whether you're a craft professional, or you run a different type of business.

In my opinion, the threat of being copied is not a good reason to limit your own success! In fact, it's been my experience that, unfortunately, copycats come with success.

It's discouraging to find that someone else has completely copied something that you've worked very hard to create. However I'd suggest you respond to that by being better and staying a few steps ahead of those people. I wouldn't cut off a valuable way to engage with my customers just because a very small percentage of people might copy.

Pinterest provides you with an excellent opportunity to engage with your customers, and if you've been avoiding it out of fear of copycats, you might want to reconsider your decision to cut off a valuable resource because of something a few people might do.

How to Use Pinterest to Engage Your Customers

Pinterest provides a fantastic opportunity to engage with a very targeted audience.

When you set up your Pinterest boards, think about what your customers might be curious about related to your business. You might have boards that show:

  • works in progress
  • things that give you inspiration
  • other non-competing but related items
  • images of how to use your items
  • testimonials from customers
  • photos of your customers wearing or using your work in some way

Think about what is compelling to your customers, not necessarily what is compelling to you.

For example, one thing that I see a lot of craft artists doing on Pinterest, which seems like a mistake to me, is posting DIY projects.

So, for example, if you are jewelry designer, and you're creating Pinterest boards for your customers, in my mind, you wouldn't want to be posting a bunch of jewelry making tutorials or jewelry supply sources. You can save those items as secret boards that you can see, but others cannot.

Although you are giving customers an inside look at your business, you still want your process to be a little bit of a mystery to your customers. You certainly do not want your boards to put visitors in the mindset that they could create your items themselves, which is what posting DIY tutorials and all of your suppliers could do.

Pinning DIY tutorials would be a perfect fit for someone who sells craft supplies or patterns, but not for someone who sells finished products.

Instead of creating boards on how to make jewelry, if you are jewelry designer you might post boards like:

  • fashion trend forecasts
  • images of your jewelry
  • jewelry fit tips or guides on what type of jewelry flatters different types of faces, hairstyles or body shapes
  • images that shows what is special about your jewelry
  • photos of yourself in your studio or at shows

How to Use Pinterest to Build Your Following

If you already use other strategies for relationship building with your customers, like emailing newsletters or posting on a business Facebook page, or on Instagram, you can promote your Pinterest business account to those customers, and you can send your Pinterest followers back to your other social accounts (especially your email list, which is most important because that's the one social strategy you have full control over).

All of this connecting helps you to deepen your relationship with your customers.

There are plenty of really great strategies to build a following and build genuine relationships with your customers on Pinterest.

You might already use the site for fun, but if you really want to make the most of your time using it for business, it's wise to pick up a good book on using Pinterest to help make all of the concepts gel in your mind.

I've been building my own business account and learning a lot about how to use Pinterest in the process. I really wish I could post everything I've learned about how to use Pinterest for business here in one article, but, although it isn't rocket science, it really is a big topic.

The Pinterest expert I like the best is Jason Miles. I like Jason because his own Pinterest background is focused on building a craft business.

He and his wife have used Pinterest (and, of course, other strategies) to build their own successful craft related business. I always find the examples he gives are very much in tune with the needs of craft business owners and are very easy to translate into a craft business model.

Jason has written the book Pinterest Power, which helped me get my first 1000 followers when I was starting out on Pinterest. The book was published in 2012, and Pinterest has evolved since then; however, the book will give you a firm foundation in the basics of promoting a Pinterest account, and you can learn about newer developments once you have established that foundation.

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