Commentary: Pinterest offers restaurants another way to communicate with customers

 
Feb. 15, 2012

Editor's note: This post was originally published on SmartBlog on Restaurants. For more foodservice news, sign up for Restaurant SmartBrief.

By Andre Kay, CEO and CMO for Sociallybuzz

Social network Pinterest has been creating quite the buzz in the media lately. It has been recognized for driving more referral traffic to sites than Google+, Reddit, YouTube, LinkedIn and Myspace combined. This falls in line with individuals engaging, sharing and gravitating to fresh and meaningful content that will continue to bring consumers and businesses together.

What is Pinterest? It's a virtual pin board. It allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the Web. You can browse boards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.

Who's pinning? The brands and businesses on Pinterest range from wedding planners to fashion labels and clothing stores. According to data from comScore, the majority of Pinterest users range in age from 25 to 44, and women accounted for 58 percent of its users. In addition, Pinterest users are likely to have completed some college courses and earn $25,000 to $75,000 a year.

The big question: How can restaurant and franchise owners unlock all the great possibilities that Pinterest has to offer?

Tips for restaurants. Pinterest is still an untouched platform for brick-and-mortar businesses. Test the waters before putting all your marketing efforts into the space. Establish your business on the social network in phases. Spend about two to four hours a week learning the ins and out. Engage new consumers and interact with your existing customers.

Build. Create and organize specific boards that will reflect the visual content you will be sharing on Pinterest. Upload mouthwatering images of foods from your restaurant's menu that also link back to the actual menu on your website or landing page. You also can upload images from events, customer appreciation days and photos of your staff engaging with customers or preparing food. The images have to showcase a vision that tells a story about your business.

Engage. The content you upload has to be compelling enough for the Pinterest community to like, repin and leave comments. You will then need to interact and reply to comments and thank users for repinning and liking your image. That will help to fuel a conversation around that specific image or board, which can be the launchpad for growth. Use Pinterest as a team and let your staff contribute images to a specific board.

Grow. Every time you pin an image, Pinterest gives the option of sharing on Facebook, Twitter or e-mail. Sharing your photos will encourage other users to interact with your photos, repin and share on their social networks. Add the Pinterest follow button to your website to leverage hashtags to make your content more search-friendly.

Join the community. The social network's etiquette guidelines encourage users to avoid self-promotion. "Pinterest is designed to curate and share things you love. If there is a photo or project you're proud of, pin away! However, try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion."

Pinterest is invitation-only at the moment; you must either request an invitation or be invited by someone you know. If you need an invitation to access right away, follow us on Twitter @Sociallybuzz and leave a message with your e-mail address.

Andre Kay is CEO and chief marking officer for Sociallybuzz, which provides social media management, marketing, fan-page management and social media consultation. Sociallybuzz is designed to help brands, franchises, restaurants, nightclubs and retailers with simple or advance social media development and marketing while delivering businesses and brands the greatest number of options in how they define and reach their relevant audiences.

Image credit: Pinterest


Topics: Customer Service / Experience , Marketing / Branding / Promotion , Online / Mobile / Social , Operations Management , Trends / Statistics


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