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Pinning 101 for Restaurants
By Emily Fritz

pinterestHere are a collection of tips to successfully use Pinterest to market your restaurant.

Don't Pin or Re-pin Blindly

If you're contemplating starting a Pinterest page for your bar or restaurant, or if you're struggling to make your current page work, follow these general guidelines to become a Pinteresting success!

Pre-pinning planning

The first step to launching any social media page is creating a plan. What are your goals? What's your strategy? And what content should you share with followers? Think out what types of content makes sense for your unique brand, and come up with five to seven pinboards to start with which will achieve your goals. Remember, you can always add more content later, but getting a few themes to focus on now will help you get acclimated to the platform.

Every restaurant will have different boards, because every restaurant is different. If you're a sports bar, you'll have boards dedicated to teams or athletes. If you're a family restaurant, you'll have boards that offer parenting tips or kid activities. If your menu is health-conscience and organic, you'll have fitness and diet boards. Ask yourself, "What interests my customers?" The answer to that question becomes the subject matter of your brand new pinboards! Do your research and check out how other bars and restaurants are participating in Pinterest; you may pick up a few pointers by seeing what has worked well for others.

Keep in mind, Pinterest serves a few key purposes. One, it offers you a space to show off some personality and really humanize your brand, beyond the food you serve up. So be entertaining. Two, it gives you a social space to connect with customers or potential customers by sharing content connected to your brand. So become part of the community. Three, it is a collection of useful information that pinners will refer to and benefit from. So be helpful. Planning how your content will work within the expectations of this media will get you on the right path to success.

With Pinterest's "secret boards," you can get your pinboards prepped before they go live. When you launch your page to the public, you'll already have some great pins to share!

Pin Verified

To start, create a business page, or verify your existing one. This gives your page an official look, differentiates it from personal pages as a professional one, and offers a link back to your website.

Pinners Get Ready

The next step is to decide who will be responsible for keeping your Pinterest boards fresh and beneficial to your followers. Pinterest makes it easy to assign more than one user to your various pinboards, and you really should consider taking advantage of multiple pinners. While there should be one main administrator for your restaurant's account, invite other staff, or even loyal customers, to pin to certain boards on your behalf. If you have a few Pinterest addicts who work for you, they may enjoy pinning for your brand even when they're off the clock. If a time commitment to social media has been a problem for you in the past, dividing up the pinning duties may alleviate some of that time concern. One way several businesses are becoming a success on Pinterest is by allowing their customers to share their perspectives through one of the company's boards. Whether it's uploading real photos or pinning suggestions for the management team to take off-Pinterest, giving your customers some pinning freedom could really be a nice boost to your collection of boards.

Pinboards Described

Once you have your first collection of pinboard titles, you'll need to write a description for both your main page and each of your boards. The text can be searched within Pinterest, so don't miss an opportunity to be found. Be sure to include a description for your main page and each board. The text is search-able, so don't miss out on the opportunity to be seen. The audience on Pinterest like cleverly written, short descriptions, so keep that in mind when you're writing your copy. As you describe each individual pin, be brief and use #hashtags to make searching for similar content easy.

Play Nicely

Pinterest is a community, so be a friendly member. Offer helpful comments, re-pin useful content, and follow other people's and/or business's boards. The big no-no is to pin all your content directly from your own website and not offer a good mix of sources. It's alright to self-promote sometimes, as long as you're giving a nod to others, too. Here's a tip, though: when you re-pin, click through to ensure the link takes you to a page with relevant and appropriate content. You also want to make sure your content is well-balanced. While there is a massive amount of existing pins that you can re-pin, it's important to generate new pins, as well. Be active within the community, but also give that community a fresh perspective - yours.

Picture Savvy

Pinterest is all about visual inspiration. In order to achieve your goals, you need to start thinking about everything you do as a picture. Anything you blog about or post on your website can become a pin, if you have a great eye-catching visual that accompanies the post. When you describe your pins, give it a headline that entices people to click through to read more. There are a lot of wonderful pictures on Pinterest, so stand out with images pinners won't want to pass by.

As you grow your Pinterest page, you'll learn which content is popular and be able to tweak your plan for better success. Happy pinning!

Emily Fritz has a marketing communications background and writes for East Coast Chair & Barstool, a national e-commerce supplier of bar, restaurant, and hospitality furniture. With a wide selection of both indoor and outdoor restaurant furniture, they are headquartered in Mercer, Pennsylvania, and ship to the 48 continental states.

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