Pinterest: How can restaurants use this online pinboard?

There’s been a lot of buzz around Pinterest in the media lately. According to an article published this month in TechCrunch citing data collected by comScore, Pinterest hit 10 million unique visitors per month faster than any standalone website ever. Its rise to prominence can be demographically credited to 18-34 year old women from the US.

What is Pinterest?  Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that allows you to organize and share pictures you find on the web, or upload them from your desktop. They even have a mobile application for your iPhone. You can use Pinterest to follow other people that share your common interests to gain valuable insights and new ideas.

How it works? When you sign up for Pinterest, it installs a “Pin It” button on your browser toolbar, which allows you to grab images from any website page and post it to your pinboard. Or you can upload images from your desktop. Their iPhone application allows you to snap picture and upload them instantly to your page. Another slick feature of the mobile app is the ability to move & scale pictures before uploading them. You can use the pre-defined pinboards categories, such as “Food & Drink” to organize your photos, or create your own categories like in the example, “Restaurants I Love”.  Images you upload or pin can be linked to any website.

How can a restaurant use Pinterest?

  • Upload pictures of your featured food items and interior / exterior shots of your restaurant.
  • Share some of your creative foodie recipes by adding a description to your photos.
  • Share new photos with your Facebook & Twitter fans.
  • Search the “Food & Drink” category to get new ideas for your menus.
  • Add a “Pin It” button (similar to the Facebook “Like”) to your main websites photo page to allow customers and readers to pin your featured picture to their Pinterest albums.
  • You can easily embed any image posted to Pinterest on your blog page, or within the content of an HTML email.
  • Create a group board and ask other people to collaborate with you on an idea.
  • Use Pinterest to track your projects and ideas by pinning items to your Facebook timeline.
  • Follow people on Pinterest that inspire you!

Why should I bother with another time-sink?

Granted, there aren’t enough hours in day to serve your customers and keep abreast of updating your social sites, but Pinterest is a site that won’t require much effort to update. Consider spending half an hour each week after lunch or before your restaurant closes to look for fresh new ideas and share yours. Your pictures and videos will become viral as people add them to their own pinboards. You will be amazed at how quickly you start adding pictures and videos to your own personal pinboard categories, which will give you insightful ideas for your restaurants’ Pinterest account.  

How do you sign up?  Visit their home page and request an invitation, or ask a friend that’s a member to send you an invite. You must have a Facebook or Twitter account already and link one of your accounts to Pinterest when you sign up.

Visit the Sorta Crunchy beginners guide for Pinterest for tips on setting up and using Pinterest.

Please share your Pinterest experiences below!

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  • I find Pinterest stupidly addictive. And it IS a real time sink! :D

    On the point of readying your website for Pinterest by uploading photos, it is important to make sure that the photos you upload are not just suitable for pinning (read: looks great, Pinterest is all about the visual impact), but also that you do it in such a technical way that makes it possible to pin them.

    What does that mean? Well, if you hide your photos away in a Flash based gallery, playing them as a movie... Or in some sort of pop up functionality showing them as overlays on your page... The little browser function that Pinterest provide to web users may not be able to "see" your photos, and then they can't be pinned!

    Also, you want to make sure that every time a photo is pinned there is a link following along to a page on your website where the visitor, should they find your photo interesting enough to want to learn more, easily can keep browsing the rest of your site. Is it easy to get to the home page? Is it easy to see how to sign up for your newsletter and make a reservation?

    So before you spend time on this, make sure that it possible to pin your photos, and that people clicking the photo on Pinterest get a good experience when arriving at your website.

    How? Easy, sign up for an account and try!

  • Jon,

    Thanks for some great restaurant listings.

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