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How (& Why) We Use Pinterest for Our Service-Based Creative Business

by Abby Kerr

in Uncategorized

About this column

The Voice Bureau ♥s Pinterest.

Full confession: I was NOT an immediate Pinhead. I did NOT jump on the Pinterest bandwagon back when everyone else did. I was NOT an early adopter. In fact, when Pinterest first came around, my feelings for Pinterest ran more along these lines.

Abby Kerr of The Voice Bureau on PinterestWhat the actual eff? I’d privately muse as my peers and colleagues merrily filled up my Facebook home feed and Tweetstream with images too lovely to be snapshots of somebody’s real life. I figured this new social media channel was little more than a fantasy bastion for what I think of as The Cupcake-Making Ladies, the teastain-everything-and-then-stamp-it-with-a-vintage-French-crown set, and, well, this chick (whose storytelling ability is actually quite brilliant).

Thank goodness for Tami Smith, my collaborative partner, who clued me in on how Pinterest could not only be incredibly useful as part of a content strategy, but FUN.

This is NOT a How To Use Pinterest for Business post. Nor is it a step-by-step post on how you can work Pinterest into your brand’s content strategy. Rather, it’s a look at how we’re doing it at The Voice Bureau, which is a service-based creative business. If you’re a coach, a consultant, a writer, a designer, or another type of creative who renders services just as often (or more than) products, you’ll want to keep reading and see how YOU can adapt what we’ve found to work for your own purposes.

It’s easy to see how a product-based business can use Pinterest to heighten potential customer’s desire for their products. Check out how Canadian tile art designer Sid Dickens curates pins that showcase their products and inspirations. Jayson Home, in Chicago, does a beautiful job of highlighting their own finds and furnishings, along with other moody inspirations. And boutique eyeglass retailer Warby Parker kills it with not only product shots, but on-location photo shoots, scenes from their doing-good Class Trip Visits, and related lifestyle boards.

But how about service-based creative businesses?

How can we use such an image-heavy channel to tell a story about what, how, and why we do what we do, and most importantly, who we do it for.

When I first forayed into Pinterest, I started by finding my visual footing.

I set up boards — as many as I wanted — that told stories about my personal tastes and aesthetics. These boards are all public, and give you a chance to get to know the personal ‘who’ behind my brand (that’s me, for the most part).

Here are a few of my favorite personal boards:

  • Home Enthused — or, what my house might look like had I unlimited funds
  • I’d So Wear It — a peek inside my fantasy closet
  • Writerly — inspiration for keeping the pen moving across the page
  • Vegan & Vegetarian — as a self-identified Pesco-Vegetarian with Vegan Tendencies Who Also Eats Ethically Raised Eggs, I get a lot of culinary mileage from this board

My personal pinboards taught me how to use Pinterest. I quickly realized that stuff I’d pinned in my early days of use didn’t seem quite as irresistible 100 pins later — and so I could delete it without missing it.

Essentially, personal pinning taught me how to tell cohesive stories through each board — and that’s what Pinterest is more or less about, no matter whether you’re using it for business or for personal stuff.

You don’t have to know what story you’re telling before you start pinning. Unless you want to. Remember: there are no hard and fast rules here. Just what works best for you and your Right People.

After I found my rhythm and my pinning ‘style,’ I turned my attention to how I could use the wild world of Pinterest to support The Voice Bureau’s brand conversation.

For starters, I looked at our core methodology — the tools we invent and invest in that help us deliver the results we do.

For us, that’s my Voice Values paradigm for branding.

I wanted to show our audience visually what the Voice Values look like in action. And so I created a pinboard for each of the 16 Voice Values. Here are a few of them, to get you started. You can view all 16 Voice Values pinboards at once by visiting the landing page for our profile.

Beyond our methodology, I wanted to use Pinterest to curate resources from around the web that could support our Right People in the work they’re doing with branding, copywriting, and building out sustainable, values-based businesses. I love the idea of curating some especially great resources right on a sub-page on a website, but even more than that, I love using the interconnected web of Pinterest to do it. Here are some boards we made to support you in your extra-branding, business-building efforts:

Finally, we use Pinterest to support our 2-to-1 and group work with clients.

We create mood boards for the Right Person of our clients working through our Empathy Marketing methodology.

You can take a look at some of them here. Note how very different are the vibes and styles respective to each board. Each one paints a strong and cohesive portrait of the worldviews, interests, aesthetic inclinations, core needs, and developmental desires of a particular Buyer Type and a singular Right Person.

So that’s how The Voice Bureau gets it done on Pinterest. How about you?

In the comments, I’d love to hear:

How are you using Pinterest to support your business and brand conversation? Anything working really well for you? Anything you’re going to try after reading this piece? Let me know!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Molly Morrissey August 5, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Great post. I am actually working on a new offering for my clients that incorporates Pintrest as a tool for clarity! I was doing some astrological work for a client and she’s a big pinner (is that the lingo?) – and the conversation turned toward her vision of the personality characteristics we were discussing and all the sudden I was telling her to put together a board to help her get clear on her motivations and desires. Bingo! She even agreed to be a guinea pig for this new offering, and it is working out beautifully.

So a big thanks to you for having us get on Pintrest during the EM-DIY. I would never have gone and now I, like you, can see major possibilities for my new offering, and for my biz. Apparently I drank a whole gallon of that kool-aid.


Abby Kerr August 5, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Glad you’re finding Pinterest a useful and inspiring tool in your client work, Molly. It’s amazing the intersections that can be found when we think in this visual mode. Looking forward to seeing more of you on there!


Caroline Frenette Intuitive Leadership Coach August 7, 2013 at 6:17 am

Using social media such as Pinterest is so time consuming though. My question is does it really translate into sales?

I think having an assistant taking care of my social media would make more sense since I don’t like it all that much. My day is already packed as it is serving clients + working on my biz so spending more time online to pin photos? Maybe in the winter, with a glass of red wine when I have nothing else to do :)


Abby Kerr August 7, 2013 at 11:06 am

Hi, Caroline —

It’s true that Pinterest can be addictive, but for me, the addiction has worn off over time, and now I just use it in purposeful spurts.

No one brand has to use EVERY social media channel. Perhaps Pinterest isn’t one you’re naturally drawn to, and so — no worries there!

I think it depends as much on business goals and brand objectives as on anything else. I want The Voice Bureau to be known as a teaching and learning brand. So I spend considerable time building up and sharing resources that can support my readers and clients. Your goals may be different.


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