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Red Pin with shadow and text - How does Pinterest work and why you need it for your B&B

📌 How does Pinterest work and why you need it for your B&B

how to market a bed and breakfast starting up a bed and breakfast May 04, 2021

I’ve been using Pinterest for many years now - in fact I started using it when it was invite only, so that takes us back to 2012, if not before!

As a knitter and a keen cook, it’s inspired many of my knitted creations and evening meals. And it’s one of the few “social media” sites that my husband, Rob, also enjoys using.

A typical evening in the Thorne household:

“Shall I cook?”

“Yes, that would be fabulous.”

“What were you planning this evening?”

“I thought maybe those Dan Dan Noodles we had a couple of weeks ago?”

“Yes, perfect. Where’s the recipe?”

“On Pinterest in our Fave tried and tested recipes board”

But Pinterest is much more than a place to go searching for your next favourite noodle recipe or to help you decide on the colours for your latest nightshift shawl.

Whether you’re just thinking of starting a B&B or have been marketing a B&B for a while, Pinterest can be a really useful tool for you to include in your business toolkit.

In this post, I’m going to talk you through what Pinterest is and how it can benefit your bed and breakfast business, whatever stage you’re at.

You can follow me on Pinterest here --> Follow Karen on Pinterest

If you’d like to get training, help and support in marketing your own bed and breakfast, you can join the B&B Marketing Membership. 

Click here to 👉 find out more about the B&B Marketing Membership

1. What is Pinterest?

I started off by describing Pinterest as a”social media’ site, though you may have noticed those quotes.  That’s because, although it started as a social media site, it’s not really social in the same way that Facebook or Instagram are.

In fact, Pinterest describes itself as

“...a visual discovery engine for finding ideas like recipes, home and style inspiration and more”

So Pinterest is actually a search engine, much like Google or Bing. Users are searching Pinterest for stuff that they want to make or buy,  useful information and places they want to visit.

Which brings us back to our family use of Pinterest. One of the first things we do when we decide on a holiday destination is to create a secret Pinterest board and start pinning holiday ideas to it.

2. Why use Pinterest for your bed and breakfast?

Pinterest is a great tool for all of the different stages of your business. 

 You can use it to save ideas such as:

  • B&Bs for sale
  • B&B websites you like
  • Decorating inspiration
  • Recipe inspiration
  • Cleaning hints and tips
  • And much more… 

If you’re pretty hopeless at interior design, like me, you can use Pinterest for inspiration and saving ideas.

When we were redesigning our own bathroom from scratch, we set up a secret bathroom board and used that to inspire us create our rather lovely wet room. 

But you can also use it to market a B&B. 

You can create pins and boards to help potential guests find you and discover what to do in your area. You could create boards for:

  • All of your blog posts
  • Your rooms
  • Your breakfast recipes
  • Your garden
  • Things to do in the area
  • Walks in your local area
  • Castles to visit in your area
  • And much more…

3. What are the benefits of using Pinterest to market a B&B?

One of the biggest advantages of using Pinterest as a marketing tool over other social platforms is that the content is evergreen.

I have an old recipe blog that I started in 2012, with just 67 posts and it was last updated in 2017. It still gets about 400 visitors a month, most of them from Pinterest.

I can just about guarantee you that none of my Facebook or Twitter Posts from 2012 ( or even last month ) are still sending traffic to my website!

And the number of people using Pinterest is growing at a significant rate -

Pinterest gained more than 100 million monthly active users in 2020 with 459 million monthly active users. And the significant share of the company’s growth took place outside of the US, with a 46% increase in the monthly international user figures in 202

If you're into statistics you can read Hootsuite’s blog article - Pinterest Statistics for Business in this blog post to see some of the impressive statistics on Pinterest.

4. Using Pinterest for business

If you are planning to use Pinterest to market a B&B, let me just give you a word of warning. 

It can be amazing and take off, but it is a slow burn. You'll wait a few months to start seeing any results and YOU HAVE TO BE CONSISTENT! 

Sorry for shouting but, like all marketing effort, for it to be effective, you need to be posting daily. 

You can make this less of a pain by setting up an hour or so every fortnight and using that time to create and schedule pins in advance using Pinterest itself or other scheduling tools. 

"How much time do you waste Marketing, Karen?"

This was one of my "favourite" questions I got when I was speaking at a conference of Sawday's B&B owners a few years ago.

I responded with "How much time do you waste cleaning? How much time do you waste cooking breakfast. How much time do you waste talking to guests?

Marketing is just another of the jobs you need to do when you run a business.

Every time I talk about tactics for marketing your own B&B, people do raise concerns about the time it takes. And yes, it does take time to market your B&B effectively. But the benefit is that you’re not paying so much commission to the OTAs and attracting more of your ideal guests.

I’d rather pay someone to come and clean for me a few hours a week and to spend that time on marketing my own business!

5. Create a Business account

If you’re planning to use Pinterest to market your B&B, then it’s best practise to sign up for a Pinterest Business Account and claim your website. 

For those of you that  already have a personal account, you could set up a new business account or simply convert your personal account to a business account.

If you’re planning to convert a personal account to a business account, it's a good idea to go through it and tidy up your boards, making any that aren’t relevant to your business secret boards.

It’s free to get a Pinterest business account. And this gives you access to advanced analytics, the ability to promote pins ( Paid advertising ) and shows your account as verified to give potential customers piece of mind.

6. How does Pinterest work?

Pinterest can be used on a desktop / laptop computer or as an app on your phone or tablet. 

When you first open it up you’ll see your home feed. Here Pinterest will show you pins that it thinks you’ll be interested in based on your previous searches, pins that people you follow have saved and also promoted pins - adverts.

 Clicking on CREATED on your profile with show you all of the pins that you've created.

Clicking on SAVED will show you all of your boards and the pins you've saved to each board.

7. What is a pin on Pinterest?

Pinterest describes Pins as “bookmarks that people use to save ideas that they love on Pinterest”

A pin is usually an image or video, which links through to a website. Though you can create a standalone image or video with no website link.

Bear in mind that you should only own upload images if you own the copyright to the image/video

8. What are Pinterest Boards?

Boards in Pinterest are used to organise all of your pins. Think of them like folders in a filing cabinet.

For example, you might have a Pinterest board for recipes or knitting. Or if you’ve been on Pinterest for a while like me you’ll have ones for chicken recipes, noodle recipes, vegetarian recipes, vegan recipes … 

If you’re planning to use Pinterest to market your bed and breakfast, the boards you have, what you call them and the description you give them are important as Pinterest uses them to understand what your pins are all about. Once Pinterest understands what you’re pinning it is more likely to show your pins in searches. 

You can invite people to collaborate on boards with you. This is what Rob and I do when you create a board for holiday or recipe planning. We can then both add pins to the same board. 

You can also make boards secret. Again this is a very useful feature if you don’t want other people to see what pins you’re saving.

You can invite people to collaborate on a secret board

9. How do you create a Pin? 

You can create a Pin by uploading a photo or video from your computer, phone or tablet or you can create a pin from a website.

If you use Google Chrome as your internet browser, you can add a Pinterest browser button as an extension. Then when you’re on a website and want to save it, you can quickly create a pin, choose the image you want to use and link it back to the website.

If you’re using Pinterest to market your bed and breakfast, it’s best to design pretty pins in a tool like Canva. You can then upload these to Pinterest as an image. 

10. What is saving a pin?

You don’t have to create pins on Pinterest, you can just save over people’s pins to your own boards.

If you’re using Pinterest to market your B&B, it’s best practise to create your own pins. Afterall, you want to be sending potential guests back to your website.

But if you’re using it for inspiration and ideas, you can search for and save other people’s pins to your boards.

11. Keeping up to date with Pinterest

Like every other other technology out there, Pinterest does keep changing, trying new things out and improving.

You do need to keep up to date with these changes to keep using it effectively.

At time of writing, the latest thing is Pinterest Stories. Pinterest stories are a way of adding multiple videos and images into one pin.

Here's an example of a story pin I created 👉  Things to do in 2 days in Shropshire Story Pin

 As a B&B you can use stories to:

  • Create step by step recipe pins
  • Showcase all of the rooms in your house using images or video
  • Put together a list of your favourite walks, things to do, restaurants

Like all other social media, video is big on Pinterest and is going to keep increasing in popularity. So if you're planning to use Pinterest to market your business, you should include video in the mix.

Whilst it wasn't something I did strategically, i started uploading short videos to Pinterest during the first lockdown last year.

This one has had over 1.3 million impressions 👉  Hopton Castle stream video

12. Join the B&B Marketing Academy to learn more

One of my aims of the B&B Academy marketing membership is to help you keep up to date with these latest changes in marketing technologies and to help you get the best use out of them for your B&B.

I stay current with the latest marketing trends. And I've taken several Pinterest courses over the years, and share what I know with the members of the membership.

I'm running a Pinterest Marketing Workshop on 5th May in the B&B marketing membership. And will be adding in mini in depth videos on topics such as best practise pin design, pinterest strategy, creating a pin in canva, creating boards and more over the coming weeks.

Find out more about the B&B Marketing Membership Here → B&B Marketing Membership About Page


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