When asked why he robbed banks, Willie Sutton famously replied, “That’s where the money is.”  You should get involved with Pinterest for the same reason.  It’s where your customers are.

Pinterest is the hottest new social media site, appeals overwhelmingly to women, is homeowner focused, and overlooked by nearly all HVAC contractors.  

If Pinterest is new to you, you are probably male.  Ask your wife about it.  

Pinterest is organized as a series of subject oriented bulletin “boards” where users “pin” images of interest (hence the name, Pinterest).  The images can come from websites or can be uploaded by the user.  The images can link back to a website, blog post, article, video, and so on.  Users can make the boards private, public, or public and allow comments.  Other users can repin your pins to their boards.

Because Pinterest is visual, some HVAC contractors have trouble envisioning how to use Pinterest to promote their business.  How do you show air?

Some of the air conditioning related pins you will find include pictures showing ways to hide condensing units, how to paint a condensing unit, decorating ideas surrounding thermostats (especially the Nest), and graphics from EnergyStar and other websites to show how air conditioners work.  Additional ideas include:

•    IAQ (allergens, dust mites, air cleaners, etc.)

•    How to (change a filter, reset a breaker, etc.)

•    Architectural grilles, registers, and diffusers

•    Before and after installation pictures

•    Hydronic radiators

•    Identifying comfort problems

•    Thermostat options

•    Green living

Pinterest faces the same problem you’ll confront with lots of Internet marketing and social media.  It’s the lack of borders.  It doesn’t move the sales needle if someone halfway across the country admires your pins.  You need to appeal to people in your community.  That means you might need a few boards like:

•    Local events, concerts, games, and performances

•    School lunch menus

•    Things to do with kids in your town

•    Sights and scenes of your town

•    Favorite local restaurants

•    Best local businesses

•    Community news

These will help drive local, community based followers.  You can boost this further by recommending your Pinterest page to your customers and other social media friends and followers. 

Remember, Pinterest is social media (i.e., emphasize “social”).  It’s okay to introduce personal boards that reflect your interests.  Be real.  Be human.

Pinterest gives you the ability to tag the images you pin with a 500 word description.  Make sure you include your company name, website, and phone number in the descriptions.  Also, include twitter hashtags such as #hvac.

Like any social media, explore it before starting.  Search for HVAC terms.  Check out other users’ boards.  Become familiar with the nuances and culture.  Then, get started!

Matt Michel is CEO of the Service Roundtable, which keeps contractors conversant with the state-of-the-art in contracting and marketing.  For more information, call a Success Consultant at 877.262.3341 and ask for a complementary tour of the Service Roundtable.