Pinterest for Caterers: The Next Frontier?

Wedding Dress Cake from Sweet Memories Bakery in Apex, NC. Incorporating elements from the dress is a 2012 trend for wedding cakes, says Sweet Memories Bakery.

If you’ve spent any time on the service, you’ve learned that Pinterest really takes the cake. It’s filled with ideas for caterers, for your home, for your fashion sense, for your life… and it can be a great marketing tool!

In this month’s Catersource, I go through general tips for caterers to use Pinterest, the new social media service that is really clicking exponentially across the globe. With all its photos of minis and cupcakes galore, it’s a huge hit for people who are just looking for inspiration. It’s also a huge resource for people who are planning their weddings, as well as event planners. Because it’s increasingly used by so many potential customers, as well as a lot of casual users, caterers can use it to spread the word about their product. A strong Pinterest presence for your business can result in new customers, increased brand awareness, and improved results in search engines.

There are a lot of tips in the May/June issue of Catersource, so be sure to read those to get the skinny on how to get big hits with Pinterest. Here are a few more tips that I’ve gleaned from spending (probably too much) time on the service, coupled with some of my favorite photos that didn’t make it into our wedding issue.

Purple wedding cupcake tree from 24 carrots in Irvine, CA. Yes, cupcakes are still popular at weddings – and no wonder, looking like this! See our May/June issue for more!

Think: Martha Stewart. Seriously, browse Pinterest and you’ll notice that probably half the photos are from a Martha Stewart publication. Where would we all be without her?… but try your best to emulate that look.
Only pretty food need apply. That is, pin only the best of the best that you have to offer… and then maybe edit it down a little. Make sure your photos are well lit and in focus and highlight the best of the event.
Pinners love: desserts in every color of the rainbow, runny eggs, avocados, heirloom tomatoes, smoothies. Bright colors, bright lights and truly stunning food will get you repins, likes and followers.
Pinners adore: minis, of almost anything, and especially when they’re familiar foods. Pinterest is the place to show off your hors d’oeuvres, dessert shots,
Pinners revere: action stations and original ideas that you’ve been able to capture on film… but make sure you can get a good close up. On Pinterest, the feature is the food and the idea, not your chef’s amazing accessories
Pinners pounce on: centerpieces, menus, color and creative design.

This gorgeous yellow flower cake didn’t make it into our May/June Catersource issue. Imagine the cakes that *did* make it…

Make sure your pins of your own content are from your website, rather than uploaded, so that you can reap the benefits of the increased web traffic you’ll be getting. If nothing else, a caterer skilled in pinning may bump up their site’s results in search engines.
Pinners aren’t so hot on: steaks, other red meats, a lot of sauces and a lot of browns. You may sell a lot of chicken and steak entrees, but they won’t be the kind of thing that will go over well on Pinterest. (Of course, there’s always the exception for the exceptionally attractive.)
Label, label, label. Pinterest is only searchable by text, so make sure to describe the item you’re pinning as distinctly as possible.

A good guideline to follow: Pinterest is your potential client, but it’s your client when they’re surfing the web after a long day of work. They want images that are easy to take in and comforting to see. They’re going to repin things that other people will want to look at as well – things that their friends will look at, things that will display their amazing taste.

Pinterest is also collaborative, and you can invite clients to pin to your boards. If you’re making a Pinterest board for a client, add their email address, and they can pin to that board. It’s a way of working together to come up with one grand, gorgeous idea.

And if you email us, we’ll add you to our Pinterest boards!

For an idea of what’s in the May/June issue of Catersource, check out that issue’s Pinterest board. Coming soon: the inspiration board for the July/August issue.

Cupcakes with a couture edge are still big this year, like these from Crazy Chefs in South Easton, MA

Instagram, another social image-sharing service, is more of an of-the-moment service. If Pinterest is for the final product, then Instagram is for when you’re in the middle of the event. Images should still be of something delectable, of course, but Instagram has a more immediate appeal. Also, Instagram photos can be shared on Facebook and Twitter (although since Facebook just purchased Instagram, who knows what will happen to the latter half of that equation).

Pinterest, of course, can also be shared on Facebook… but we recommend that you only share the very occasional pinned photo to bring that set of users to your Pinterest board.

Any questions? Want to share tips? Got a Pinterest board you want to share with us? Let us know in the comments.

Here are some Pinterest boards we love:

Russell Morin
Sasha Souza
Arthur’s Catering
Mayesh

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