Pinterest boards attract one local business

Chilly Billy’s is using Pinterest to interact with customers.

Molly Novak


Chilly Billy’s Frozen Yogurt is jumping on the  Pinterest bandwagon with pins of flavors and toppings on five boards.

The frozen yogurt shop is the first store in Dinkytown to follow the example of larger Minnesota-based businesses like Great Clips, General Mills and Cub Foods.

Pinterest is a social networking site where users “pin” pictures to virtual boards according to their interests. Founded in 2010, the site is widely used for wedding plans, home decorating ideas and sharing recipes.

Pinterest allows users to categorize their boards to organize pins. The different boards display the ideas and activities of companies. Users also have a “like” board of pins that connects followers to pictures not directly from the company’s stock.

Chilly Billy’s uses the boards to upload pictures of its yogurt toppings, flavors and customer creations.

“We don’t want to sell anything; it’s more of an engagement tool,” said Chilly Billy’s spokeswoman Felicia Johnson, who created the Chilly Billy’s Pinterest account about three weeks ago.

She said that while the account helps to spread information about the store, it’s meant for interaction with existing customers.

“I think Pinterest will offer more shareability,” Johnson said. “It is a fun and engaging way to get people involved.”

Katie Roehl, a University junior who follows Chilly Billy’s on Pinterest, said she interacts with the page about once a week.

“I like the visuals of Pinterest and Chilly Billy’s Pinterest page is no different,” she said in an email.

Roehl said she would like to see Chilly Billy’s add more flavors to the page and do giveaways like it has on Facebook and Twitter.

The business also has a “Specials” board with pinned advertisements of sales, happy hours and punch cards.

But with only 21 followers, Chilly Billy’s Pinterest page doesn’t get the same interaction as its Facebook or Twitter feeds.

Johnson said the low number of followers may be because Chilly Billy’s hasn’t been on the site long.

Promoting the Pinterest page has been harder to do than with Facebook or Twitter since “there isn’t a way to promote it on the site,” Johnson said. Instead, Chilly Billy’s has been using its Twitter and Facebook sites to advertise the Pinterest boards.

So far, the store is the only business in the Dinkytown area using the site.

“A lot of big brands tend to use Pinterest, but we aren’t seeing a lot of local brands,” Johnson said. “We’re kind of on the forefront of it.”

Other local businesses said Pinterest will only be “one more thing to worry about.”

“We just choose to focus our energy on making good pizza,” said Flaco Huevos, manager at Mesa Pizza in Dinkytown.

But Johnson thinks Pinterest can offer a lot of interaction with customers, although Chilly Billy’s is mainly focusing on getting more followers on the site for now.

“We want people to get involved and get into the brand more,” Johnson said.