If you haven’t jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon, you’re missing out! Pinterest is the fastest growing social networking site on the web and has over 48 million users as of February 2013 (according to Reuters and ComScore).
What the heck is Pinterest and how does it work?
Think of Pinterest as a virtual bulletin board (or group of bulletin boards). Users have the ability to “pin” images of products, people, videos, recipes and many other things they found on the internet to their boards and create a description for each pin. A user can then create themes for his/her boards and pin items on the board that make the most sense.
For example, you might have a “Great Food” board, and a “Places I Want to Visit” board. The Food board would be filled with recipes, images of food, videos on how to make recipes and even restaurant logos. The Places board might be filled with images of beaches, European destinations or beautiful snowcapped mountains. Other users have the ability to “Repin” items they’ve seen on another person’s board to one of their own boards – meaning it’s easy for content to go viral.
The social function of Pinterest is really what makes it interesting. You pin things, someone else repins and the site where the image originated receives links and traffic back to their site.
So how does this apply to my ecommerce store?
More and more brands are using Pintrest as a way to engage with followers or customers. Pinterest inspires action and gives people the ability to visually express themselves through photos and images. For your ecommerce site, it provides an outlet to show a different side of your company beyond marketing your products or services.
If you haven’t already done so, you can use this article to get started with your Pinterest account.
Now that you know what Pinterest is, how can you use this channel to build your brand and engage users? Check out this list of best practices for using Pinterest:
Best Practices for Ecommerce Brands on Pinterest
1. Show people that you’re just like them
Focus the content of your boards on the lifestyle of your brand instead of merely promoting the products on your site. It’s definitely okay to pin images from your online store, but don’t make your boards just another place to catalog your products.
Instead, create boards that show a way of life. If you’re selling apparel, you might have a “Great Color Palettes” board with fun images you’ve seen from fashion design blogs. As one of your pins, you might include an image of an outfit you sell in a particular color, but make the board more about color ideas and fashion than just about your products.
A great example of a brand doing it right on Pinterest is Whole Foods. They have great lifestyle boards like “Super Hot Kitchens” and “Our Favorite Books.” You might also check out Volusion’s Pinterest boards for some great pins on the lifestyle of an entrepreneur!
2. Make images on your site a priority
It’s important to take the visual nature of Pinterest into consideration when building your boards. Similar to product images on an online store, pinners are attracted to high quality images that look unique or interesting. If you’re pinning a recipe for a great salad, don’t pin an image of a single tomato. Instead, pin an image that shows a beautiful, colorful salad… the finished product.
Be sure to keep this idea of imagery in mind when building your ecommerce site. Would you want someone pinning your site’s images on their boards? Are your images Pinterest-worthy, or are they poor quality, dull and uninteresting?
3. Use Pinterest to Your Advantage
Just like every other form of social media, Pinterest is meant to engage users and create a community. But one unique aspect of Pinterest that sets it apart is its ability to discreetly market products. The millions of users who scroll through Pinterest daily aren’t just wasting time online, they’re doing research to see what’s hot, what’s popular and what others in their social circles are buying, using, making and doing. Use that to your advantage when you pin things from your ecommerce store, but don’t forget to keep your focus on lifestyle.
Another way to use Pinterest to your advantage is for SEO juice. Pinning product pages is a great way to get links deep within your site. You’ll also want to include a URL in the description of your pins when appropriate.
Finally, figure out how Pinterest is working for you. You can use the URL: http://pinterest.com/source/yourdomain.com (fill in your domain at the end) to see how many pins are being pinned directly from your website. If you have a Pinterest for Business account, you can directly check your Pinterest Analytics. You can also check out your Google Analytics page to see how much referral traffic is coming to your site from Pinterest.
4. Make Your Ecommerce Site Pinterest-Friendly
First, put a Pinterest button on your site next to other social media icons like Facebook, Twitter and your blog. This allows people to click and visit your Pinterest page directly from your site.
Second, give your customers the ability to pin images on your site. Think about all the referral traffic you can get from one person pinning a product and hundreds of others repining the same thing. Volusion recently made an upgrade to the software that allows you to incorporate a PinIt button in product pages of your online store.
Pinterest is rapidly growing and making social sharing easier and more exciting than ever – they recently completed a redesign that promises to pull in even more new followers.
If you haven’t started pinning, now’s the time!
-Molly Sylestine, Public Relations Associate, Volusion