March 5, 2012
By Susan D
There’s a new player in town, a traffic-driving heavy hitter that goes by the name of Pinterest.com. If you haven’t heard of it already, you soon will. Social media-minded eCommerce owners may be especially interested as Pinterest can help market their online store. In fact, some small business owners have reported a sales increase of up to 50%.
The first time I heard the name “Pinterest” marked the week that it was repeated to me 3 times, by 3 different friends. So… what’s so amazing about this new site? And why should an eCommerce company take note? Pinterest offers a simple, yet deceivingly addictive idea of ‘pinning interests’ and has remarkable potential in the world of eCommerce. If you build your profile well, it can circulate your product around the Pinterest community and drive traffic to your site in ways that have never before been realized.
This new Silicon Valley creation has been around since 2010 but has only recently caught on. It attracted a meager 1 million visitors in July of 2011 but by January of this year, it was up to 12 million unique visitors. In Feb 2012 those numbers had hit 103 million and just last week, it was the 3rd most popular social networking site in the U.S., only trailing Facebook and Twitter, according market-research firm comScore and Experian Hitwise. Impressive, right? We’re talking about a site that employs a couple of dozen people but is valued at $200 million. Their insane, exponential growth has everyone talking… and figuring out ways that it can be made to work for them.
Can we use it for online marketing?
Yes! For online product promotion and sales, it’s a retailer’s dream.
But first, let’s talk about…
How Pinterest works.
The idea and use is brilliantly simple. It’s so simple that when I first heard the concept, I didn’t think much of it. When you are visiting the site, you just spend some time daydreaming about your interests and ‘pinning’ them to a virtual board. You can either look through pictures that have already been pinned by other friends or users, ‘browse’ for pictures in your computer, or ‘add pins’ from outside links. Each person has their own profile where they add ‘category boards’, which are filled with pins. And really, most pins are just links to outside products and webpages. For example, if someone is landscaping their yard, they’ll likely have a board with the pins for the gardening and landscaping styles they like. But let’s say you’re like me and you have interest in motorcycles, cooking, vintage style, and DIY crafting… these would be our category boards and our pins would be organized accordingly. I like this, I Like This, I LOVE THIS!!! Pinterest feeds on the fact that people love to hear their own opinions…. And I’m almost as guilty of this as the next person.
If I’m not careful, I can spend hours viewing and pinning links to products, pictures and ideas that give me recipes, craft ideas for my house, inspiration for the future, or fashion links to shop. What’s that… links to shop? Why yes, links to shop.
Enter: Pinterest eCommerce.
Using Pinterest to Drive Online Traffic
How does an eCommerce business use Pinterest to drive traffic to their online store?
Let’s go thru a basic series of steps that will help you make the most out Pinterest.
- Request an invitation from a friend who is a user or at www.Pinterest.com. You should receive your invite in a day or so but it’s important to note that at this time, you must have a Facebook or Twitter account to log-in to Pinterest. If you don’t have either, create one while you wait for the invite.
- Build content… Start pinning! Take time to set-up a few personal boards, even if you want to primarily focus pins towards your online business specialty. It’s important to have both personal and business pins as most people are on Pinterest for recreation and may not want to feel that they’re being sold something. Pinterest has a special area for gifts. Also, products that have a price in the description will automatically get a price label on them and be pinned in the gift section. That being said, I feel the power of a more subtle direct (using pinned interest links to direct consumers to your webpage) instead of a blatant sale attempt, is an important part in increasing online traffic to your site. This may change in time, but for now, creating both personal and business boards is probably your best bet.
- When you have content established, take time and go through your own website, pinning the best pictures and products for display to the Pinterest audience. Also, take the time to build content that will create an interest in your specialty. Remember, appearance means a lot here so take care in making your business and products look great! Don’t forget to label your pins and boards with catchy, relevant titles! When you pin, use key words, brand names, and thorough descriptions that will help your product to show at the top of search results.
- If possible, take a few minutes to pin in the morning, afternoon and evening so you can be interactive with different types of Pinterest users. Also, visit and ‘follow’ other boards as that sometimes leads to them following you back.
- Make sure you add a Pinterest ‘Pin It’ button on your website so that your personal visitors can pin any product that they happen to like. Some eCommerce shopping cart softwares have this feature built in already. Let your customers do the marketing for you while they’re bored and daydreaming away on their computers and smartphones!
So… what’s left to do? Get to pinning and provide a direct connect between millions of Pinterest users and your online store! Social media moves quickly so don’t miss out on this surefire way to direct eCommerce traffic to your site.