6 Tips for Using Pinterest to Promote Your Retail Business
If you're not aware of Pinterest, it's quite possible that you've been living under a virtual rock. In just four years, the image-sharing site has grown to become one of the biggest movers and shakers in the social media world. In 2012, comScore data revealed that Pinterest was the fastest stand-alone site to pass the 10 million unique monthly visitors mark in the U.S.
Pinterest's current monthly visitor total of more than 70 million worldwide might be small potatoes compared to Facebook's audience of over a billion, but Pinterest's unique visual slant has been proving valuable for retailers.
Online jewelry and accessories retailer Bottica, for example, recently conducted a study of its social media traffic and the results were surprising. It found that Pinterest had become its No. 1 social referrer, helping to generate nearly 10 percent of its sales, compared to 7 percent from Facebook. What's more, visitors to Bottica's website arriving from Pinterest spent over twice as much as those arriving from Facebook ($180 vs. $85). Eighty-six percent of visits driven by Pinterest were new visitors, compared to 57 percent driven by Facebook.
Bottica's experience certainly isn't unique. AddShoppers is a service that offers social media analytics and tools that enable retailers to add features such as social logins and social sharing buttons. It reported that Pinterest accounted for almost a quarter (24.3 percent) of all social network-driven transactions for its 10,000-plus retail clients in 2013. That was slightly more than Facebook (24.2 percent) and Twitter (20.9 percent), and way ahead of Google+ (6.6 percent). Email accounted for 19.2 percent and assorted other platforms made up the final 5 percent or so of revenue.
Despite this, many retailers have been slow to join Pinterest, while almost all have a presence on Facebook and Twitter. Jon West, CEO of AddShoppers, suggested that more retailers should be working out how to best use this visual discovery tool.
"Last year Pinterest passed the threshold of being something new and interesting to a tool that should be a mainstay in retailers’ marketing mixes," West said.
So how exactly can Pinterest help promote your retail business and how can you use it to its fullest potential? Consider these tips:
1. Optimize your profile. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and your "About" section is likely to be the first thing people look at when they land on your profile. With just 160 characters to make an impact, you need to be concise and sum up the most important points quickly. Use strong keywords while introducing your brand and explaining what it does. Try to convey your credibility/expertise in the areas you intend to pin about most. You should also make sure you add your location. Local search is getting more important and can help you reach prospects in your area.
2. Organize your boards. Give each board you create a short but catchy, descriptive and keyword-rich name. Make sure the name reads naturally, however. Visitors can skim your board titles quickly and easily, deciding which ones they want to take a closer look at or follow. You should also aim to keep your boards quite narrowly segmented. Instead of a single board for recipes, split them into further categories such as quick lunches, desserts, winter warmers, etc.
3. Add "Pin It" buttons. Social media integration is becoming increasingly important and "Pin It" is similar to a "Share" button. A "Pin It" button makes it easier for other people to pin your images. While you're at it, add a "Follow" button for your Pinterest profile at the same time.
4. Pin frequently. The more quality images you pin, the more likely you are to have people discover, like, follow or comment on your pins. Don't just stick to the hard sell by pinning your own products. Make boards on related areas that don't look like product catalogs; discover and repin images pinned by others. Images that are vertically aligned tend to get more repins and clicks than horizontal ones.
5. Be social and get involved. Pinterest is a social site, so comment (positively) and get involved with relevant communities. As far as your own customers are concerned, interact as often as you can. Consider organizing competitions or members-only boards as these often prove popular with online consumers.
6. Localize content. If you're targeting international audiences, it helps if you localize your content. Be aware of cultural differences and localize your keywords. The terms people use to search for the same thing and a straight dictionary translation won't always produce the most effective keywords. If you have the resources, brainstorm new keywords with a native-speaking translator and run them through the relevant keyword tools.