Ecommerce Interest in Pinterest
The new social media craze, Pinterest, a site that allows users to share images and webpages by “pinning” them to their pinboards, is starting to take the online world by storm. After its beta launch in March of 2010, Pinterest continues to attract millions of unique visitors to the site every month, and even posted nearly 12 million unique visitors in January alone. More importantly, according to Mashable.com, users on average are spending more time on Pinterest than Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn combined. So what does all of this user interest mean to ecommerce stores? It means that Pinterest is providing ecommerce stores with a new way to interact with consumers and create buzz for their brands.
Why should I be Pinterested?
Pinterest is one of the few social media outlets that make it very easy for retailers to connect with consumers. By establishing your brand on Pinterest fans are able to easily follow you and comment on the images that you’ve pinned. In addition, Pinterest allows you to follow fans of your brand was well as other trendsetters that are in your target audience. By viewing pinboards of the people who are following a brand, retailers can easily see what their audience is interested in, and what issues they care about. Furthermore, as mentioned on Monetate.com, Pinterest is now driving more customers to ecommerce sites than Google plus.
Marketing on Pinterest
Because Pinterest offers retailers the ability to instantly attract consumers within their niche market, it has proven to be an effective marketing outlet for some retailers. Some examples of retailers and brands who have taken advantage of this new social media space are Gap, Land’s End, HGTV, GE, and Martha Stewart just to name a few. Land’s End in particular went above and beyond just pinning images to their board by creating a promotional campaign that allowed fans and followers to win products by pinning Land’s End products on the company’s board.
Despite the ease of attracting customers to your brand by adding promotions through Pinterest, retailers have found that the best way to attract customers and keep them interested is to make your brand seem more like an average user. Lauren Indvik points out in an article that Whole Foods is a great example of this concept.
“The pins tend to relate to Whole Foods’ core values — natural, sustainable, organic, etc. — but the content isn’t promotional, and it doesn’t necessarily point back to the grocer’s site. Much of its content is culled from interesting blogs and other third-party resources, making Whole Foods a resource for upcycling advice, DIY projects, recipes and more. People need no other incentive to follow the brand.”
In another article, Artemis Berry of Shop.org also writes, “Think of complimentary products or design inspiration, repinning from other pinboards and brand followers, and create multiple pinboards to cover different topics, interests, products, and inspirations.” By posting content that embodies your brand and your audience’s culture, your brand becomes more transparent, and customers with similar interests will naturally gravitate towards your products.
How should I get started?
Artemis also mentions in her article that there are 4 questions that every retailer should keep in mind when deciding whether or to market on Pinterest.
- Are we selling products worth sharing? Do we make it easy to share products on sites like Pinterest?
- Do we have complimentary content like design or decorating tips, fashion inspiration, and/or recipes if we sell products that complement those products categories?
- Do we know what our customers like to share online?
- And most importantly, are we listening - and eventually responding – to customers who post about our products?
While most of Artemis’ points are key things to discuss prior to making an account, I believe that her second point is a little safe. I’m not disputing the fact that fashion, cooking, and home improvement brands tent to be pronounced on Pinterest, I’m saying that a company can still do well on Pinterest even if they don’t fall into one of these three categories. Mashable, for example, is in the list of top brands being followed on Pinterest and the only thing they sell is ad space.
This isn’t to say that every site should have a Pinterest account. Because Pinterest is a visually based site, having products that are visually based does help to attract followers, but providing users with other reasons to pin things on your pinboards can be just as effective. GE has acquired followers by having interactive pinboards, such as their popular GEInspiredMe and That’s Genius! pinboards, where followers can post photos of inspirational and innovative ideas.
Overall, Pinterest can become a social media go-to for some online retailers, especially retailers who sell to specific niche markets. If used correctly, it is a great way to communicate with current customers as well as introduce new customers to your products and your brand.