With over 48 million users, Pinterest is one of the most popular social networks on the web and can be an excellent source of traffic and sales for online businesses that know how to use it effectively.
In fact recent surveys have shown that between Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, Pinterest is the network most likely to drive spontaneous online sales.
At its core, Pinterest is a community of users looking to find, share and save beautiful images that inspire them, give them ideas for crafts or meals, and help them discover products they want to buy.
As an online business owner, your job is figuring out how to contribute to the Pinterest community while also taking advantage of the potential traffic and sales it can bring to your website.
Let’s look at four ways online retailers can get people from pin to purchase.
1. Create Pins that Resonate
Before discussing how customers might come from Pinterest to your website ready to buy something from you, it makes sense to take a look at what makes a pin successful.
Creating pins that get likes, repins and clickthroughs is an art that takes a bit of practice, but there are some common strategies you can take advantage of to help ensure that your pins resonate.
First, try to pin professional looking, high quality photographs or collages – not stark, cookie cutter product photos against white backgrounds. As an example take a look at the Gap on Pinterest.
The Gap, which has over 40,000 followers at the time of writing, is certainly showing off its products, but there are relatively few images directly from the Gap’s ecommerce product pages, rather their boards are filled with images showing happy folks doing fun stuff while they happen to be wearing Gap clothing.
Specifically, see the Gap’s “Individuals of Style” board, with its black and white celebrity images, and the company’s “Styld.by You” board which features images of real gap customers wearing their clothes.
Collage pins that put together a collection of products can also be excellent for standing out to potential customers. American Eagle Outfitters puts this strategy to use well on some of their boards.
Another creative pin format that is gaining popularity is the “pinfographic”. This is a pin that combines a number of images or elements to create an instructional graphic explaining how to do something like a make a recipe, combine clothing options or assemble a craft.
Playfull Learning has a great one on “10 Ways to Beat Summer Boredom” that currently has 399 repins.
If you’re an online clothing retailer, you could create a ‘style guide’ pinfographic showing how to compose an outfit with your products.
Last but not least, when looking for images to pin, don’t be afraid to pin images from around the web that aren’t your own. Simply pinning your own product photos can get repetitive for your followers and it’s important to demonstrate you care more about creating a valuable experience for them than simply a promotional channel for yourself.
For further inspiration and pin ideas, here’s a list of all the top brands on pinterest. http://mashable.com/2013/05/08/pinterest-most-popular-brand-boards/
2. Focus on Getting Repins First
When it comes to making sales from Pinterest, it’s all about driving repins.
In fact recent research from the Harvard Business Review has shown that when it comes to sales via Pinterest, 19% of purchases were discovered through a friend, and 24% through a stranger, compared to just 7% being discovered on a retailer’s Pinterest board, and 10% through Pinterest search.
In other words, its not enough to just post photos to Pinterest, you need to make sure they are resonating and getting repinned. The strategies mentioned in the section above will help but you can increase your chances further by including pin buttons on your actual website.
Having someone repin something you posted to Pinterest is great but having them create the original pin is even better.
Girl Meets Dress does a good job of including pin buttons on all their product pages.
3. Follow Up and Connect With Repinners
According to the same Harvard study, more than 40% of Pinterest-inspired purchases are made within one week of pinning, and 80% are made within three weeks.
In other words, your best opportunity to proactively drive Pinterest sales is within one to three weeks after someone repins one of your products.
Start by heading over to your pinterest analytics and looking at your most recent pins by others.
With this information at hand, you have an opportunity to engage these people by thanking them for pinning your stuff or reaching out and offering to answer questions about your product.
This should help keep your brand top of mind in the time period they are most likely to buy from you.
4. Run Pinterest Promotions and Contests
One of the most effective ways to drum up interest for your brand and products on Pinterest is to run a contest.
These campaigns often ask pinners to post images of themselves with a product, using a product, or demonstrating some activity associated with a product.
As a specific example, JC Penny recent ran a Say Hello to My Dream Room” Pinterest contest that had folks pinning five JC Penny products to enter for a chance to win a $5,000 dream room make over.
But just like regular pins, your contest pins should be attractive and charming to make sure they get as many repins as possible.
For more information and examples of how to run an effective contest on Pinterest, don’t miss these resources:
There’s no one size fits all strategy for driving sales from Pinterest but the strategies above should put you on the right track to begin testing what works for your business and industry.