When Pinterest first arrived on the social media scene in 2010 I didn’t quite know what to do with the platform or how to respond to it. Yes, I liked the idea of pretty pictures but what exactly was the point? As I started to play around with the site’s functionality I began to create my own boards and started to group images together under certain themes. I have always loved the idea of a scrapbook and the fact that one can have numerous scrapbooks filled with images from certain events etc. A tangible scrapbook was an outlet for my creativity but it was also something that I showed to very few people.
In walk Pinterest – a digital and interactive version of the scrapbook. Pinterest allows you to share your pins and boards with the world and allow others to like, comment and even repin your images. At first, this concept was a little weird – having strangers from all over the world comment and like my own pins is a little odd. But as time went on I truly began to enjoy the interaction I received from others and I have come to know a few of the pinners who regularly pin similar stuff to me and who often repin my content too.
Slowly the idea of using Pinterest not only in my personal capacity but also for ecommerce emerged and I began to realize the many opportunities. Pinterest is fantastic for ecommerce stores especially if you have a predominantly female target market, have beautiful images that you own the copyright to and if you have the time and dedication needed to spend a few minutes a day on this platform.
How to Use Pinterest for Ecommerce
1. Set up a Pinterest profile – make sure it’s a business account that links to your ecommerce homepage. Fill out the profile accordingly and add your business logo as a profile picture.
2. Plan what kinds of ‘boards’ or groupings of products you want to include on your profile. If you are a fashion ecommerce store, will you have different boards dedicated to different items of clothing or will you have boards pertaining to different fashion trends or current styles that are popular? The sky is really the limit when it comes to your boards on Pinterest. Just make sure your boards relate to your product.
3. Next you’ll need to pin images to each board. At the top right-hand corner of Pinterest you’ll see it says ‘Add+’. Click this and then you are provided with three options:
- Add a pin
- Upload a pin
- Create a board
If you haven’t created any boards yet then you’ll need to start here and add boards before you can add pins to each board. ‘Upload a Pin’ is a good option to choose if you have the actual original image of the product (and copyright is yours of course). Whereas ‘Add a Pin’ simply pulls images from a particular URL on your ecommerce site (great if you don’t have the original images but the copyright is still yours – this is also a faster option than uploading the image directly).
4. If you’re uploading a pin from your computer choose ‘Upload a Pin’ and select the file you want to upload. Then choose the board you want this photo to appear on. Next, add a description of the image. At this point Pinterest doesn’t allow you to add a URL to the image (linking back to your site). So once you’ve uploaded the image you’ll see an ‘edit’ button should appear towards the top of your uploaded image. Click it and you’ll then see a field whereby you can enter the required URL.
We suggest you direct users to the exact page as depicted by the block of text and the image. This is great because if for example you want people to buy a certain pair of shoes you can simply link that image of the pair of shoes directly to the page on your site where those shoes appear and then the user can shop away! Take note that if your products change or if you take down this product from your store, ensure you have redirected that page /URL to say a general page on shoes so people will still be able to find more or less what they are looking for.
5. Use the text box wisely – try and write a few persuasive sentences that really compel pinners to respond to the image. Rather have a maximum of 3 sentences – the focus should be on the image either way. You can also share your uploaded pins to Twitter with ease – but be careful how you do this, as you don’t want to overwhelm Twitter users either. If you chose to do this (every now and then let’s say), you can use hashtags in the copy you include accompanying the image.
You can also easily add a price tag (on the corner of each image by simply adding the Dollar sign ($) with the amount of the product to the text box. However, if you’re not based in the US then you would have to convert the price and mention on your Pinterest profile that the prices are estimates according to the current exchange rate – hence this could be quite tricky if you are based elsewhere. The really cool thing about adding the price though is that Pinterest automatically adds your product to the given price category on the site therefore giving your product a much greater reach on Pinterest.
6. Powerful images – basic product shots can be a tad bit boring so where possible, use powerful, moving and beautiful images that are not solely about the item you are trying to sell but that are more about the entire experience of wearing the garment or item. These sorts of images do very well on Pinterest as users want to see other people wearing the product or interacting with it before they are compelled to purchase.
7. The image debate – a combination of product images together with natural shots of people wearing the items work best. Try and obtain a balance when it comes to pinning. Also ensure that if you are repining other peoples’ images that you give credit to the owner of those images. This can be done by mentioning the name of the owner in the text box and also by including a URL that directly links to the origin of the photo/where you found it.
8. Comment and Interact – Pinterest shouldn’t be a platform whereby you only add pretty pictures that link back to your site. You want to gain a following of likeminded people and encourage them to pin as well. If someone ‘repins’ one of your images, thank them in the comment section. You can see all your activity and ‘repins’ if you click on the big red ‘Pinterest’ logo at the top of the page. Your activity or feed will appear on the left-hand side.
9. Guest boards – this is a really great feature that allows users to collaborate on a board on your profile. Add a little blurb or description which lets people know how they can become a pinner on that board and who they need to contact in order to do so. This can be a tricky process as you don’t want your guest pinners pinning any old thing onto the given board. You obviously want a certain style and look and feel. Consider how you will convey this to those interested (there should also be a reward in it for them!). You could perhaps create some guidelines for the guest pinners and host a competition to encourage pinners.
For example, you could have a guest board that pins celebrity fashion and source pinners who love pinning images of celebrities in beautiful outfits. How do I source pinners? Well to start with you may want to see who those pinners are who keep repining your content – these are the ones who are likely to be most passionate about what you are doing. Approach them in a comment and ask whether they would be interested to join and collaborate on the guest board. Another way to approach pinners is to post a kind of advert on your Facebook page, Twitter profile and on other social media pages that encourages the pinners out there to join in on this opportunity. You can also send out a mailer requesting pinners to join.
15. Key words – basic keyword research will also help reveal the kinds of words and phrases you should be using in the text block when you upload a pin. Try to use these keywords naturally and also sprinkle them into your persuasive sentences and the profile blurb where possible.
16. Secret boards – secret boards are great for creating boards that no one can see and then releasing them into the public sphere as necessary.
17. Host Pinterest competitions – give a shopping voucher to those who pin the most beautiful images under a certain theme. There are many ideas for competitions out there you just need a little bit of creativity.
18. Add Pinterest widgets to your website so users know that they can engage with you on this platform.
19. Try a multimedia approach – Pinterest is great for also pinning how-to tips and people pin this sort of thing willingly and quickly. The platform is also great for pinning videos and you could even have a whole board dedicated to videos that align themselves with your store.
20. Pinterest Tools - Lastly, there is no point doing all of the above without considering the result and the analytics behind it all. You need to know how and where you can improve your Pinterest page and you also need to see the number of views you are obtaining both on your Pinterest page and also on your homepage as directed from Pinterest itself.
21. Here are some great Pinterest tools to help you along the way:
Reachli (formerly Pinerly)
Share As Image (formely Pin a Quote)
How have you been using Pinterest for business or for your ecommerce store? We’re curious to know! Share your ideas with us in the comments below.
Photo credit: Methodshop