If you’re a retail brand seeking to boost your social media presence and online relevance, you need to optimize your sites for Pinterest users, invest in your own boards, and learn how to capitalize on the insights that Pinterest’s unique analytics offer about your products. Pinterest’s visual bookmarking platform will only continue to grow in influence as more people discover its unique capabilities for discovering products, styles, and ideas that are relevant to their lives.
It’s been two years since Pinterest became the social media to watch.
Based on the concept of a bulletin board, users, individuals, and companies “pin” images to themed “pinboards” they create, reflecting their own interests, personalities, and branding. Since then the visual bookmarking site has exploded fetching a recent valuation of $5 billion.
While Facebook continues to dominate the social media landscape, Pinterest’s unique visual bookmarking design and analytics create opportunities to boost your brand in ways Facebook can’t.
According to the 2014 Digital Marketer: Benchmark and Trend Report by Experian Marketing, Pinterest is the top social traffic driver to retail websites with 30 billion pins on 750 million boards. Twenty-three percent of users use it at least once a day, according to Digital Insights. That’s a lot of eyeballs.
As more people use social media as discovery platforms, some Internet-watchers think Pinterest could become a serious competitor to Google in searching for objects because people define what is relevant in a given search, rather than a computer algorithm. Search engines are great for answering specific questions. Pinterest helps with questions that have more than one right answer – and you will know you have found the right one when you see it.
Rather than an endless newsfeed of items your friends feel important, and attendant advertising, users can collect visual content and categorize it on their profiles. Content is then searchable, and can be re-shared and re-categorized, allowing for many variations on your theme reaching different niche populations.
Optimize Your Site For Pinterest
When optimizing your site for Pinterest, cover the basics like making content on your own site pin-worthy, integrating Pinterest into your marketing plan, and installing plugins and software to your website to make your products easy to pin.
- Promote your Pinterest presence on your website and in emails.
- Make sure customers can easily pin items from inside your site.
- Employ structured markup to take advantage of Rich Pins which allow product information such as price and stock-status to appear.
- Encourage community and interaction with contests and wish lists.
- Cross-promote with other social media and all touchpoints.
Next, create pin boards with categories relevant to your products, your brand, and the interests of your target customers.
Consider The Niche
According to RJMetrics, 92 percent of Pinterest users are female and the site has an unprecedented user-retention rate of 84 percent of users still active after four years. Social Media strategist Ekaterina Walter estimates women now account for 85 percent of all consumer purchases, so this is a segment you will want to invest in.
“Pinning says ‘I want this.’ It’s aspirational. People pin products they’d love to own, recipes they want to cook, and projects they want to tackle,” said Robert J. Moore of RJ Metrics.
Study the most popular categories and see how your brand fits. Look for ways to speak to the audience already engaged there. Lowe’s has taken advantage of the DIY and home-related interest in Pinterest boards to develop a following of almost 3.5 million people.
Build It And They Will Come
With Pinterest’s newly introduced Guided Search, descriptive guides will allow users to scroll through and tap any that look interesting to steer their search in the right direction. Now is the right time to create and beef up existing theme-based pin boards. You can develop a strong brand presence on Pinterest by featuring creative and useful concepts that relate the feeling you’re trying to create with your brand as well as the products themselves.
REI has a board called The Gearhead which features not only product but amazing places to use it with acknowledgements back to the original sources. This tagging helps to link back and create that all important social synergy of the likeminded.
Aspiration And Inspiration
Make your boards more than just a product catalog. You should repin content found on sites other than your own that your target audience would find interesting. This kind of attention to your customers will pay off in retention of engagement, building your brand’s image, and creating the community that social media sites are all about.
Consumers appreciate the highly personal and conversational nature of social media sites, and they prefer interacting in an open dialogue as opposed to receiving a hard sell. Pinterest can give you insight on where to focus your content and effort as well as how you might shift brand messaging as a whole.
“It gives you a real time snapshot into how are people perceiving our products, what other things do they think go with our products, And what does that tell us about how we should be thinking about messaging how we should be thinking about packaging and how we should be thinking about merchandising and its all in real time,” said Steve Patrizi, Pinterest Head of Partner Marketing.
Nordstrom, one of the most popular Pinterest retailers, with more than 4.4 million followers, features product images, how-to’s, trends, wedding ideas, travel images and catalog pre-releases among other topics. Their investment is deep and content prolific. They have several off-product boards that help serve to keep the Nordstrom name circulating the vast Pinterest universe with repins.
Title Nine, a clothier for women on the move, mixes product with off-product topic boards like Bookshelf and Difficult Women, to entertain their core customer base, as well as draw in those who would be aligned with their brand but may not know about them yet through repinning of this content.
Once a pin is created, users are free to repin content. Each time your brand’s content gets repinned, it is shown in the newsfeeds of all the Pinterest users who follow the user who repinned your pin.
MarketLive merchant Design Within Reach (DWR) created a retreat-themed board that features both great places to rejuvenate and products for sale that fit the category.
DWR has also created a category landing page, Backyard Escape 101, on their website for products featured on the Pinterest board that can help consumers create their own retreats. This is a great example of cross-selling and an ideal organic result of a Guided Search for “retreats.”
Be sure to link back to specific category or product pages from your Pins, not just the home page. Get customers as close to the purchase as you can.
Make the highly active niche Pinterest user, your evangelizer, and customer. Bring them content outside your usual brand promotion materials to help engage them in what your company is about. Then guide them through how your products can help them find the lifestyle they seek.
Do The Math
Many companies still aren’t tracking social media’s impact and that’s a shame because we’ve come a long way from advertising’s dark ages when the best we could hope for was to balance the algebra of the CPM with our marketing budgets and look for trends in the spreadsheets months forward. With Pinterest ROI doesn’t have to remain elusive. You are getting self-selected qualified buyers – they are already looking for what you are selling and you can measure how well you are doing at delivering in real time.
A handful of the metrics you can track are the most pinned items from your website, the most repinned, number of impressions, clicks, and total interactions.
Repins are important because you really see engagement. Look also at the board categories the people are pinning your pins into to get an idea of what is interesting them about your content. What else is in the categories or boards, how are they linked to the items around them?
“Every day, our customers are actively Pinning, saving and sharing the products they find most relevant in their lives…our customers are telling us, through their pins, which items are the most relevant and exciting,” said Bryan Galipeau, Nordstrom social media manager.
Nordstrom uses insight gained from Pinterest to inform merchandising in its pin boards, its own website and in stores. Now, all 117 Nordstrom stores feature Top Pinned signs on merchandise in women’s shoes and handbags, two of the most pinned categories from Nordstrom.com.
While there a number of third-party apps that can help you measure your Pinterest traffic as including ShareRoot, Curalate, and PinReach. Pinterest has listened to the buzz and is making improvements in the data provided in its native analytics tool.
You can see what people are pinning from your website and how they are categorizing your content. This can help inform your marketing campaigns and refine the way you merchandise.
In their updated tool, you also can see how your own branded boards and Pins from your Pinterest profile are performing. Which Pins and boards are driving the most impressions, clicks and repins? It’s being rolled out in phases, but you can get a preview at analytics.pinterest.com.
You can also experiment with creating pins with promo codes and pin-specific calls to action. You can also hook Pinterest up with your existing Google Analytics. Pinterest supports UTM variables, so you can get a view of your campaigns.
Has Pinterest helped generate sales for your brand? If you haven’t started on Pinterest yet, what’s holding you back? Share your thoughts in the comments.