How small business ecommerce can use Pinterest to drive online sales

PinterestWith its focus on the visual and inspirational, it’s no wonder that Pinterest attracts an audience of active users who like to shop online. A successful presence on Pinterest can help drive traffic to your small business website and increase your online sales.

With 72.8 million users Pinterest continues to grow at an impressive rate. Indeed its user base grew 25% between March 2014 and March 2015. One of the best things about Pinterest is its audience of savvy shoppers.  Research shows that;

To ensure you are doing all you can to maximise your small businesses presence on Pinterest, we take a look at a few tips to help you tap into all that this great visual platform has to offer.

Getting the basics right

Before going into more detail about managing your ongoing Pinterest presence, it is important to get off to the right start. Even if you have been up and running for a while there is no harm in going to back to revisit the basics to see if anything needs improving or amending.

The best place to start is Pinterest for Business itself. It will guide you step-by-step guide through setting up your business account, verifying your website, adding the Pin It button and creating pins and boards.

Profile. Make sure you complete your business profile and include your logo. Your profile page is where your boards and pins are kept. Your bio should be a snapshot of your business, who you are and what your business stands for. Don’t forget to include your website address. To humanise you business a bit more try creating a separate ‘about us’ board, giving a behind the scenes look at your business and staff. notonthehighstreet.com has a whole board dedicated to their craft sellers.

 

pinterest behind the scenes board

Boards. Categorise your pins into separate themed boards and give each board a specific title and a strong cover images. Don’t go mad at the beginning creating loads of different boards. It is better to start with a few, easily manageable boards until you get going. When starting a new board try to putting a number of pins up right at the start so that your board doesn’t look empty. An empty board is unlikely to inspire someone to revisit.

Showcasing your products

The first rule. As with any social media platform try not to overly promote your products. There is nothing more off-putting than blatant self promotion. Your aim should be to have a balance of content that taps into the lifestyle and interest of your target market.

Inspiring images.  Think more about how you can best set the stage for your products. Rather than using standard, run of the mill stock product photos, think about how you can create inspiring, beautiful images of your products.  Try photographing them  in real life situations and settings.  Take a look at jewellery retailer Stella & Dot’s Pinterest boards. The images are bright, colourful and inspiring.  Each of their boards have specific titles and a great cover image with the titles overlain (you can create just such cover images on Canva ). Don’t forget Pinterest is a visual medium so video can work extremely well too.

Pinterest for small businesses

Rich pins. To get the most out of selling your products online it is worth getting aboard with Rich Pins. These are specific tools to help you sell on Pinterest  by offering extra information about your product – making it easier for customers to purchase from you. As a small business the Product Pin is the most important Rich pin. Popular amongst Pinners, over 2 million save product pins to their boards every day. Appearing on your pin the product pin show realtime information about that product including pricing, availability and links straight through  to your purchase page. For further information checkout Pinterest Rich Pins.

Pinterest rich pins

It’s about lifestyle

To get the most out of Pinterest, you need to take a broader approach to content – think a bit outside the box considering the wider lifestyle and interests of your target market. Take a look at what other businesses in your industry are doing on their boards. What are the wider industry trends in your business? Create boards about what is on trending now or next season. Such as this ‘Trending Watch: Neon’ board from notonthehighstreet.com.

pinterest trend board

 

 

Womens sportswear retailer Sweaty Betty do lifestyle brilliantly on Pinterest. In addition to their lively and interesting product boards they have a huge variety of lifestyle oriented boards to appeal to their target market including Beauty Tips, Gym Hair, Healthy Selfies, Best Pools in the World, Guide to favourite places, Quotations and Mantras and Food & Drink. For a bit on inspiration take a moment check out Sweaty Betty’s Pinterest page.

Sweaty Betty Pinterest

 

Drive traffic back to your website

Of course driving potential customers back to your website is key to increasing your online sales. In addition to your great product boards, also include some other content to interest your audience.

Blogs. Have a board dedicated to your blog posts (I’m sure most of you have realised the benefits a blog can bring to your business by now!). This not only provides some great content for your audience, it also leads them onto your website. Here’s an example of ShopIntegrator’s own small business blog board.

pinterest blog board

 

Special offers. Special offers and discount codes are another good way to entice an audience back to your site and give a boost to your sales. Make it exclusive to Pinterest and don’t forget to promote your offer on your email newsletter.

Special seasonal boards: Creating fun and inspirational boards around seasonal gift ideas is a great way to grab attention from pinners and get them to click-through to your website. Gift company notonthehighstreet.com creates great boards at key seasonal periods – packed full of gift ideas for their customers.

 

notonthehighstreet pinterest christmas board

 

Learn as you go

Time is precious for small businesses owners so it is essential that the effort and time you are putting into social media is achieving results. It is important therefore to keep on track of how you are performing. Understanding what is working and what needs improving upon is essential to ensure a successful presence.

Pinterest Analytics: Once you’ve set up your business account you can access Pinterest Analytics. This way you can measure how your profile page is performing. Pinterest Analytics will show what pins and boards people like most from your page; including number of impressions, repins, and click-throughs. You can also learn about your audience demographics, their interests and other brands your audience engage with.

Check out other profile boards: Keep an eye on what competitors and other businesses within your industry  are doing so you don’t miss out on any opportunities or forthcoming trends. Pinterest has a page of case studies of business who have achieved real success with their presence. For some inspiration and ideas on how to take your business forward take a moment to check some of Pinterest’s success stories.

Engage with your audience: Social media is all about engaging with your audience. So don’t be afraid of asking their opinion – what are their interests, what would they like to see you pinning? Contests are a great way to engage with your audience and find out more about their interests. Try running a competition for new board ideas or themes or ask them to create a board using your products from your website.

pinterest contest

 

Most of all have fun with Pinterest. It’s a great platform for you to get creative with inspiring imagery and interesting content. We’d love to hear your ideas and experiences using Pinterest for your business, so please do leave a comment.

 

 

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How to get more from Pinterest with 5 great tips for small businesses.

PinterestThe last few years have seen our fascination with all things visual significantly grow. We can see this reflected in the rise of visual platforms like Pinterest and Instagram who steadily continue to gain social media market share.  With this in mind we take a closer look at Pinterest and how small businesses can make more of their presence.

Pinterest can be described as a visual online scrapbook. Users create and share images they find interesting (called pins); organising them into collections called boards. With over 70 million registered users and 3472 images pinned every minute, Pinterest can be an excellent social media platform for small businesses.  Pins usually link back to the website they originated so it can be a great way for you to share your content and drive traffic.

 5 tops tips to get Pinterest to work for your business

getting started on pinterest1. Make a good start

Before you launch headlong into Pinterest take a step back and think about your objectives, your audience and the kind of presence you’d like to have. Familiarise yourself with Pinterest by exploring what other businesses, both in and out of your industry, are doing to maximise their presence. For inspiration checkout some of the examples Pinterest showcases.

Once you’ve created your business account and verified your website you can set up your profile. Use a recognisable image such as your logo and a clear and interesting description of your brand and what it aspires to. You can then start planning your boards. Categorise your boards into subject areas – be creative and think of relevant, inspiring subjects that will be off interest to your target audience. If you’re a bit stuck for ideas then an easy board for businesses to start with is a blog board. If you have a blog then you have ready-made, shareable content that links back to your site.

Then it’s all about making the most of your Pins. 

“As a rule of thumb,  try to make sure all of your Pins are beautiful, actionable and interesting. Pinterest

  • Add the Pin-it button to your website to make it easy for people to pin content from your website.
  • Every time you create a pin include a useful description of what you are pinning and a link back to where it originates.
  • Where appropriate think about using Rich Pins such as Product Pins. These allows you to add in more useful information such as where to purchase (for example your website), real-time pricing and availability. These details will stay on the pin even when it is repined.  2 million Pinterest users save product pins to their boards daily so it’s worth doing.

Make the most of the advice Pinterest offers businesses. It has some excellent case studies, blog articles and How to guides. All of which are great resources to get you off to a flying start.

use colourful images on Pinterest2. Focus on the visual

Pinterest is all about the visual. So try to use colourful, interesting and inspiring images as much as possible. Avoid seen before, run-of the mill stock photos.

There are plenty of websites available for you to source interesting images without breaking the bank. For example, Shutterstock, iStockphoto, FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Dreamstime all offer excellent images at reasonable prices. Free images are also available but do check that they are in the public domain and cleared for commercial use as many free images will need an attribution. Pixabay is a great source of free images that are in the public domain and don’t require an attribution.

Try using original photography. This is a great way to showcase your products in interesting, real life situations. It will have a greater impact than bog-standard product shots.

Pinterest recommends the following tips for your images:

  • Use quality images with a high-resolution.
  • Images at least 600 pixels wide work best on Pinterest ( the minimum image size is 100 x 200 pixels)
  • Vertical images work better on mobile screens. Remember 75% of Pinterest usage takes place on mobile devices so it’s worth bearing in mind when you are composing your pins.
  • Keep to a maximum of 4 images in any one pin.

Don’t forget about video. With 8333 videos shared every minute across social media, video is a great way to encourage sharing. Pinning a video is simple. For example if you’ve uploaded your video on YouTube, go to Share and use the ‘Pin It’ button to share it on one of your Pinterest boards. Remember to include an eye-catching image and a relevant description.

Content Image3. Mix up your content

Try and make your content interesting with a number of varied subject boards. Approach your content from the point of view of the customer not your sales manager. Rather than just pushing your product and services think creatively about the different things that might be of  interest to or help your customers. What might encourage them to repin your pin? If you’re a bit stuck for ideas maybe test drive something from the list below that you can adapt for your industry:

  • Pin links to your blog posts
  • Have a product showcase board
  • Latest trends / seasonal trend boards
  • Competitions
  • Behind the scenes peek at your business
  • Meet the team
  • Charitable work / charitable partners boards
  • How to videos
  • Infographics
  • Coming soon sneak previews
  • Client / customer showcase boards
  • Interesting industry news

Of course these are just a few ideas – once you start pinning regularly you’ll find all sorts of ways to create engaging content.

pinterest4. Get involved – be an active Pinner

As with all social media, active participation is important. The more of you put in the more you are going to get out of it. With Pinterest you are trying to connect with your audience through their interests and lifestyle.

  • Be active by pinning regularly. Pinterest suggest trying to Pin once a day.
  • Follow other Pinner’s boards.
  • Repin, like and comment on interesting pins – especially those that are relevant to your industry and likely to be of interest to your audience.
  • Be friendly and welcoming it is your opportunity to bring personality to your brand.

pinterest analytics5. Measure your performance

To get the most from any social media platform you need to be an active participant, this of course takes up valuable time. Therefore it makes sense that the better idea you have of your Pinterest performance, the smarter you can be in channelling your time and effort into the right places.

Use Pinterest’s analytics tool to get a better picture of what content is working for you and what content is having little impact.

  • Pin performance: Identify your tops pins. Which have the most impressions, repins and click-throughs? Which of your boards are the most popular?
  • Your audience. Who is looking at your pins and who has actively liked, repined or click-through a pin. It will give you an overview of your audience’s demographics, who they follow and their interests.
  • Website content. If you’ve verified your website you can see how the content of your website is performing on Pinterest – these are all the pins that link back to your site.
  • For more information take a look at Pinterest Analytics guide.

These are just a few tips to help you optimise your presence on Pinterest. As we mentioned earlier in the article don’t forget to check out some of the resources Pinterest offers small businesses – there is plenty of help and advice to get you off to a great start.

Finally, don’t forget to support and promote your Pinterest activity on all your other social media platforms and in email communications. A coherent, integrated approach to all your marketing channels will produce the best results. 

 We’d love to hear your thoughts and experience of using Pinterest, so please do leave a comment.

 

 

 

 

Marketing for small business: Getting started with Pinterest

The Pinterest PhenomenonPinterest logo

For the last year or two, this social media phenomenon has been the buzz word on every marketer’s lips. It is already massive in the US and looks like set to take the UK and Europe by storm as well. So as a small business what does Pinterest mean for you? Should you be including it in your social media portfolio?

Impressive Pinterest Statistics

There is no doubt that Pinterest has seen meteoric growth since it launched in 2009. Here are a few statistics to give you a feel for the sort of growth it has experienced in the US  – a trend we are likely to see replicated in the UK:

Push pinSo what is Pinterest all about?

“Pinterest helps people collect and organize the things they love” Pinterest

The easiest way to think about Pinterest is as a sort of social media pin board or scrapbook.  People share their interests by ‘pinning’ them to ‘boards’. It is a social media platform with a strong emphasis on the visual and people connect to each other through feeds and by following boards that has content they find interesting.

Pinterest explains the ‘Pin Cycle’ as follows:

Pin

For example, lets say an unusual piece of jewellery on a website catches the eye of someone on Pinterest. The pinner pins the image onto their ‘unique accessories’ board

Repin

A follower of the pinner likes the pin and repins the jewellery onto their ‘stylish jewellery’ board.

 Discovery

Someone browsing their feed or searching for ‘stylish jewellery’ or ‘unique accessories’ will find the pin for the unusual piece of jewellery

Click through

As more people discover and repin, the more people click-through to the source of the pin – the original website

Benefits for small businesses

As we mentioned at the start of this post, statistics indicate that Pinterest is growing and is likely to be here to stay as a social media platform, so there is value to getting on-board. If you are concerned about time and resources, then perhaps a good starting point is to think about how easily you business lends itself to Pinterest.

If  you are in retail – particularly B2C you’ll probably find Pinterest is an easy step to make without too much effort. B2B can work well but it may require a little more creative thinking at the start. For example, if you are already generating content in the form of say a blog or video then these can work really well. In fact here at ShopIntegrator our first board was our Small Business Blog as it was an easy first step into Pinterest for us.

If you are able to commit some time to Pinterest then it offers an additional opportunity to engage with and learn about your customers. It also provides a good way to help build your brand and develop your brand’s personality.

A few useful tips for getting started

1. Get a feel for Pinterest

Before you dive in setting up your own presence, spend a bit of time getting a feel for how Pinterest works. What are other businesses doing? This way you’ll get an idea for what works and what makes a  pin popular (how many times a pin has been re-pinned is a good measure of popularity). Check out  your competitors and those businesses in a similar market that are popular and have a good following. Pinterest also has some interesting  case studies that are worth looking at for some inspiration.

2. Think about your target market

You should be thinking about your target market when you start creating your presence.  What are your customers likely to be interested in? If you sell kitchenware for example, you’d expect your audience to be interested in cooking and food so your pins could include recipes, seasonal produce and new food trends. Make yourself a bit of an expert in the areas associated with your industry or market. Look at your customers own pinboards – what are they pinning and who are they following. This will give you an insight into what it is your target market is likely to value and find interesting.

3. Create and organise boards

Once you have got a feel for who it is you are pinning and creating boards for, you can get started on generating ideas. There are all sorts of popular boards that you can create in addition to product boards. Here are some popular boards that could help get you started: client showcase boards (showcase your customers latest products), fan boards (customers can pin images to a board that show your brand off in real life environments) employee recommendation boards (get your employees to set up their own boards perhaps with employee recommendations or top tips)  how to boards (give your customers ideas and tips for using and getting the most out of your products), blog boards, seasonal boards and contest boards. Pinterest is a great way to get creative.

4. Follow other boards and repin

Like any social media Pinterest is all about interacting and engaging with the community – your customers. So, to make the most out of your presence be active – follow other people’s boards, repin, like and comment on pins that relate to your business area.

5. Promote your Pinterest presence

Promote your Pinterest presence on your website and emails by adding the Pinterest button. Don’t forget you can also use your other social media to help promote your boards.

Useful resources from Pinterest

The great thing about getting started with Pinterest is that it is all pretty straightforward to set up and use – we’ve put some useful support links from Pinterest below that will help you make the most of your Pinterest presence:

Pinterest Set up: http://uk.business.pinterest.com/setup/

Guides: Pinterest guide for Business http://business.pinterest.com/best-practices/

Useful Tools: Pinterest analytics, Pin It Button, rich text pins http://uk.business.pinterest.com/rich-pins/

Pinterest Business Blog:  http://businessblog.pinterest.com/

Happy pinning!

Image: Single pin image courtesy of  Master isolated images, freedigitalphotos.net
 

We would love to hear your own experiences and thoughts on this post, so please do leave a comment