Should Your Business be on Pinterest?

Pinterest has captured the interest of crafters, designers, fashion seekers, artists, foodies and hobbyists of all types the world over — and that’s just to name a few! Although it’s only been around since March 2010, the research firm comScore estimates Pinterest’s audience was already around 23.4 million as of July 2012. No site had ever grown to that size so quickly — even Facebook (eMarketer).

Is Pinterest hype or happening for businesses?

It is likely a little bit of both. It’s true some marketers and business owners still start to salivate wildly whenever they see a social site rise to a staggering number of users. But early lessons in social media have taught us that users, followers or fans alone will not necessarily equate to sales.

As a business with limited time and resources how do you decide if you should start pinning? Should you sit back and wait until Pinterest is proven, or jump today before the competition is firmly in place?  Of course the answer to this question depends your business and your circumstances. Questions must be asked such as:

  • What resources do you have to maintain Pinterest?
  • Do you have an image-friendly product or can you get creative?
  • Do you understand how to connect with the Pinterest audience, or are you willing to spend the time to learn?
  • Do you know how you will convert your Pinterest audience to paying customers?
  • Are you ready for Pinterest purchasers when they arrive at your door?

If you’re still getting acquainted with the newest kid on the social media block, you might want to take a quick look at the infographic from Infographic Labs at the bottom of this post “What is Pinterest” before moving forward.

 

Pinterest pin

 

To Pin or Not to Pin

1. What resources do you have to maintain Pinterest?
Before you decide to start pinning, make sure you have the time and resources you need to maintain your account. First do you have the people power to create, pin, share and strategize? Pinning is all about the look and connecting to what your audience wants/needs/desires.  Problem solving  and creativity as well as with having one finger on the pulse of your audience are all essential traits your community manager or Pinterest Queen (or King) must have.

 

2. Do you have an image-friendly product or can you get creative?
Some products just don’t naturally lend themselves to beautiful imagery and services can be a whole different story. The first question you should ask yourself isn’t whether or not you can “beautify” your product, but whether or not the Pinterest community is your target audience. If your looking for 80% women ages 25 to 45 you need to find a way to creatively connect on Pinterest.

Can’t think of ideas? Consider how your product is used. Can you illustrate a “how to” using your product? The Pinterest community loves  do it yourself and “how to” advice. Just don’t forget to review #4 and #5 in our list to be sure you are converting those browsers into buyers AND your ready once they come.

 

3. Do you understand how to connect with the Pinterest audience, or are you willing to spend the time to learn?
In some ways Pinterest is the perfect marketer. Pinned images promote a lifestyle, an ideal, maybe even a dream. I love the way Olivia Roat explains it in her post, 4 Brands Defying Pinterest Stereotypes to Their Advantage.

“Repinning images of things like food, fashion, furniture, and fitness workouts, users curate content on boards that have a certain charming idealism and fantasy element about them: recipes we’d like to cook, homes we’d like to have, clothes we wish resided in our closets…”

But isn’t this what marketing is, putting the ideal out there so you want it? Once you’ve connected with them on an emotional level, how do you move them from “want” to “buy”? Question number four gives ideas on how to bridge this gap.

 

4. Do you know how to convert your Pinterest audience to paying customers? 
Don’t be fooled. Pinterest users are shoppers. BizRate’s recent insights survey shows 70% of Pinterest users engage with the tool because it inspires them on what to buy. But how do you turn window shoppers into buyers? The answer is essentially the same whether we are talking about Pinterest or any other online marketing tool. Here are 3 quick tips:

  • Relationships matter – every touch point is a relationship builder or detractor. Make sure you are being helpful, authentic and not acting like the over zealous sales clerk. This applies to ALL your social media sites. Never forget who matters most (hint it’s not you, your brand or your product).
  • Make it easy – connect the idea, inspiration, or product to how to purchase or recreate the image. There are so many lost opportunities on Pinterest because the image goes to a random blog site, or even worse, nowhere, without any message on how to buy the unique tools, ingredients or products needed to recreate the inspiring image.

Michaels craft store has the right idea. They know their audience pins their craft ideas, they make it easy and they include all the supplies to make the craft. What they forgot to do is connect the craft supplies to the buy now page. I got to Michaels’ website from a pinned image. Notice in the screenshot of Michaels’ site that they encourage users to pin, they have instructions on how to create the look and they have a list of materials. What they are missing is a link from the materials to their online store. Now that would be SALES!

michaels-crafts-pinterest-missed-opportunity

 

  • Build loyalty. Know your Pinterest power users. A little research can go a long way. Power users pin your images and buy your products. Reward your power users. A personalized thank you, following their boards and repinning, maybe even a special deal.  Just remember what well-known blogger Mack Collier says about loyalty, “Loyalty is built by saying ‘Thank you!’ for existing behavior, not by offering coupons as incentives for new behavior.”

 

5. Are you ready for Pinterest purchasers when they arrive at your door?
You did it! You have inspiring images that make people want to buy your products and now they are coming to your store to buy. Are you ready? Apparently surlatable.com wasn’t ready when people began pinning their ingenious multi-tier oven rack. The rack, although on the website, was not available for purchase – out of stock with no alternative in sight.

Be ready and know what’s being shared from your site. To find out what people are sharing from your site type in: http://pinterest.com/source/Website URL HERE/. For example, http://pinterest.com/source/surlatable.com/ reveals the image of the multi-tier oven rack and those who pinned.

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The bottom line, if you’re target market is on Pinterest, you probably should be there too. Build your resources so you can support creative development and strategy. Keep on top of the latest trends, tools and techniques being used on Pinterest. And always be ready for buyers!

Pinterest infographic

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About Karin Khuhro

Karin Khuhro is a Digital Marketing Strategist, Speaker and Copywriter. As the owner of Strategy E-ssentials she works with other savvy marketers, digital specialists and business leaders to bring knowledge, know-how and solutions to small and medium sized businesses. Connect with Karin on Google+ or Linkedin.