Many marketers have heard of Pinterest, but despite this, most brands have yet to hop on the hottest new social network. In this article, we’ll look at why Pinterest is important to brands and provide seven simple steps for leveraging brand presence on Pinterest.
Pinterest has quickly become one of the top five referring traffic sources for several apparel retailers. A study by Shareaholic in January showed that Pinterest drove only a fraction less referral traffic than both Twitter and Google, and more than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined.
Despite the powerful numbers, most brands and merchandisers are not present on Pinterest. There’s no DKNY, Macy’s, Walmart, Target, etc.
For those brands looking to develop a Pinterest presence, try these seven simple steps.
1. Reserve Your Space
Just like you would reserve a Twitter handle for your brand, secure a Pinterest user name. Some Pinterest members are already using brand names and logos for which they have no affiliation.
Some brands have jumped in to reserve their spaces without yet posting any content, including Karen Millen and Diane von Furstenberg. Registration only takes just a minute; plus you can use the graphics and profile information from your existing Twitter or Facebook page.
2. Leverage Your Brand Values
Think color, style and brand values. You’ve already invested in expensive photography to showcase your products. This is where you can leverage that investment and bring your brand alive.
Pinterest allows you to display big, high-quality images, like this full-page Nordstrom image. Don’t limit your pins to straight product shots, but leverage your entire catalog of photography.
3. Themes, Not Product Promotion
Pinterest is centered around interests, like weddings, baby showers, home décor, gifts, recipes, color, etc. Leverage these themes by creating mood boards relevant to your brand and its latest styles. These mood boards should convey a consistent image, not be a simple look book of your products. Scatter your products throughout the board, but be careful to make sure that you are also mixing external content which echoes your product themes.
For example, West Elm built an “aquamarine” mood board. There are only three West Elm products on this page; the others are images from around the web, each of which expands on the theme.
4. Include Prices
Prices help customers to identify particular items for sale. For example, Gap included a price banner by typing the dollar value in the pin description. Remember, however, to make price changes when items go on sale.
5. Use Hashtags
Many people are unaware that Pinterest supports hashtags, similar to Twitter. Because of the theme nature of Pinterest, hashtags can offer organization support. For example, tagging each of the pinned photographs “#aquamarine” increases the chances that the West Elm mood board be found in search. As Pinterest grows, this will become increasingly important.
Moreover, the sharing tools built into Pinterest will automatically pick up your hashtags, so when your pins are shared or repinned, they’ll carry your hashtags with them.
6. Add the “Pin It” Button
Add the Pinterest “Pin It” button to your ecommerce site, right next to your Facebook Like button. This makes it easy for your website visitors to add images from your product pages directly to their boards.
7. Engage with the Community
Like all other social networks, you need to listen and engage, not simply broadcast your message. Try allowing members of the community to post to your boards, but be sure to monitor activity for appropriate content. When users upload their own pins to your boards, your themed boards will grow and you’ll quickly become part of the community fabric.
8. A Word of Caution
When you are pinning your brand’s photographs, it’s clear you are not infringing anyone else’s copyright — they are your images. But when you add images from across the web, you don’t own that content. And as a brand, you are using it for commercial purposes. This is a legal gray area, and should be reviewed with your in-house counsel.
Do you think brands should jump on the Pinterest bandwagon, or wait to find out whether the social network makes it big? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Charles Nicholls is an expert in ecommerce, web analytics, social media marketing and online buyer behavior. He is also founder and chief strategy officer at shopping cart recovery company SeeWhy. You can follow Charles on Twitter @webconversion and read his blog.