When Pinterest first launched, everyone was confused. Was this new platform going to be more of a personal social media venture or an online outlet for retailers and businesses? As the image-driven platform began to pick up steam and popularity over the last three years, it’s become clear that Pinterest can be used as both––though how and whether companies are utilizing Pinterest to its fullest ability and using it well, is a whole other question.
What is not in question, however, is Pinterest’s value to ecommerce businesses. Nothing is as shareable as photos and images, and shareability is the driving success factor in social media, marketing, and getting your products out there to as many people as possible. Thus, pinning your product photos via Pinterest and encouraging others to repin them will increase your store’s conversions. Afterall, Pinterest essentially functions as a visual shopping or wish list for online buyers.
Now that we’ve touched on why every online store and ecommerce business should have a Pinterest, let’s talk about what to do with it and discuss strategy to get people repinning your products. Whether you’re a Pinterest pro and have pinned your fair share of personal photos or you’re completely new to the Pinterest game, you must tailor your social media strategy to an ecommerce business’ needs. Personal pinning and professional pinning (don’t be intimidated, by professional we mean for business) are two different entities. With this post, we’ll cover product photos, keywords and timelines for your store’s Pinterest, and we’ll break down 3 strategies to get people pinning your products.
1. Professional-grade photos
As online shopping is such a visual experience––your customers won’t be able to touch or hold your products, only visually inspect via photos––we can’t stress enough how vital high-quality product images are for not only your website, but any platform promoting your merchandise: Pinterest, Facebook, social media, signage, promotional flyers, ads, etc.
Now, don’t think you need to drop a large amount of cash to produce beautiful photos. We’ve laid out the basic equipment and detailed instructions for online stores with small budgets to take captivating, high-quality product photos in this previous blog post.
After you’ve read over that post, prepared what you need, and snapped gorgeous photos, let’s talk specifically about Pinterest. As it’s an image-driven social media platform, you want to make sure the photos look good––but that goes beyond what we just mentioned with professional quality photos, and deep down into basics such as sizing. Make sure the size of your product photos are compatible with Pinterest. The worst thing you can do is feature product photos that are skewed, grainy, disproportionate or just plain unattractive because they aren’t within the accepted parameters (imagine if you took the time to stage beautiful photos around you handmade bow ties with a nice backdrop and maybe even a cool piece of furniture to balance out the photo––but then because the photo is too large and isn’t adjusted to the correct Pinterest standard sizing, your bow tie doesn’t even show up in the photo and the post looks like its selling furniture!). Really do your research on the correct sizing and placement of your product photos and how they’ll be displayed on Pinterest’s boards. Well-staged photos on Pinterest are more likely to get repinned.
Now let’s think about standardization of your photos. You’ll notice in our other Ecommerce Rules posts that we’re quite militant about standardizing your product images. Setting standards usually means a cohesive, organized, collective look to your product photos and overall website, but Pinterest is one of those places where perhaps you can play a little.
While standardizing your product photos and Pinterest posts aren’t necessarily a bad thing for ecommerce, plenty of successful stores have ventured out on their boards. Check out big name clothing brand JCrew’s Pinterest boards, here. There’s noticeable variety in their images and posts––and most notably, not all their photos are even of clothes or products! In fact, JCrew’s Pinterest tagline, “Sometimes things that don’t seem to go together, do” is very telling of this new shift in social media that Pinterest allows. It is moving beyond just presenting your products, and adding pizazz and insight. JCrew uses its Pinterest board to promote its brand and image, beyond its products. Its board is an amalgamation of inspiration behind the clothes.
So be creative and inventive to engage your customers, but through it all do so with high-quality product photos. And don’t take our advice to play with your Pinterest boards too far––give thought to your posts. They should still tie back into your online store and not be random images. Think outside the box of what it is about your merchandise––if you aren’t featuring photos of the actual product––your customers would want to know. Perhaps photos of where it was made, the inspiration, or how your products are used may be a good start and will encourage folks to repin your colorful, intriguing posts.
2. New “Rich Pins” function
It’s as if Pinterest knew its inherent value to ecommerce businesses! Afterall, a Bizrate survey from 2012 concluded that “69 percent of online consumers who visit Pinterest have found an item they’ve purchased or wanted to purchase as compared to only 40 percent of online consumers who visit Facebook.” When it comes to social media and ecommerce, Pinterest is vital.
Capitalizing on ecommerce interest, Pinterest recently rolled out a new function dubbed the “Rich Pins”––aimed specifically at online stores. It lets merchants use keywords and information in detailing and describing their pins. Along with your product photos, you can now include merchandise prices, whether items are in stock, and where it can be purchased. All of this is pertinent information your customers will want to spread among their online circles as they create a virtual shopping list, pinning and sharing products they plan to purchase.
As if this wasn’t ecommerce gold enough, Rich Pins uses a data feed system and automatically pulls the information from your ecommerce website daily. Make sure you incorporate Rich Pin functionality into your well-photographed Pinterest posts because as customers repin your beautiful photos, they’ll also be sharing all your product information and availability listing––a true win-win for your business.
3. Keep Posts up to date and timeless
With any virtual space, you want to make sure everything on your Pinterest boards is up to date and there are absolutely no broken or dead links. This is vital to the success of not only your social media strategy but your online store all together. How can shoppers shop if they can’t access your merchandise?
In addition, one of the strengths of Pinterest as a social media platform for ecommerce businesses is its endless scrolling layout. The infinite scrolling supplies a continuous stream of products and images, and keeps users engaged. Consumers never feel that they’ve seen everything and won’t get the urge to leave and browse something else. This is why it’s good strategy to pin regularly and offer users a robust offering of images. The more options you offer your customers to repin, the higher percentage of your posts they’re likely to repin, and the longer they’ll browse your products.
Lastly, because of this infinite scrolling feature, don’t date your posts. This is the easiest way to keep everything on your boards current. Avoid putting up timely sales or promotions (such as one that runs from August 1 to 5, for example) because you would need to remember to take them down by the end of the promotion in order to not have outdated material. Customers are also less likely to pin promotional information themselves––after all, what good would it bring to their own board?
As you explore Pinterest and begin building up your following, remember these 3 strategies of engaging product photos, “Rich Pin” keywords and capability, and current and timeless posts in order to get people pinning your products.