How can Pinterest benefit your business?

Pinterest is a social network that many businesses find difficult to crack; however, if used correctly it can have great benefits for businesses, and not just the mega-visual ones either. Pinterest helps give your audience ideas, organises your content in a visually-pleasing way, and also enables you to spread blog posts and content wider - what's not to love?

Dicky Broadhurst is the founder of personalised chocolate gift service Morse Toad, and decided to discover, over the course of a week, how Pinterest could impact his business. The findings of his experiment are below!

Getting started

Until now, Pinterest is the social media channel that remains untouched and unloved by my business.

Total Boards - 4. Total Pins - 25. Total Followers - 11. Last update - September 2015 (a fleeting visit).

So what is it? Pinterest is a social photo sharing website that acts like a personal pin-board. This allows people to share and discover beautiful images, videos, products, and discussions. More importantly, for an e-commerce store owner, it can help your best products get discovered by other users, at which point there is the persuasive possibility that they may share it with their followers and so on.

My business is just over a year old and when setting out, I spent hours trawling the platform in search of inspiration, something for which it delivered in spades. But now I’ve moved from consumer to business, my days looking at pretty pictures have ended. Time is short and, faced with a list of other things that I must learn, Pinterest sits to one side, quiet and alone.

So I gave myself a week to try and find out what I could about Pinterest, to try and kickstart my presence on the site. Below is what I learned.

Morse Toad - how to use Pinterest for your business

Why use Pinterest for your business?

There are many reasons why its worth revisiting the site more often, and making it work for your business:

1. Traffic

  • All pins are linked to blogs, product pages or articles.
  • The e-commerce platform Shopify claim the site is the number 2 source of traffic to their sites after Facebook.

2. Growth

  • 2 million people pin products every day, growing year on year. Orders from Pinterest have increased 140% in two years.

3. Market

  • The clientele are also expanding out of the US stronghold, and more men are joining the platform. That being said, it is still predominantly women who use Pinterest.
  • With other social platforms having a different purpose, Pinterest is a dedicated visual platform for browsing pretty things, and this lends itself to e-commerce. This doesn’t however, lend itself to some businesses like insurance or accounting - or does it? A quick search on Pinterest proves me wrong on both counts.

4. Order value

The average order value is $50 more than conversions driven by other social platforms. Why? I think for the following reasons:

  • It is essentially a shop for any possible product, but without many of the sales elements. People can browse to their heart's content and store (pin) possible purchases for later, all without fear of the usual online marketing tricks. Adverts do exist, but they resemble pins and therefore don’t impact on the user experience. Most visitors use it to plan purchases.
  • It's beautiful! It is hard not to leave Pinterest without either a desire to fashion something from plastic bottles, construct an architectural marvel in your back garden - or, of course, buy something.

5. Advertising

  • In the US, there is such a thing as a 'buyable’ pin, where people can purchase from Pinterest. You have to assume that this functionality will grace us here in the UK, so being ready to capitalise on an already busy social media platform is surely a must. A quick search provides me with a site where I must register my interest…which is all I could find for when it might happen.

6. Shareability

  • Getting people to your site is hard. Having your products on another site for free, where people can freely share and do your marketing for you, is a bit of a no-brainer. Pins last forever, so each one you create has the potential to pay consistent dividends.

7. It’s enjoyable

  • This is subjective, but I really enjoy spending time on Pinterest. I would far rather look at beautiful design, or be inspired by great ideas, than hear about what Justin Bieber had for breakfast.

Morse Toad - how to use Pinterest for your startup

That’s all well and good, but how do you make it work for your business?

My first stop in answering this question was to view my competitors. This was a shocking discovery! They were all over it, with almost a million followers and a board for every possible occasion. Admittedly these had been developed over the years, but they were highly curated and clearly served as a powerful channel.

So what do you need to do?

1. Set It Up Correctly

  • Make sure it’s a business account, linked up with all the bells and whistles so people can share your stuff directly from your site without having to do anything. And make sure your pins are ‘Rich’ pins.

Morse Toad - how to use Pinterest for your startup

2. Come up with a plan

  • As with any marketing, it’s best to have a strategy. Blindly pinning away may not get your far. Think of your products, and what categories they may fit into. With that in mind, you can create boards that adhere to those categories.
  • Whilst creating boards just with your products is fine, keep it to a minimum (I have one board dedicated to the Toad). What people really want is interesting content. I don’t know for certain, but my gut instinct is that if someone see’s your board full of great products, a percentage of which aren’t yours but adhere to the theme of the board, then they will have a more positive experience than a board with just your stuff on it.

3. Think about SEO

  • Treat your pins as tentacles of your website, and use the same SEO terms as you would there.

4. Promote Your USPs

  • In the case of Morse Toad, one of the USPs is the ability to send a gift in the post in a short space of time, unlike sending a card. So I built a board dedicated to great gifts you can send from your phone.

Morse Toad - how to use Pinterest for your startup

5. Post all of your written content

  • Pinterest was built for your blog posts. If the content you are writing is interesting then a good visual linking to it on Pinterest will give it the potential to reach a much wider audience. From a consumer point of view, people would rather view interesting posts than straight forward products.

6. Prepare boards secretly, then make them live when they're ready

    You wouldn’t post a half written blog online. Boards are the same. People who see them don’t know that you are about to add this amazing content.

7. Make them good

  • Pins should be helpful, beautiful and actionable. Like with any online marketing, a call-to-action can do exactly that. Don’t be afraid to create text overlays for your images. Not sure how to do this? Try Canva, it is a godsend. Remember that each pin lasts forever, so it’s worth taking the time to make them as captivating and shareable as possible. It is also a case of quality, not quantity. Posting every single product you have is unlikely to be a good strategy.
  • Here are 5 points to consider when creating a pin:
    • Optimised Pin Size - tall images are better than short)
    • Detailed Description - SEO as well as emotionally engaging
    • Clean High-Quality Images - pictures sell
    • Simple Fonts - with a millisecond of attention, it needs to be legible
    • Optimised Board Name - What are people looking for?


A quick word on Pinterest advertising

I haven’t tried it yet, but I plan to. My target market resides on Pinterest, so I’d be a fool not to. The adverts I’ve seen are barely discernible from the other content, which I believe is a massive plus for a consumer. Pinterest work hard to maintain this with some strict rules.

As a big plus, you can associate 150 keywords with your promoted pin. From what I understand, a campaign works much like Adwords, with keywords, the pin (ad),impressions and clicks. Pinterest has equivalent functionality for performance analytics and targeting. Conversions mostly happen on desktop, but pinning is a mobile activity, so target both.

Morse Toad - how to use Pinterest for your startup

In conclusion, Pinterest in arguably more powerful than other social platforms, especially for product businesses. With marketing costs a major headache for all businesses, the potential for people to share your products again and again for nothing is hugely persuasive.

Following my week-long review, I have made a few changes to my Pinterest account.

Total Boards - 6. Total Hidden Boards - 3. Total Pins - 170. Total Followers - 12. Last update - 13 Apr 2016.

Okay, so I’ve acquired one follower since I began the article. Hopefully it’s like rain. First you feel a single drop. Anyway, it’s a start, and apparently I don’t need that many followers for things to spread.

That being said, please do follow us on Pinterest, or of course on our other hangouts (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram)

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