What’s In A Pin?

Something so little, yet so interesting. Or should we say “pinteresting”?

Ok, we won’t get into silly word plays though we can see that we have peaked your “pinterest. Oops, sorry.

Seriously, this new social media format is intriguing. Not because it has taken off like wildfire, but because of the ways you can use it for your business. Between December of 2011 and January of 2012 this website saw an increase in traffic of 155%*

So, first, you may be asking, what is Pinterest? Well, simply put, it is a place that you can visually showcase ideas. Imagine a corkboard that you have filled with magazine articles, pictures, etc. Pinterest is the virtual version of that. The one difference is that it creates an easy interface from which you can organize these ideas by topic, and then others can comment, pass along, etc. However one of the best things about Pinterest (and why you should care!) is that you are not just posting a static image — each image contains a link to more information. And you can choose where to send this link. And therein lies the beauty.

These links can be used to go back to a product description, how-to-directions, recipes, your company blog with a posting on that product, or anything creative you can come up with in that brain of yours. Many people are using this as a place to store ideas on things they want to buy, from putting together the perfect outfit (with input from friends), to collecting wedding ideas, gathering design inspiration for an upcoming party, or putting together items they aspire to have in their homes. If you haven’t posted images and content about your products, people are less likely to find them and add them to their own boards. The flip side is that other users may have added images of items from your store, which is great, but wouldn’t you prefer to drive the messages and information that is being posted about your business directly?

Here are some creative ways we have seen retailers using Pinterest. Think about these approaches in the context of your own business and ask yourself, how can I use it?

  • Search for yourself! This isn’t only fun but also useful. See if there are posts about your store or products you sell. Use this as a chance to engage with your customers, comment, suggest, and learn.
  • Hold a contest. Giggle is using Pinterest to launch a new product (a brightly colored modern stroller) in their stores. It is asking customers to create a board with images that use the same bold colors of this new stroller they are selling. Why are they doing this type of pinning contest? To engage their customers, drive the message home about this new product and to create consistency across all of their channels (brick and mortar and online). Note that they realize not all of their customers are on Pinterest so they make it easy by allowing people to also email their “boards” to them or offer to send anyone who wants one a Pinterest invite.
  • Use keywords and product images in your pins to make it easy to search and find. Cost Plus World Market does this really well with boards that showcase different furniture collections. Each then has a detailed product title and link back to the page on their website. They also have a board which is inspired by pictures their customers send in which showcase ways they have used their products.
  • Relate it back to your products. Whole foods offers boards with ideas for dinners, veggies, holiday foods, sweet treats, and more. Many are recipes collected from all over the web, not specifically from Whole Foods. But be certain that you can find the ingredients needed within their stores. And doesn’t a recipe make you want it more when you see a beautiful image and your friends posting about how they can’t stop eating it?
  • Use it to educate. You don’t need to be doing hard core selling here. This is a venue to showcase your expertise, create credibility, and engage with customers. Don’t sell, sell, sell. Inform your customers.
  • Free giveaways. Post links to something that you are giving away whether it’s a gift with purchase, a do-it-yourself tutorial or an ebook.And now to practice what we preach, we have a special giveaway for our newsletter readers.

Follow Retail Concepts on Pinterest and you will be given free access to our eGuides to read and pass along to anyone who may find them useful. You heard it here first.

These are some very basic ways you can start using Pinterest. You are only limited by your own creativity. Have fun!

*according to www.compete.com