10 June 2015

How to use Pinterest to promote your business

Information and tips on how to use Pinterest as an effective promotional and sales tool in your small business

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When it comes to online shopping, Pinterest probably offers the closest thing to the experience of wandering around a large department store looking at products and displays.

This fast-growing social media site allows individuals and businesses to ‘pin’ high quality images on themed boards to inspire their followers. Others can click on the image to go to its web page and/or ‘repin’ the images they like, making Pinterest a powerful viral marketing tool.

With its visual appeal, it’s a gift for lifestyle, fashion, design, interiors, food and retail businesses and it can also be used creatively by businesses in many other sectors.

Users typically spend longer on Pinterest than they do on other social media sites. But this is no idle viewing. On Pinterest, browsing quickly turns to buying.

At the start of 2014, eConsultancy reported that Pinterest overtook Facebook in the UK for referral revenue for the first time. Today, more than 70 million people worldwide use Pinterest

In many ways, Pinterest levels the playing field. Not surprisingly, all the large retailers are active on Pinterest but it also offers small and growing ecommerce businesses a great opportunity to boost sales.

How does Pinterest work?

Pinterest allows you to create themed pinboards using your own images and those that you have pinned from other boards. Users clicking on the images are then taken to the webpage that hosts the image – this could be, for example, a product page on an ecommerce website.

Unlike Twitter and Facebook, which places the emphasis on the latest content, Pinterest works more like YouTube, allowing users to search for relevant boards across the entire site.

It’s best to focus on your customer profile when you create boards. The key to getting found and getting followed is targeting.

Repinning allows you to reach more people in your target market. If you sell fashion accessories, for instance, you could also repin images featuring clothes or storage solutions. This way, your boards offer more than just your own product line.

How can you prompt people to buy on Pinterest?

On each image you pin, you can now use Rich Pins to provide real-time product information, including pricing, availability and direct links to product pages on your website. Pins with prices generate more traffic than those without.

At the same time, make sure you install two Pinterest buttons on your website – not just a follow button to attract followers but also a pin it button, allowing people to pin images from your website onto their boards.

You’ll also want to verify your website with Pinterest. This allows people to see your website on your Pinterest page and ensures that it appears in search results.

10 top tips for making the most of Pinterest

  1. Images should be large, hi-res and visually appealing.
  2. Use keywords in your pin descriptions including the product name, type and colour.
  3. Give your boards interesting and enticing names.
  4. Make it easy for other users to share your content by adding ‘pin it’ buttons directly to your images.
  5. Update your boards on a regular basis, focusing on key browsing times – evenings and weekends.
  6. Make sure you like and pin other users’ images.
  7. Ensure your pins link back to your product pages; use Rich Pins to provide more buying information.
  8. Sign up to Pinterest for Business to take advantage of its advanced analytics. You can track trending pins as well as clicks, repins and likes.
  9. Make sure your website product pages live up to the promise of your Pinterest boards.
  10. Promote your Pinterest presence across all your marketing activity, including your website.

HSBC does not actively endorse any of the apps mentioned in this article. They are an illustration of the range of apps out there that may be useful to businesses, and many others are available. It is always wise to research apps before downloading and try out free and trial versions before making an investment.

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