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The Secret to Making More Money With Pinterest (And an Olivia Newton-John Reference to Boot)

“The reality is that when you’re in the Pinterest mindset, you’re actually interested in acquiring items, which is not what people go to Facebook for,” Sephora’s head of digital Julie Bornstein said in an interview to VentureBeat. “Facebook continues to be just a great customer interaction tool that gives us the real-time ability to dialog with a customer; it’s a big customer-service venue for us.”
Sephora, a massive beauty products retailer, was ahead of the game when they made Pinterest an integral part of their social ecommerce marketing strategy. In February 2013, they discovered that per-capita, their Pinterest followers spend more money than their Facebook followers…15 times more to be exact. With over 70 million active users and climbing, utilizing Pinterest for ecommerce is like being on the Price is Right and winning that BRAND NEW CAR!, only in realty it is sales for your business.
Facebook is where you go to talk to your followers and nurture the relationship. Pinterest is where you must be to leverage the power of social ecommerce. Did you know that…

  • During the second quarter of 2013, Pinterest has accounted for 23% of social-generated ecommerce sales, in comparison to 22% on Twitter and 28% on Facebook.
  • Approximately 69% of users have found at least one item they have or have wanted to buy (versus 32% on Facebook).
  • The average order amount spent from a Pinterest referral is $140-$180 and on average they spend 70% more money than visitors referred from non-social channels.
  • According to the Harvard Business Review, 21% of Pinterest users have bought an item in an actual store after pinning, repinning or liking the item on Pinterest.

The numbers prove that Pinterest is a necessity when it comes to ecomm. So how do you get into the ecommerce pinning business?
Step 1: Forget Poking, Pinning is the New Trend
About 43% of social media users prefer to associate with retailers and brands on Pinterest versus 24% on Facebook. First of all, you can’t get Pinterest users to purchase your products or associate with your brand if your site does not make it easy for them. Each and every one of your products should be equipped with a pin widget so your customers can repin your products directly from your site onto their own Pinterest boards. These product pins will directly link back to their corresponding product pages making it more likely for a conversion to occur (versus a non-specific pin sending you to the homepage and then the user having to search for the product they saw, no one enjoys the needle in the haystack dilemma).

A screenshot from an e-commerce site showing a wedding dress for sale.

No one enjoys searching for a needle in a haystack–product pins help users find products more easily.

Learn how to add pin widgets here: http://business.pinterest.com/widget-builder/#do_pin_it_button
In addition, over 80% of all pins are repins—which means if your site content does not allow visitors to pin to their boards, you better believe you are not getting repinned from the Pinterest user face either.Tip: A great thing to include across your site alongside your other social widgets is the follow button so people can follow your entire brand on Pinterest. You can also use widgets to embed a particular board you may be promoting (it will show the latest 30 pins to that board) or embed a profile widget which will show your overall latest 30 pins. The board widget is a great way to promote a seasonal event or sale that you create a specific board around.
Step 2: Livin’ Rich
Pinterest introduced the ability to make pins more useful through their rich pins in May 2013. Rich pins allow you to include more information for your user including automatically updated details like prices, availability, movie reviews and ingredients—without having to leave Pinterest. These more-comprehensive pins help brands establish a stronger Pinterest following by giving their pins an instructional edge in users’ feeds. A small logo appears on the rich pin to indicate the verified brand that posted it.
Rich pins are currently available for the following types of pins:
Products pins which include real time pricing, availability and where to buy.
Screenshot of a dress for sale on Pinterest.

Product Pins include real-time pricing and availability.

Recipe pins which include ingredients, cooking times, and serving info.
A Pinterest recipe pin

Recipe pins include ingredients, cooking times, and serving information.

Movie pins which include ratings, cast members and reviews.
A Pinterest Movie Pin

Movie Pins include ratings, cast members, and reviews.

Article pins which include the author’s name, the article title, a brief description and a larger link.
A Pinterest article pin.

Article pins include author name, title, description, and a link.

Rich pins do not just happen automatically to your content. Follow the link to apply for rich pins for your VERIFIED business page.
Step 3: No, Seriously, You NEED Rich Pins
With the additional information provided by rich pins, consumers are more likely to buy for the mere fact that they felt as though they were making a more informed purchasing decision, as shown by the Vision Critical graphic below. I know I personally base most of my purchases on reviews, scouring different models and retailers, and of course, how much green it will take. I can’t handle another text from my bank account questioning my ethics. At least now I can defend my decision.
An infographic illustrating how social media influences purchasing.

How social media influences purchasing

Also, in line with their rich pin release, Pinterest has included a price-drop alert—i.e. users will now receive email notifications when the price of products they have pinned have dropped. These notifications are only produced for rich product pins. The idea: turn pinners into shoppers. Who doesn’t love a good sale?
A screenshot of a price drop alert on Pinterest.

Pinterest now includes price drop alerts.

Pinterest said that rich product pins see higher CTRs to merchant sites and offer greater visibility to brands and retailers. Bottom line: if you miss out on rich pins, you miss out on grabbing that bargain shopper.
Step 4: Let’s Get Analytical
Approximately 70% of brand engagement on Pinterest is generated by users, according to a recent study by Digitas and Curalate. “This reveals the opportunity for brands to drive the conversation on visual platforms like Pinterest,” Senior Vice President of Social, Mobile, and Content Lead at Digitas Jordan Bitterman said to Mashable. “By leveraging rich consumer insight, brands can take the guesswork out of their visual content strategy, and share the types of images their audience wants to see.”
Through the Pinterest analytics tool (again, you must have a verified business account!), you can see which of your pins are:

  • Being clicked and driving the most traffic back to your site
  • Pinned most often, or which pins are most popular

By knowing the content your audience wants, you can then influence them to purchase. Investigate what images/pins are resonating with your target market and make sure your products follow suit.

A graph displaying the Pinterest logo and user trends.

Investigate what images/pins are resonating with your target market and make sure your products follow suit.

Still not convinced? See the graphic by Vision Critical below.
Social Network Characteristics as Described by Users

Social Network Characteristics as Described by Users

Pinterest is closing in on Facebook when it comes to ecommerce sales. They dominate in the amount of money spent by users and the likelihood to buy so it’s imperative that your brand and products are available on the social shopping network. Just make sure your site and Pinterest work hand-in-hand as Pinterest is only as beneficial as the sites it garners its content from.

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