A relative newcomer to the social media scene, Pinterest could make the difference between so-so sales and a very happy holiday for your business.
The site now has 25 million unique visitors, more than double its size from the beginning of 2012. Though Facebook and Twitter dwarf Pinterest’s following, it’s worth marketing your wares there for the holidays, as Pinterest will account for nearly 40 percent of social media-influenced purchases.
Here’s a step-by-step guide for running a successful holiday marketing campaign with Pinterest.
1. Sign up for a business board
Pinterest announced the release of business accounts on November 14, making it easier for fans to find and follow companies and its products. In addition to marking business profiles with verified accounts, they also included follow buttons.
Tip: Create a business account now even if you don’t plan to market on the site this holiday season. It reserves your name for when you’re ready to start using Pinterest.
2. Pin in private
Another new feature unveiled by Pinterest this month allows users to create a board and tweak it behind closed doors before making it visible to the public. To work in private, scroll to the bottom of your profile and click “Create a Secret Board”.
Tip: Search Pinterest to find which of your products people are pinning. You can then market the most popular or raise awareness for a product with less buzz.
3. Build boards for busy buying days
Take advantage of the holiday season’s biggest buying days by creating special boards for them. If putting a board together for Cyber Monday, have the board filled with your best offers at least 24 hours in advance.
Tip: Optimize the board by including keywords and hashtags, such as Cyber Monday.
4. Match offerings to Pinterest’s audience
Knowing who uses Pinterest is crucial to your success with the tool. Consider that 80 percent of Pinterest’s users are women between the ages of 25 and 55. Even if your business doesn’t get many sales from that demographic, the site has the potential to expand your target audience or inspire its users with gift ideas.
Tip: Even though men are the minority on Pinterest, a survey showed 37 percent of them bought an item after seeing it on Pinterest, compared to 17 percent of women.
5. Don’t just pin your own products
Create boards dedicated to gifts for a specific audience (e.g. Gifts for Women) and pin appropriate products there. Don’t just use your own products. You should genuinely try to solve people’s gift-buying quandaries by including products from other sites where appropriate.
Tip: Tag pins with a dollar amount to add a price banner. Having a price often increases a product’s ‘likes’ and places it in the “Gifts” tab on Pinterest’s homepage.
6. Make content actionable
It’s not enough to simply pin pictures of your products and wait for sales to come. Add links to Pinterest pictures that take people to the appropriate product page, which leads to a higher rate of conversion.
Tip: Publicize your Pinterest page using other social media accounts and in emails and newsletters.
7. Create Pinterest Promotions
Engage customers by running Pinterest promotions. A simple contest involves encouraging users to repin their favorite of your products to their board. Randomly select a winner and send them the product they pinned as the prize.
Tip: Make sure to include a copy of the contest rules in your profile or on your board and have a clear end date.
8. Segment your boards
Examine the buying habits and interests of your past customers and create boards that closely match their interests. When the board is ready, send them an email with a link to the board that matches their interests.
Tip: Don’t just segment by customer behavior. Create niche boards based on categories of products or the places where they’re found.