As companies attempt to fit Pinterest into their long list on social media and online engagement strategies, it might be comforting to know that everyone is learning this new tool together.
Every online commerce company I have spoken with over the last few months has mentioned how they are trying to figure out just how they want to leverage Pinterest to best serve their brand.
In a March survey conducted by Bizrate Insights, 32% of respondents stated that they made a purchase after seeing a product on Pinterest.
The results of the survey could help answer an ongoing question about Pinterest and similar sites
Overall, approximately 37% of online shoppers were familiar with Pinterest and enjoy this new way of discovering must-have items.
Companies that have jumped onboard early and seen a great amount of success from Pinterest include Etsy.com (the e-marketplace for handcrafted goods) and Polyvore (a fashion aggregator for discovering new trends and styles).
Etsy reported $525 million in gross merchandise sales in 2011 and is a great adopter of Pinterest with more than 82,000 followers so far.
But it isn’t all just fashion and design brands that are seeing Pinterest as a way to reach new customers. I caught up with the Founder and CEO of Ecomom (a curator of mommy and baby friendly items that are safe and use best practices) Jody Sherman, to find out how his company is using Pinterest to excite current users and attract new customers.
"Being social is not about fighting for likes anymore," Sherman told me. "We make sure we are sharing helpful tips, brands and assure that everything is aesthetically attractive. But we are learning just like everyone else."
Since 95% of the people going to Ecomom are moms with similar needs and interests, Sherman says that the company had to keep the target demographic in mind when buying a presence on Pinterest.
Here are some key pointers I’ve learned from Etsy and Ecomom about creating a presence on Pinterest:
-- Keep in mind the demographic you are speaking to and figure out different things that excite them.
-- Don’t just self-promote your products. Much like people have learned on Facebook, it is exhausting for followers when they see a company only talking about themselves. Consumers like to think of a brands as more than just the providers of certain products and service, they should also be experts in a field and let you know when they see something you would love. Don’t be afraid to repin products from other companies if it gives value to your consumers.
-- Start with pin boards in the most common areas so that your company is easily searchable for the more casual pinner. You can always add more fun and whimsical as well, but it is easier to start when you use broad topics like Fashion, Beauty and Food.
-- Think beyond just awesome products and images when pinning. It can be how-to instructions, it can be a blog or a top 10 list but if you have a visual way to represent that it can get a lot of traction.
-- Don’t pin too much. As with Facebook or Twitter, users are following multiple sources and will get tired of your posts taking over their feed. Update daily but choose sparingly what you will post each day.
-- Don't be afraid to experiment. Pinterest is still young and the methods are evolving so don't be afraid to try some different boards and comment on other people's pins. Just keep the action on-brand.