It would seem that Pinterest is a garden industry marketer’s dream. A new kid on the social media block, it already boasts over 100 million visits per month since it launched in March 2010. Unlike Facebook, where people turn to socialize with their friends, Pinterest serves largely as visual inspiration for hobbyists – an attractive feature for those selling plants and outdoor décor. What’s more, content added to Pinterest has a much longer shelf life than Facebook posts, and tends to be more viral. Indeed, over 80% of “pins” are actually “repins” from someone else’s Pinterest board.
Is Pinterest for You? You may already have a presence on Pinterest and not even know it. To see whether or what others may be pinning from your website, go to www.pinterest.com/source/YourURL.com, replacing “YourURL” with your own URL. The more images that appear, the more likely it is that Pinterest could be a good marketing tool for you. Also look at the number of “likes,” “comments,” and “repins” noted below the photo descriptions – another indication of how popular your products may be with Pinterest followers.
Another barometer of what Pinterest may do for your business is referral traffic. Before I ever knew what Pinterest was, I kept seeing it as a referral source in clients’ analytics reports. If you check your own analytics, you may find that Pinterest is already driving traffic to your site. (In Google Analytics, go to “Traffic Sources,” then “Sources,” then “Referrals” and search for Pinterest.)
Getting Started. To find out more about how Pinterest works, open a personal account first and give it a try. It’s pretty intuitive, and there are simple instructions in the Pinterest Help section. Follow a few people or companies (you can look for them by using the search box in the upper left and selecting “Pinners” after the search results appear) and see what engages you. Have a peek at the “Gardening” category. Read About Pinterest for Business for additional ideas. Then open a business page and start pinning!
Best Practices. While many companies dabble with Pinterest, it seems relatively rare for gardening companies to use it strategically. Here are some tips on using Pinterest to drive qualified prospects to your site:
Organization. Each Pinterest account can have multiple “pinboards,” as groups of photos are called. Organize your images into tightly targeted groups, such as “Easy Shade Perennials” or “Best Flowers for Cutting.” Keep pinboard names short and keyword-rich. Clever names that aren’t self-evident are not helpful either for users or search engine optimization.
Descriptions. Always add a description to explain your images. Short descriptions work best for easy scanning. Pinterest is a personal medium, so add some enthusiasm and personality to your descriptions. Including a price or price range at the end of a description is a good practice, as it signals that the item shown is for sale.
Uses. Showing product is just one of many ways to use Pinterest. Other possibilities include:
-Post an offer. Create a visual with a coupon code to boost sales and encourage repinning.
-Run a photo contest. Invite customers to pin photos of your products in use, and give prizes for the best.
-Get feedback. Ask readers for their opinion on new products you’re considering, or a catalog cover you’re designing.
-Add a human face. Use photos of your offices and employees to give followers an inside peek into your business and the people who work there.
-Balance sales and information. Don’t make it all about your products. Pin useful videos or links to news or articles your target market would find of interest.
Promoting. Once you have a few interesting Pinterest boards, let the world know about them. Here are some ways to do so:
-Mention your Pinterest account in your enewsletter, and invite people to visit and comment.
-Link to specific pins on your Facebook page.
-Add a “Pin it” button to your website to make it easy for website visitors to share your content on Pinterest.
-Follow popular Pinterest users in your category, comment on some of their pins, and occasionally repin them on your boards. They’ll often respond in kind.
Beautiful images and a passionate audience give garden marketers a tremendous advantage on Pinterest. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, all it takes is a few pinboards to write a “book” about your business. Give it a try, watch your referral traffic, and see if Pinterest helps boost your sales too.