Using Pinterest as a sales tool for your maker business
Those who have dabbled in Pinterest know its power — What? I spent two hours looking at wedding centerpieces and I'm not even getting married? How did that happen?
As a craft maker, if you haven't yet joined the site, you're missing out on a key social media opportunity. Pinterest is a website where members pin images and videos to a digital pin board that organizes the content based on the user's preference.
The medium has transformed the craft industry by bringing in a previously untapped audience – and subsequently, a previously untapped customer base – to those who sell their goods from a home-based business.
"You can put virtually anything into a Pinterest search," says Alessia Lloyd, owner of Kreation Station, a craft and activity business based in Avon Lake, Ohio. "There is always someone who has gone before you in a search. That makes it very versatile as far as a tool to reach people with a common set of interests."
Matt Witt, executive vice president and director of digital integration for TRIS3CT, a marketing agency, says Pinterest is unparalleled among social media platforms as a means of communicating with pictures and visual elements.
"Pinterest is one of the foremost platforms pushing the visualization of language online," he says. "It is one of the best examples of a more visual style of communicating. Its architecture is outstanding — the photos are laid out for ease of engagement, and the ability to repin and comment really simplifies the experience. You can look at the pictures and instantly understand the story, as a photograph or moving image is so powerful from an emotional perspective."
Craft makers and artisans can use Pinterest as a tool to drive sales of homemade goods. However, here are a few points to keep in mind.
- Don't make your pins all about your product. Pinterest is all about inspiration. People visit the site to view pictures and gain ideas, so if you're only showing the goods you sell and not examples of how they can be used, you're missing the point of Pinterest, which is all about the soft sell.
- Try other pins and show your results. Pinterest users love to try out what they see on the site and view others' attempts. Find a project that showcases your products, try it out and pin the results.
- Consider collaborative boards. These boards allow multiple people to add pins based on certain topics of themes such as "Wedding Decor" or "Outdoor Spaces." While you might not want to allow all of your followers to pin to a board, allowing an employee to pin or partnering with craft bloggers can provide different perspectives. Remember, Pinterest is about inspiration, and the more avenues for it, the better.
- Be active. The biggest way to gain followers and spread your message is to post often, at least every few days. The most popular times to pin are between 7 and 11 a.m. and 7 and 11 p.m. (before and after work), so schedule your pins for those times.
- Avoid pinning the same item to multipe boards. Pinning more frequently is one thing, but if your followers see the same pin pop up multiple times, they'll think you're spamming and will unfollow you. If you have a pin that you'd like to pin to several boards, pin it to one first, then wait a few days before pinning it to another.
- Vary your pins. If you're pinning a lot at once, vary the content to keep followers interested. Don't post 30 pins of shoes at once — followers who are uninterested in that theme will not want to scroll through the content and will subsequently unfollow you. Shake it up by pinning different things to different boards.
- Organize your pins by theme or project type. This makes it easier for followers to find what they're looking for. For example, a floral board can provide home decor ideas with a flower theme, while an autumn board can provide Halloween and fall leaf ideas. Another way to organize is by project, with boards such as woodworking or jewelry.
- If you have a standalone website, point users toward it. Pins that showcase an interesting project draw followers in, but once they click on the pin, it should link to an area of your website where they can find the products to make the project come to life.
- Include text that is brief and to the point. Pinterest is visual, and users don't want to read a lot of text. The picture should tell the story itself. If you want to offer more background or detail about a pin, link to that information on a separate page.
- Keep your audience in mind. Most Pinterest followers are females who are looking for frugal ideas, so avoid expensive or luxury items.
- Keep up on new Pinterest features. In the past couple of years, Pinterest has rolled out new search features including buyable pins (essentially point-and-click purchasing directly from a pin), guided searches, related-pin searches and even a tool that allows you to zoom in on a part of a pinned picture or quickly find other items in other pins with similar colors, patterns and so forth. Pinterest frequently updates its features, so be sure to stay current. Check out Pinterest's engineering blog for updates from the Pinterest team.