Beauty store marketers looking to get the most from social media can no longer ignore Pinterest—a social network devoted to the posting of photo and image collections—which has quietly become the third-largest social network in the world. According to figures released by Experian Hitwise in April, Pinterest brought in 104 million visits in March, lagging only behind Twitter, which drew 182 million visits, and goliath Facebook, which attracted 7 billion visits. “What makes Pinterest so popular is its ease, simplicity and visual appeal,” says Mindy Sabel, social-media director at HairCareAndBeauty.com (pinterest.com/pin/271412315013295702). “There is no significant writing or even ‘socializing’ necessary,” she adds. Kellilynn Marie, a beauty editor at Beauty Stop Online, notes, “Pinterest is an amazing way for people to locate our products without already being at our store. We provide a little information about a product on our site, and the traffic comes rolling in.” Jason Fox, president of Fox e-Marketing, states, “It’s time to add Pinterest to your business-marketing arsenal.”
While the charm of Pinterest is lost on some, millions of others rabidly visit the social network regularly to put together collections of pictures that together say something about who they are and what they love. “I like beautiful images,” says Michelle Courtney, president of True Beauty Store. “I believe the quality of the images pinned sends a message about your brand. I hope to show a sense of style and appreciation for quality through my boards.”
Overwhelmingly, Pinterest fans are female and young. Specifically, a 2012 Digital Marketer report released by Experian Marketing Services found that a full 60% of Pinterest users are women, according to a 12-week study that ended Jan. 28. And 55% of those women are between the ages of 25 and 44. Not surprisingly, many of the biggest marketers on the planet are parachuting in for a chance to make an impression. Peugeot Panama, for example, recently ran a contest on Pinterest that gave visitors a prize for putting together a puzzle of a Peugeot car. GUESS? also ran a contest asking Pinterest users to create winning picture collections based on the company’s new colors for spring. And Procter & Gamble has a Pinterest page portraying mothers who have athletes competing in the upcoming 2012 London Olympics.
[Courtesy of Pinterest]
The bottom line is this: If your beauty store can in any way be marketed with images—and it’s hard to imagine one that can’t—you really need to be on Pinterest yesterday. As with many social networks, Pinterest is free to join. And while the social network officially frowns on blatant self-promotion, there’s apparently more than a little wiggle room to get on the network and make a splash. Here are the Top 10 ways to make the most of your Pinterest presence.
More Pinterest users will find your online store and its images on Pinterest if you take the time to categorize each collection of images you create for your Pinterest account. It’s better, for example, to categorize a picture collection you post—known as a Pinterest “board”—describing your company’s brand, and image as “About + Your Company Name,” rather than simply “About.”
Sure, you most likely already have an “About” domain on your website. But there’s no reason to force people to click there to grasp a quick idea of what your store is about, its mission, and its products and/or services. Plus, Pinterest gives you an opportunity to communicate that message in images. It’s the language spoken here.
If you already offer a blog on your website, you’ll be able to bring more traffic to it by highlighting select blog excerpts re-posted on Pinterest, accompanied by a number of arresting, eye-grabbing images. If you’re stuck for images for your blog, check out iStock
photo.com. It offers tens of thousands you can post for only a dollar or two.
While endorsements on the Web have been used for years now, there is something to be said for adding a crisp photo of customers recommending your business to others. You can also add customer videos to your board or even pictures of handwritten cards and letters.
If you’ve been able to do business with some especially heavy hitters, it will pay you to devote a special Pinterest category featuring images of these top players. Being able to showcase any client from the Fortune 500, for example, can only add credibility to your own business’ stature.
[Caption: Michelle Courtney, president of True Beauty Store, believes that beautiful images on Pinterest send a message about your brand. Image courtesy of Joe Dysart/True Beauty Store]
Since beauty retail lends itself to portraying products in image form, this is an excellent category to add to your Pinterest account. People are always reassured when they can see images of what they can buy in your store.
Pinterest re-posts all images that include a dollar sign in their description to its special “gifts” domain. Essentially, you’ll be able to get double exposure for every image that has a price in its description. Once on your own Pinterest account, and again in the Pinterest gifts domain. And remember, people cruising Pinterest’s gifts domain are often in a buying mood.
Many of the same people who are hanging out on Facebook and Twitter are also Pinterest users, so it makes sense to cross-promote on all the social networks where you have an account. You may want to send out a Twitter message, for example, to announce a new collection of pictures you’ve added on Pinterest. And you may want to announce on Pinterest that there’s a special offer available for customers who “Like” your Facebook page.
“Launching Pinterest was an incredible new medium for the AVEYOU Beauty Boutique brand, but it was after linking our Pinterest accounts with Facebook and Twitter that we saw an increase in the number of followers and interactions,” says Brian J. Esposito, CEO of AVEYOU.
“We try to make everything flow and directly correlate with each other,” Esposito adds. “Whenever something is uploaded via Instagram—for example, our Summer Beauty Campaign—it is also tweeted and linked on our Facebook page. Everything we post on social media is live and clickable to direct the consumer back to our AVEYOU.com website, to allow for purchase.”
Adds HairCareAndBeauty.com’s Sabel, “I often link Twitter and Pinterest when sharing images. And I have used Pinterest in the past to help garner interest in our Facebook page, such as when sharing images of items that are being given away in a Facebook sweepstakes, with a link to that item. In general, I devote separate content to Pinterest, keeping the focus more visually appealing and striking than the content I use on Twitter or Facebook.
Every business with a Pinterest account is able to add a “Pin-It” button to its website. Be sure to add one, since it enables visitors to your website to pin your company’s images into their collections on Pinterest. You can also add a Pinterest “follow” button on your website, right next to the “follow” buttons you may already offer for Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and the like. (Both Pinterest buttons are available for installation in your Pinterest account on the Pinterest “Goodies” page.) “Once we saw that Pinterest had potential to increase our brand awareness we immediately put money into developing the integration of the “Pin It” feature directly onto every page of our site,” says AVEYOU’s Esposito. “Now shoppers can easily pin any product they love to one of their Pinterest categorized boards.”
As with many social networks, Pinterest users disdain commercial sites that pop up simply to bombard visitors with purely self-promotional images. The trick is to identify your target audience, identify the noncommercial boards on Pinterest that are attracting them in droves and then weave some of the creative—and nonpromotional elements—of those boards into the boards you create for your company.
“When you first join, you will want to pin everything under the sun that promotes your brand,” says Beauty Stop Online’s Marie. “You will want to avoid this high level of self-promotion. Similar to most social-network platforms, it’s all about giving and receiving. Post others’ images and watch the reciprocity flow.
”HairCareAndBeauty.com’s Sabel agrees, “Slowly build a base by sharing engaging material. Don’t compromise your integrity as a user by flooding your profile with uninteresting or clearly commercial content. Also be sure to ‘follow back’ and ‘Like’ the users that show interest in your content. This helps establish a mutual connection, eventually leading to a strong client base. Writing witty or thoughtful captions has also shown to be a great way of portraying both products and general content.”
Adds AVEYOU’s Esposito: “Do a lot of research and understanding of Pinterest prior to launching. Prelaunch, we watched videos, took virtual online webinars and read case studies. Your brand is the heartbeat of your company and what you are trying to relay to your audience and customer base. Throwing something out there meaninglessly will jeopardize the integrity of your image and will not result in much return.” n Editor’s note: Images from Pinterest are used for reporting and informational purposes only under the Fair Use Doctrine. No sponsorship or endorsement by, and no affiliation with, Pinterest, the individuals depicted in the images, and/or the persons who created the images is claimed or implied.
Joe Dysart is an Internet speaker and business consultant based in New York City.
[Image: Courtesy of AVEYOU]