Pinterest is not a new platform, but for many eCommerce strategists it may as well be. Despite being introduced in 2010, the image-centric social networking site has never graduated to Facebook and Twitter-level ubiquity, even if it’s enjoyed some moments of prominence where it looked like it might. Its focus on imagery means it’s been pigeon-holed as a niche site by marketers who don’t see it as a significant part of their eCommerce or social media marketing strategy. But that reputation is undeserved as Pinterest constantly evolves (most recently through Promoted Pins) and can deliver in ways that the bigger players in the social sphere can’t.
Strength in Focus
It’s true that Pinterest is entirely image based and that rules it out to some brands. If your brand doesn’t have strong enough imagery to showcase, or deals primarily in copy-based information that would get lost in translation to imagery, Pinterest may not be for you. Even if you do have strong imagery that can make use of Pinterest’s functionality, Facebook and Twitter have excellent visual functionality as well. Why should a brand add another platform to its already cluttered digital portfolio?
The answer is very simple: Pinterest has focus. Facebook and Twitter excel at visual content, but users flock there primarily to read status updates and tweets from friends and family. In other words, they’re not going there to view a brand’s imagery. Pinterest users, on the other hand, visit the site because they know they’re going to see great, impactful visuals that will entertain or inspire them. Pinterest’s niche reputation simply means it attracts visitors with focus, and if brands weave it effectively into their eCommerce social media marketing strategy, they can take advantage of that focus to great effect.
A Thousand Words
According to the phrase, a picture is worth a thousand words, and the rise of imagery and video on social media in recent years has proven that. Twitter and Facebook haven’t moved into more visual content delivery simply because it’s cool; they’ve done it because they know brands can make their point with greater impact through a crisp visual than through reams of copy. Moreover, an image can be fun, innovative, clever, and inspiring; it can strike an emotional blow that copy isn’t always capable of doing.
That’s a critical part of the strength of visuals, and by extension the power of Pinterest. The internet moves quickly. There’s so much content available that whatever content you create needs to capture eyeballs and make its impact quickly and effectively. Images do that, and by doing so, they engage and encourage sharing. In an environment like Pinterest, where the functionality is geared entirely around striking images, the potential for images gaining shares and picking up awareness is increased. And if it gains enough awareness, those thousand words are worth even more.
A Social Catalogue
Being able to see the product as clearly as possible is a significant concern for consumers looking to buy from you. Buying via an eCommerce store means you can’t experience the product as you’d normally want to in a physical store, so the imagery a brand pushes out becomes much more important – as does the ability of people to see it. It’s no good having a wonderful website with perfect product pages that showcase the products through impactful images and videos if those videos aren’t winning the kind of awareness necessary for them to make a difference.
Pinterest helps cut through the noise and acts as a sort of social catalogue where users can share the product images they want. Thanks to the platform’s ‘pin boards’, which allow users to arrange images by type, theme, or in any other way they wish, these images can be found very easily (allowing brands to ‘Be Quick’), and the discovery can help strike an emotional chord with the user. For example, a women’s clothing brand may wish to organise its pin boards by colour, so a follower who loves greens could find all the dresses available in that colour. Or someone who likes whites can find the products that fit that description. By taking advantage of the unique ways Pinterest allows users to group images, brands can add creative flair to their eCommerce strategy. Then once clicked, each image will direct users to the brand’s website, ensuring they land on the most appropriate page to begin the purchase journey.
Pinterest is much more than a niche social outpost. Even after six years, it remains a unique platform for users to group and share impactful imagery with people who share a similar passion for creativity. Brands who deal in such imagery should look at Pinterest as a critical part of their eCommerce social media marketing strategy, even if they’re already finding success through Facebook and Twitter. By setting up on Pinterest, they can tap into a rich stream of inventive, passionate people who could convert into followers, customers, and eventually advocates.
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