A recent report by Vision Critical studied the purchasing habits of social media-inspired consumers, and the results were interesting. It has been well established that image-based social media posts are by far the most viewed, clicked, and shared. As it turns out, images are also the best marketing tool when it comes to converting visitors into purchasers.

The report found that Pinterest is most likely to inspire spontaneous purchases, while Twitter and Facebook users mostly use the sites to help with purchases they’ve already considered making. This is big news. There’s a reason that every check-out line has a short row of random items for sale to peruse while you wait. Spontaneous purchases are the icing on the cake in the sales game, but they really help with buffering that bottom line.

29% of shoppers who bought because of a pin they saw on Pinterest said that they were not considering the purchase before they favorited the pin. That’s a significant number when the question comes down to whether or not marketing through Pinterest is something you should pursue. Since we already know the answer, let’s look at some ways that you can maximize your Pinterest account as a marketing and sales channel.

Get There

If you want to ride, you have to buy a ticket. It does no good to think about the sales boost your company could get from Pinterest without opening an account and getting busy with the pinning. Of course it helps to have guidance in what to post, how often, etc., but you have to crawl before you walk.

Just to poke some more numbers at you and make sure you understand the seriousness of this, here are some nice social media metrics from BizRate, and these were as of last Fall. The numbers have grown in Pinterest’s favor since then.

> 69% of Pinterest visitors say they have found something there that they want to buy or that they have already bought.
> Pinterest is now the third most used social media site in the US
> 43% of users said they use the site to “associate with retailers or brands with which I identify”
> Pinterest has more than 20 million global members who spend over 90 minutes on the site each month on average

It’s true that the bulk of Pinterest-related sales are from catalogue-ready items like clothing, furniture, and accessories, but a clever marketing person could take advantage of the platform regardless of the product. For the price of free (minus the time aspect), it’s a pursuit that any business should undertake considering the possible upsides.


Get Involved

It may sound a little redundant at this point to explain how important engagement is in social media channels, but with Pinterest the act of getting involved with others on the site takes on a unique twist. While there is a large number of people making purchases because of pins on the site, only 7% of them were discovered on a retailer’s Pinterest board.
Most of the pin-to-purchase scenarios occur through repins that they have seen on their friends’ boards. This makes it all the more important to drive repinning of your own pins by others. For every repin of your content, the likelihood of a sale goes up exponentially. Make sure that any relevant product on your website is accompanied by a “share this on Pinterest” button in order to increase the chances of pins happening.
You should follow other people’s boards who follow yours and make sure that you repin their stuff as well. Reciprocation is important. To get a jump start, you could always run a promotion to encourage shoppers to pin your products on their boards.

Vishal Pindoriya

Vishal Pindoriya is a social media enthusiast, strategist and writer. He lives in London, England and is particularly interested in the proliferation of social media around the world.

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