Social marketing on Pinterest is easy. All you have to do is post photos and they'll be repinned and liked by others who have similar interests. Right? Wrong. While the ideology behind the content sharing site is pretty straightforward, if Pinterest is being used as a marketing tool, a business' strategy has to be a bit more precise.
When developing a Pinterest-based marketing platform, a business first has to take note of an example set forth by Facebook in that a fan page should be like a community, but adapt this idea to fit the Pinterest style. Unlike what was mentioned in the recent Facebook Case Study where a company was a community leader, with Pinterest the business in question has to be more integrated in that it is a member of the community itself.
One company that successfully uses Pinterest as a marketing tool is retail and building supply chain: Lowes with over three million followers.
Moving Away from Tradition
Almost 70 years old, Lowes is no stranger to marketing as it has gone through almost every kind of campaign, from magazine and newspaper to radio, television and now online with social media and website ads. Most of the time its ads would focus on products, in-store sales and promotions or the efficiency of its sales associates, such as one campaign used in 2010. Although effective, when using Pinterest Lowes had to move away from this promotional tactic to show followers how its products could help them and what at projects these items might be useful with.
As was mentioned, Pinterest is all about pinning, or sharing content from others sites, which is something that Lowes has done with its 47 boards and 1,695 pins. Instead of merely pinning photos of its inventory, such as a toolset or furniture saying that they have that item in stock and what its price is, Lowes has taken photos from its website and made suggestions on how people can use this product in their own home. An example of this is the posting of its Patio Gatewood furniture set, which features a couch, chairs and tables with the caption “Bring comfort and style to your patio.”
This simple statement not only encourages engagement as it has 111 likes, 16 comments and 1447 pins, but also promotes curiosity in that a visitor might want to know more about the product and thus will click on the photo to be redirected to the Lowes website. In doing so, they may become interested in buying the featured item and other products, which will equal more revenue and ROI for Lowes.
Repin, Repin, Repin
It’s not enough for a company to post content from it own website or product catalogue, a business has to integrate itself into the wider Pinterest community by posting content from websites and other Pinterest pages that aren't part of the Lowes brand. This shows users that the company is just as interested in what its followers and others are doing on the site.
An example of a post that Lowes has repinned is from Pinterest user Laura Barnes’ board Kids, which featured a bug repellant idea for sandboxes. This idea suggested that an affordable alternative to traditional bug sprays was for parents to add cinnamon to the sand to ward off flies and mosquitoes. The post itself was originally from user Kristen B’s profile and since it was first pinned over a year ago has a total of 713 repins from other users, including Lowes.
Not Everything, Just the Kitchen Sink
Despite Pinterest having a vast amount of page categories, with a vast amount of items that can be pinned in each specific category, a company does not have to pin every single item its store sells. Businesses should highlight one or two items from its stock or something that relates to a particular event or season.
As the summer season has just started, Lowes has decided to focus on outdoor spaces and tools that can be used to build these spaces. One of the company’s boards is "Outside Your Home", which features furniture, stone walkways and yard decorations. Despite only having 56 items pinned, the board itself has 78,415 followers. A photo of garden posts with the caption “ A Rainbow Color for Your Garden” which was re-pinned a little over a week ago already has 38 likes, two comments and 338 repins. The item itself was pinned from a source external to the Lowes page, but with the subtle rule in place suggests to visitors that they could buy items needed for this project from Lowes, such as paint and wood.
A Deal Here, A Contest There
Despite Pinterest being part of this new wave of social media marketing, there is always room for for businesses to incorporate older marketing tricks. Contests have always been a good way to reward current customers and attract new customers, which is something that can be done through Pinterest. The following is a contest that’s listed on Lowes' “It’s Time to Shine” board:
Pin for a chance to win your dream outdoor space designed by HGTV's Jamie Durie, and $5,000 in Lowe's products/services. Two steps to get started: 1. Enter at www.lowes.com/pinterestsweepstakes. 2. Re-pin five images from this board.”
Not only does this contest encourage more board traffic and re-pins and product sales, but also takes note of other interests that visitors may have, such as home design shows on HGTV.
Another way to encourage more traffic is by offering deals, but in modern, Pinterest- friendly way. One board that Lowes has is "50 Projects Under $50". While most of the items pinned are originally from other Pinterest users, Lowes shows its followers fun, budgeted projects they can do over the summer months. An example from the board is a collection of spray painted folding chairs with the caption “Even folding chairs can get a facelift. Use spray paint and make them feel better.”
At first glance Pinterest seems to just a be site where people mindlessly post photos of items from websites and other sources, but it's more than that. It’s a community of content where people can relate to other users and find something in common with someone else. This in turn can help companies relate to their customers and customers to companies. That's an important element of today's digital marketing strategy.