Five ways to use Pinterest this holiday season

Pinterest’s meteoric rise to near the top of the social networking ranks and its ability to drive eCommerce sales make it a ripe opportunity for merchants. Now, with the upcoming holiday season potentially driving more users than ever to pin and share their most-wanted products, maximizing the efficacy of a brand’s Pinterest presence should be a top priority.

The holiday-themed pinboards popping up on merchants sites are just one way to capitalize on seasonal Pinterest activity. Across touchpoints, opportunities abound to create compelling Pinterest content, integrate it with relevant offers and encourage pinning and re-pinning. Among them:

Take advantage of rich pins. As we’ve discussed in a previous post, merchants who don’t have an official brand outpost on Pinterest can still leverage the site’s popularity by making their eCommerce site content pin-worthy. Additionally, merchants should use structured markup to ensure their product information can be parsed by Pinterest’s “rich pins” feature, which automatically incorporates and displays product information such as price and in-stock status. As further incentive to delve into the code, in August Pinterest introduced an enhancement that alerts pinners via email when the price drops on pinned items — essentially providing a price-watching service for favorite products. It’s an invaluable tool for merchants, especially during the holiday season, when consumers will be on the hunt for price breaks.

Pinterest email notification

Use boards to capture a lifestyle experience. Too often, merchants who do have Pinterest profiles for their brands simply use pinboards to replicate eCommerce site categories, rather than taking advantage of the ability to showcase a curated array of items and influences. While doing the latter requires a greater investment in resources, merchants who create truly engaging pinboards are not only more likely to attract potential buyers, but also demonstrate their understanding of customers’ priorities and lifestyle inspirations, boosting the credibility of the brand.

MarketLive merchant Griot’s Garage features a pinboard called “On the Lot,” showcasing interesting cars spotted in the parking lot of the brand’s flagship store. While the board features no product links, it serves to demonstrate that Griot’s is powered by an appreciation for car restoration and unique vehicles — creating affinity with the brand’s clientele.

Griot's Garage pinboard on Pinterest

Use Pinterest content in email. Not only does the Pinterest site itself drive highly motivated shopping traffic to eCommerce sites, but Pinterest-related content can stimulate engagement and clicks in email campaigns as well. Marketing services firm Experian found that Pinterest-related campaigns generate open rates 11% higher and click rates 25% higher than other campaigns. To take advantage of this heightened attention, merchants should consider dedicating an email message to announcing the availability of a Pinterest brand outpost, craft email promotions around top-pinned items and enable pinning directly from message content.

MarketLive merchant Learning Resources promoted the availability of a Pinterest board especially for its UK audience with an email message enumerating five reasons to follow the brand and displaying a variety of boards as examples of the relevant content  the merchant offers.

Learning Resources' Pinterest email promo

Integrate Pinterest content within Facebook. While Pinterest is growing fast, Facebook continues to dwarf all rivals in terms of mass audience — so merchants should promote the availability of Pinterest content on Facebook, where their number of followers is likely to be larger. Additionally, they should consider integrating Pinterest content directly onto a Facebook tab as a means of showcasing the engaging content they’ve created, and encouraging Facebook followers to engage on another platform.

MarketLive merchant H2O Plus positions a link to its Pinterest tab prominently on its Timeline page on Facebook. Clicking the link showcases the brand’s pinboards, including intriguing theme boards such as “H2O Destinations” and “Beach Inspired Weddings.” The alluring content inspires the brand’s 57,000 Facebook followers to investigate further on the Pinterest site itself.

H2O Plus Pinterest-Facebook integration

Encourage wishlists with a sweepstakes contest. “Pin it to win it” contests are by now commonplace, but they’re worth mentioning again because they’re particularly apt now. Not only do such contests encourage shoppers to self-select favorite products, but during the holidays they’re likely to share their pinboards with others as de facto wish lists, upping exposure for the brand. It’s also worthwhile for merchants to revisit their “Pin it to win it” plans to ensure they comply with Pinterest’s tightened rules about contests and promotions — which include restrictions on requiring entrants to pin specific products.

MarketLive merchant Party City is engaging Halloween shoppers with its “Pin to Win” sweepstakes campaign, in which entrants pinning anything from the Party City Web site or Pinterest page qualify for the random drawing.

Party City Pinterest contest

How are you using Pinterest this holiday season?