Originally published in Examiner
Pinterest – the visual-based social bookmarking site where users “Pin” pictures they find on the web – has become the new darling of the social sharing sphere. CNN called Pinterest “2012′s hottest website”, after unique visitors to the site grew 400% from September to December 2011. The site’s popularity just keeps on growing.
Business owners are already beginning to understand the power behind Pinterest, using the site to generate traffic to their shops and spread awareness about their brands. Many businesses find Pinterest generates more traffic than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined. And since the site’s demographic is mainly women – with apparel, food and décor being the most commonly pinned items – its women entrepreneurs who are leading the Pinning revolution.
Melanie Duncan is one such female entrepreneur whose business is booming thanks to Pinterest. It’s hard to believe that earlier this year she didn’t even know the site existed!
Melanie owns Luxury Monograms – a website specializing in monogrammed décor and gifts. Her range includes throw pillows, tableware, towels, shower curtains and apparel featuring bold monograms in a variety of styles. About four months ago she noticed a huge spike in traffic to her site. “When I logged into my Analytics account I was shocked to see that Pinterest had become my site’s number 1 traffic referral source, above Google and Facebook.
“But what was even more exciting was that the traffic was converting. I was getting thousands of dollars in sales and thousands of new visitors to my site each month just from others pinning my products on Pinterest. Once I realized the opportunity, I created an account for my business and began to develop marketing strategies for using it.”
Melanie’s boards are a mix of product pictures and general décor and apparel inspiration. “For example, I sell entertaining items like placemats and napkins. I know my customers are inspired by beautiful tablescapes, so I mix my offerings with large subject matter boards like Tablescapes, since those generate the most followers. I find that giving customers ideas for how the products can be used and styled is very powerful.”
Melanie has a board called “Blissful Bedding” where her monogrammed pillow shams are interspersed with dozens of images of beautiful beds and bedrooms. She filled the “Bridal Shower and Wedding Gift Ideas” board with products that compliment her own items, and even pins press clippings about Luxury Monograms to add a level of authenticity.
So how does Pinterest fit into Melanie’s overall marketing strategy? “For me, the real advantage of Pinterest comes from adding the “Pin It!” button below product images and blog posts – this encourages others to generate exposure FOR me. I have noticed that reminding people and making it easy for them to pin my products is the most effective use of Pinterest for my business.”
Melanie has also hosted a number of successful contests through Pinterest. Contests further encourage fans to re-pin her products, gaining even wider exposure for Luxury Monograms.
“My followers are women who love to decorate and entertain. I develop effective information on my Pinterest account that inspires and educates on product usage and ideas. Inspiration is a very effective marketing tool.”
Melanie, who now hosts webinars teaching other entrepreneurs how to use Pinterest, says the platform has shown her the real power of social sharing, as well as allowing her to find a new passion. “Each morning I wake up to an inbox full of stores wanting to carry my line, magazine editors wanting to feature me and tons and tons of sales. The only thing I love more than seeing my business do well is being able to help other entrepreneurs do the same.”