P-Tailing: Pinterest Tips for eTailers

P-tailing using Pinterest to Drive Ecommerce

From a personal perspective, I’m a fan of Pinterest. From a business perspective, I am a HUGE fan of Pinterest. Why? Well the stats are staggering on how much the site, while still in beta, has grown to the point where it drives more referring traffic than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined!  Pinterest is becoming an increasingly important tactic for all of the social media strategist of ecommerce sites and retail brands.

Armchair Psychology behind the Pin

To understand the success of Pinterest you have to understand the psychology behind the act of “pinning”.  Pinning is a declaration.  A declaration that the Pinned image (ergo the object(s) in the image) is worth sharing.  It could simply be beautiful photograph or work of art but most of what you’ll find are objects of desire. When Pinners create Boards (collections of Pins) they become a collage of that pinner’s visual representation of their personal brand crafted (intentionally or subliminally) for public consumption. Public, mind you. Not just for friends. Pinners are curators of whatever they deem shareable. There’s even a gaming mechanic the comes in the reward of having their Pin “repinned” by as many people as possible. Repinning is not exactly a follow of Twitter and it’s far from the Friend on Facebook. It’s more like a hat-tip to say thanks for sharing. Eventually, the hat-tips become follows of a pinner’s board or entire collection of Boards.  Because the act of Pinning and Repinning is so effortless and visually driven it becomes in some ways more of an act of lust rather than a gesture of love or even a “Like”.  But that’s the secret sauce of Pinterest – we as marketers can turn that lust into sales and brand equity.

Purchase Intent and the Pin

There are many adjectives that can explain reasons behind a Pin such as “cool”, “interesting”, “amazing” but I’m more interested in one verb – “Want”. It’s easy for eTailers to be fooled by the visceral, lustful and even passionate act of thousands of Pins as a love of the brand. It’s not. It’s a collective of individuals declarations of “Want” of the brand’s object. Remember, they’re going by visuals alone. The difference between converting a Pin to a one-off sale versus converting the Pinner to a lifelong customer is still driven by the immutable laws of branding. Lust, love or like, the act of Pinning speaks volumes on purchase intent. And it’s because of this, that Pinterest is a game changer for eTailer and retail brands.  Our challenge create catalyst that drive conversion in their moment of attraction.

Turning a Pin into a Win

So in the end Pinterest is going to be force to be reckoned with.  What do you do? Pinterest does not yet have any kind of advertising model that we as marketers can leverage to reach our target audience. So how do you turn a Pin into a win?  Here are just a few quick ideas to get the Pinning started.

  • Ask for Follow
    This may seem obvious, but invite visitors to follow you by adding a Pinterest button on your site.
  • Find Influencers on Pinterest
    Sign up for PinReach to discover, follow and engage Pinterest influencers in your category.
  • Search for Your Brand’s Wants
    In the Pinterest search box, type in the word “Want” and your brand/product and follow those who have mentioned you then repin their Pins.  For example, type in “Want Victoria’s Secret” and you’ll see a cavalcade of Pins.
  • Reward your Frequent Pinners
    Reward your frequent Pinners. To find them, type http://pinterest.com/source/YourDomain to see who your most passionate Pinners are and reward them in them in a big and very public way.  Promote your Pinterest campaign across all channels.
  • Make your site “Pinterest Friendly”
    Turn Pinterest into a powerful branding and PR tool. Make your site Pinterest friendly by peppering it with imagery that is “Pinteresting”. Invest in photography, create stunning visuals, get creative with your product shots but think about what that image will look like as a 200×200 pixels.  Most importantly, be sure the images are recognizable by Pinterest.  Flash content, for example, is a no go. Look what happened when I tried to Pin the Nike+ Fuelband!
    Nike's Not So Pinterest Friendly Site
  • Create “Pin Farms”
    Yes product shots should be beautiful but why not create a what I call a “Pin Farm”? What’s a Pin Farm? It’s an easily browsable gallery of photos of really Pinteresting shots with your products featured in them. Design the page(s) to drive Pins. Five word, keyword rich captions and an easy way to convert to a sale.
  • Mobilize the Pin
    Don’t forget about Pinterest’s mobile app!  Put some “Pin This” calls to action on your displays and encourage real-life pins. Better yet, use QR code to drive to the Pinterest page of the real life object and ask for the Pin.
  • Architect Your Boards’ Information
    Organize your Pinterest Boards to align with your product categories. If they don’t align with what is organically happening on Pinterest, you may want to rethink your site’s information architecture.  As people browse your brand’s Pinterest page, they should be able to find accessories for example, as quickly and easily as they would on your site.
  • Tagging for Dollars
    Be sure to put a “$” and price for your Pinned products. It will show up under the “Gifts” tab and SCREAMS “buy me” in the process.
  • Pinteresting to SEO
    You can leverage Pinterest to drive traffic to your site if you optimize your Pinterest brand page for image search. Here’s a great post I found on Google+ with nice tips.
  • Ask for the Pin
    Along with your Like, +1 and Tweet buttons on each product on your eCommerce site, be sure to add your “Pin This” button.

If you like Pinterest, You may Also Like…

If your in the fashion arena, I highly recommend Pose.com. It went live around the time of Pinterest and has a eerily similar user interface. The main difference is this is consumer generated content where “Posers” snap photos of themselves wearing their favorite fashions then post to Pose for peer review.  Follow the influencers including Rachel Zoe and engage.  Heck, might as well Pin your Poses!

NYT and The Daily on iPad: Media Companies’ Missed Opportunity

The launch of The Daily on the iPad is likely to be a step in the right direction, but media companies (Newspapers, Periodicals, TV & Radio) are still trying to put an engine on a horse-drawn buggy and calling it a car.

The Bad News First

Media companies need to realize that going digital is not just about turning picas into pixels. It’s about sparking a relevant dialogue that is wrapped around content delivered at the right time on the right device that empowers that user experience.
The best example of what NOT to do is my hometown’s newspaper, The Columbus Dispatch (locally owned along w/ TV & Radio Stations). By now you’ve heard of Ted Williams, the homeless man with the golden voice. Well, the paper had YouTube remove the video due to copyright claims. True as it may be, had the video not been posted, it would never have gone viral. They insisted on viewing the video on THEIR site in hopes of benefiting from the ad impressions. Hours later after backlash from twitterverse, the video was back up, but now on the paper’s YouTube channel (great!).
But this “mine, mine, mine” philosophy about content is the same antiquated approach the music industry had about MP3 downloads. As soon as they realized that the horse and buggy industry was gone, they adapted and are reemerging and embracing the digital space.

The Good News

Media companies power is NOT in controlling the content, but rather creating, curating, validating and distributing the content. Think about it. You’re pitching a company on a big project and you need facts. What’s more reputable – a quote from my blog or The New York Times? Media company’s editorial process means the content is well written and based on fact. Their access to the insiders of a story is deep and wide which ultimately means better content.

The Inconvenient Truth

This is NOT 1990 anymore.
The internet changed EVERYTHING.
Facebook changed EVERYTHING.
Twitter changed EVERYTHING.
Content is everywhere so convincing viewers that your content is better is like Gary Vaynerchuck convincing the guy chugging Boone’s Farm that a $50 of wine tastes better! YOU know it’s better! I know it’s better! But to the Boone’s Farm guy?…Not so much. And even then, I’m not convinced it’s worth what your charging. I am convinced, however, that when I subscribe to a newspaper I get a tangible object delivered to me. The exchange of value is simple to demonstrate. But content delivered to me on screen?? It’s not the same.

What to Do?

Here’s where I think media companies are missing the boat…ARCHIVES! This is where people can and will be willing to pay. Imagine if you will, a freemium subscription model for media companies where they BREAK the free news that goes viral because they empowered consumers to share as they see fit under creative commons. They get the traffic as long as the story is hot. They’re on their home turf doing what you do best -breaking important news. NOW, let’s say a year later, I’m writing a report to submit to a client and this story has the facts I need to cite. THIs is where I’d be willing to pay for premium content. I’ll pay market value for that news story. The price is set by demand tracked by their analytics and social sentiment. So one story may be $50, while another may be $1. The best part? Subscribers get the story for free! Think about it, pay $50 for 1 story or for a 1 year subscription. The choice is obvious. Now your web site is a backchannel for all stories and the breaking story is the gateway. News breaks that relates to archived story? Sell it!!

In A Nut Shell

  • Your content is not as valuable as you think.
  • Your content does not belong to you. Liberate your content to the masses and the masses will thank you! Ask Ted Williams.
  • Create user experiences that are designed for the device in which the content is consumed. Repurposing content is a no no.
  • Don’t treat your digital ad inventory like the red-headed step child. It has value if you hire someone to monetize it to it’s potential.
  • Forget everything you think you know or you will be a black smith serving horseless society.
  • What you learn about digital this will be old news by evening drive time so don’t just break news, break new ground.

Are Microsoft Tags the “go to” 2D barcode for major publishers? Allure’s $725,000 give away is compelling.

Allure to Give Away $725,000 Worth of Beauty Products via Microsoft Tags

Allure magazine has partnered with Microsoft Tag for its annual Free Stuff issue this August, allowing readers to use their smartphones to participate in $725,000 worth of beauty product giveaways, which are awarded on a first-come, first-win basis.

 

In years past, readers could log on to Allure’s website to enter the contests and sign up for text alert reminders. This year, however, the promotion is moving to smartphones.

To take part in the contests, which begin August 2, readers can type gettag.mobi into their mobile browsers to download the Microsoft Tag Reader. Using the app, they can scan the Tag in the magazine or on Allure’s Free Stuff page to register. Users can also opt to get text message alerts 15 minutes before each event occurs and then scan the Tag to enter.

For those unfamiliar with Microsoft Tag, the product is Microsoft’s version of the QR code, a 2-D barcode that can be scanned using a QR reader app to pull up images, video and a range of other interactive features. Although there are a number of QR code readers available in smartphone app stores, Microsoft Tag requires its own reader app.

Of course, I love 2D Barcodes. Microsoft proves that it can swing its weight to get major publishers to use their proprietary Microsoft Tag. Using 2D barcodes for contests is a GREAT application of the technology.

QR Codes Presentation: IRL to URL

Here’s the long form presentation of the presentation I gave the the Columbus Social Media Club back in 2010.  With iOS11 supporting QR codes in the iPhone camera, I thought it might be good to resurrect this as marketers will be looking for information on how to leverage this old/new school tactic of connecting in real life(IRL) to URL landing pages.

Acappella Media presentation at Social Media Club Video.5 Minute Power Preso