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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 3111 - July 18, 2013 - ISSN 1539-5065    3 of 4

Using Pinterest to Attract and Engage Customers

By David A. Utter
July 18, 2013

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Ecommerce pros have been waiting for social media to step up and influence a greater share of traffic to online sellers. According to one report, social media represented 1.55 percent of all ecommerce traffic in the first quarter of 2013, behind search and email.

At social media marketing firm PinLeague, which offers Pinterest analytics tools, company CEO and co-founder Danny Maloney has seen some interesting trends emerge around Pinterest and the brands using it to push ecommerce. Maloney took some time to participate in a question and answer session with EcommerceBytes.com about this.

For online sellers engaging in Pinterest, how are they using that site?

Danny Maloney: Online retailers are using Pinterest in a number of ways. The primary strategies we see are:

  • Engaging fans and customers to build deeper relationships, attracting repeat purchasing;

  • Building an online catalogue highlighting their offerings to attract new users;

  • Pinning in high volume to establish additional inbound links for SEO purposes.

The really advanced sellers are incorporating Pinterest into multi-channel marketing approaches. For example, at PinLeague we work with ecommerce companies to distribute emails to their subscribers with personalized content based on each individual's preference of social network (Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter) and what they've been pinning lately. This drives direct sales through targeted product promotion and site visitation, but also yields a substantial viral impact as their fans share those items, encouraging others to discover the seller's site.

How many views and click-throughs are the average online sellers seeing from their Pinterest presence?

Danny Maloney: "Average" we don't know. What we can say is that we've seen online retailers generating 10,000s of incremental visits per month - and have heard of some generating 100,000s. It takes time to build on Pinterest though. If you're just starting to build your presence, don't imagine it'll suddenly yield a ton of traffic. It won't. You'll need to stick with it and invest in the channel over time to see those types of results.

How does PinLeague measure success for an online seller?

Danny Maloney: We push online retailers to measure the direct ROI of their engagement on Pinterest. A simple two-click Google Analytics integration on our dashboard helps you do this. The primary objective for most sellers is to increasing engagement and traffic stats month over month - more followers, more new repins, more comments, more pins from your website, more visitors. If you're using any paid media, we like to see that the purchase is at least break-even. That means the long-term benefits from building distribution are all upside. Most sellers don't get that anymore from other channels, such as AdWords.

What suggestions do you have for how an online seller should be using Pinterest?

Danny Maloney: A few key things you should be doing:

1) Engage authentically. Sales and traffic come later. Serve your customer first, and they'll reward you later.

2) Measure, measure, measure and optimize as you go. Get a Pinterest Dashboard to help; it saves a lot of time.

3) Look into Pinterest's Rich Pins offering. It'll become a significant traffic driver down the line - and already increases the likelihood of clickthroughs from Pinterest.

About the author:

David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. Send your tips to media@davidautter.com and find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.

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