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Why Online Sellers May Be Interested in Pinterest How-to Pins

It’s fun to browse Pinterest boards looking at photos of products, places and people that other users have “pinned,” but now the social networking site is offering richer content through its new “how-to pins.”

Here’s how Pinterest explains the new feature: “The next time you find an interesting project or idea on Pinterest, you’ll see a snapshot of the steps right below the Pin image. You can also click or tap on any of the steps to get the full instructions and a list of supplies – without ever leaving Pinterest.”

Online sellers and artisans are bound to be interested in the pins as a new way to both attract and engage potential shoppers as well as prove their expertise (just as many sellers found eBay’s “Reviews and Guides” feature launched in 2005 provided them with greater exposure to shoppers and enhanced their credibility).

However, Pinterest launched the new how-to Pins to select brands to start, including Brit & Co, Food.com, and The Home Depot. Even more daunting to small sellers: “getting set up will require some technical elbow grease (we’ll ask you to create a custom JSON feed),” Pinterest explained.

If you are tech savvy enough to set up a JSON feed, you can apply on this page of the Pinterest website. You’ll need to tell the site about your business and what kind of instructional, step-by-step content you’d like to show.

Pinterest told TechCrunch that while individual users can repost how-to pins, they will not be able to create the pins themselves. “The content will come up in your home feed if you follow the brand, as well as in a search on a specific topic or keyword, or by visiting a participating brand’s profile.”

How-to pins don’t offer the ability to buy items featured, but TechCrunch speculated Pinterest could offer them as an ad unit in the future.

You can read the full announcement on the Pinterest blog.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.