There’s a new player to the social media scene: Pinterest. And it attracts Etsy fans by the droves. Why? Because Pinterest isn’t just a place to chat and connect, it’s a place to be visual. To see many beautiful things and gather together images of the things you love. It is, truly, a visual buffet. For both Etsy shop owners and customers who shop at Etsy, Pinterest offers that same great visual appeal that makes selling and buying at Etsy so fun.
If you’re an Etsy shop owner, Pinterest offers you a clean, crisp and user-friendly platform for showcasing your wares. And with easy Etsy-Pinterest integration, you can easily update Pinterest anytime you add new products to your store.
When you create a Pinterest account, you’re able to create visual boards where you can place images. Then, other Pinterest users are able to browse your visual boards and grab your images to share with their friends and followers, called ‘pinning.’ Like other social networks, Pinterest has the capacity to showcase your images to hundreds or thousands of people, depending on how well you create your Pinterest network.
Sound like a lot of work to add to your already jam-packed day? Luckily, it’s not. Pinterest is fast and easy to use, not to mention incredibly fun to browse when you have the time. When used correctly, you can create an entirely new sense of community around your products. This community craves a visual feast. Let’s learn more about how to feed them.
Grab an Invite
Pinterest is currently only allowing you to create an account if you’ve received an invitation from another user. If you know someone who uses Pinterest, ask them for an invite. If you don’t, post to Twitter or Facebook that you’d like an invite and someone will likely be able to help you. If all else fails, jump over to the Etsy community forum and post that you’re looking for a Pinterest invite. You’re likely to get one super-quick.
Otherwise, surf to Pinterest and click on the ‘request an invite’ tab in the upper right hand corner. Enter your email address and wait for Pinterest to invite you-usually within a week.
Set up Boards you Love
When you sign up for Pinterest, the site offers you some ready-made board topics to choose from, like ‘dream home,’ ‘favorite recipes,’ and ‘design ideas.’ Go ahead and grab the boards that you want to use and then create the boards you really want.
Use the ‘Add+’ button at the top right-hand side of the Pinterest page. A pop-up will appear that allows you to create a new board. Go ahead and create a board for your Etsy shop. Then, make sure to add as many other boards as you like, for the things you are interested in. Because Pinterest is about social networking, create boards where others can see your awesome sense of style and the things you love. You can add anything: hobbies, favorite books or authors, interests and so much more. To keep followers engaged and wanting more, post new things to your Pinterest boards often.
Pinterest is a visual platform, one that reaches people with beautiful photography and well-styled images and products. Be sure to offer up the best possible images of your own products when making a board for your Etsy shop. The better your images, the more possibility they have of getting re-pined and going viral. Like Etsy, you’ll see many images with a crisp white background. If you’re struggling to achieve this standard look, try Fotofuze.com to help add a clean, white background to your product images. No matter what background you choose, be sure your images are clear and show awesome detail to help draw buyers in.
Following the Right People
Once you’ve set up your boards, you’ll want to start connecting with the community by following others and having them follow you. A great place to start is to connect with your friends and family on Facebook. Pinterest allows you to see which of your Facebook followers also have Pinterest accounts. Choose the contacts that represent your client base or have the ability to re-pin your images and spread the word about your business.
Then, do a general Pinterest search for products similar to yours, or related products that your target market may use. If you sell bath and body products, do a search for popular hairstyles or make-up techniques. You’ll find hundreds of images that people have used to create their own Pinterest boards. When you click on any image, it will take you to the board that contains it. Then, you’ll be able to see who the user is, and if he or she seem to be in your market, follow them. This helps you set up a network of people who represent your market and are likely to be interested in your products.
Do the same for your non-Etsy shop boards. If you want to follow others based on interests or hobbies, do so. The more you connect and grow, the better your overall Pinterest exposure will be.
Tell Your Clients that You Use Pinterest!
Are your buyers are using Pinterest? You can bet they are! People who love to browse and buy on Etsy are all about visual goodies and Pinterest draws them like a moth to a flame. Go ahead and let your buyers know to connect with you on Pinterest! Add a link to your Pinterest page on your Etsy shop announcement or in individual product listings, just as you would your business Facebook fan page. If you have business cards, consider adding your Pinterest link there as well.
Inviting your customers to pin with you helps them stay connected to your business. And, with luck and lots of good networking, they will re-pin your images to their own boards and help spread the word.
Pinterest is designed to curate and share things you love. If there is a photo or project you’re proud of, pin away! However, try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion.
If your intent is to create boards for your Etsy products only, and then repeatedly re-pin them (spam, as we call it), you’ll likely be shut down in a hurry. And, no one will really care. Remember, Pinterest is a social networking place—a place where like-minded people gather to share ideas. You need to cultivate a mixture of business and personal interests, with more emphasis placed on the personal than the business. Consider this: every time you add a new image of an Etsy product, add two or three to a non-business board. Share a new recipe or home design idea and throw in the business images as a, ‘by the way.’ This helps your followers know you’re not just trying to grab their cash, and Pinterest will be happier with you overall.
Research Your Market
The Pinterest community is a great resource for finding out what your target market likes and what it doesn’t like. When you choose people to follow, be sure to select people that are your target market as well. For instance, if you sell baby products, you’ll want to follow mothers who are likely to use your products. This way, you have a nice platform for getting some advice or opinions on your products.
You can use Pinterest for market research a couple of ways:
- See what others are buzzing about:
Following people in your target audience allows you to see what they are pinning on their own boards. You can also peek at what they are grabbing from others’ boards and re-pining. They may love a certain product, color or style that you can incorporate, with your own spin and creation, into your product line. Also, read comments posted to popular pinned images. What are people saying about the products they love? This can provide further insight that might be useful.
- Post a new product and get opinions:
If you’re coming out with a new product or service, post images and ask your followers what they think. Invite them to re-pin your images to share with their friends and followers, and prove comments. Then, watch carefully to see how often your images are circulated and the types of feedback people are giving you. Pinterest will notify you when something you’ve pinned has been grabbed and re-pined by someone else, making it easier to follow along.
Connect Pinterest to Everything
Etsy has easy Pinterest integration for all the items in your shop. Simply go into your shop and click on any item. On the left hand side of the screen, beneath the, ‘see who favorites this item’ link, is a row of social media buttons. Click on the Pinterest button to add your product to your Pinterest board. A little pop-up will appear that allows you to select the board you want to pin to. Once you’ve pinned your item, a little banner with the price will appear on the image, along with a clickable ‘Etsy’ link that leads back to your shop. This way, when your images are re-pinned, people are led back to your shop.
If you haven’t pinned anything from your shop yet, take some time to do so. Then, remember to pin anything new you add along the way. Keep your images nicely organized on different boards, if applicable, to make it easier for people to browse.
You can also:
- Connect Pinterest to Facebook and Twitter: When you sign into Pinterest with your Facebook account, you’re able to send your latest pins right to your Facebook page. To make sure you’re set up on Facebook and Twitter, log into Pinterest and click on your name, then ‘settings.’ Under ‘settings’ you’ll see buttons for Facebook and Twitter. Make sure those are turned on so you’re connected.
- Place a ‘Pin It’ button on your website: Make it easy for shoppers to pin images of your products from your stand-alone website if you have one. Place a ‘pin it’ button on your website by following the instructions in Pinterest’s help guide.
- Grab a mobile app: You can keep up with all the latest pins and manage your Pinterest account on the go. Grab a mobile Pinterest app so you’re always connected.
Interact with Your Followers
Like any social media website, Pinterest is completely interactive. To have any successful social marketing campaign, you need a balance of social interaction and self-promotion. In other words, if you only and consistently pimp your own products without actually engaging in the community, you’ll quickly be shut out (or ignored all together). You don’t want that.
In addition to creating Pinterest boards just for sharing things you love, you can interact with your followers in other ways, too. First, grab a hold of other boards that you love and share them. Leave comments on others’ pin boards too and really delve into being an active member of the community.
Other ways to build your community while shining some light on your Etsy shop:
- Create a ‘sneak peak’ board. People love to see what’s behind the scenes, so consider creating a board all about your business and your team (even if it’s just you!). Post images of your office or creating area, your product being made or artsy shots of you creating. Give a face to your business while showing off your brand and style at the same time.
- Ask your customers for images of your product in use, and then create a client board. Add images of your products being worn, displayed or whatever is fitting for what you sell. Ask your client permission to pin the images first, so they know they are about to be pinned.
- Hold a friendly competition with a juicy reward. Ask your followers to re-pin some of your product images. The followers who re-pin the most images in a set amount of time can win a prize from your shop. Be creative and think of fun ways to hold good-spirited competitions to help spread your images and get the word out about your shop.
- Create a coupon or specials board and promote it. Consider creating a coupon graphic and posting it for your followers to take advantage of. Encourage them to re-pin the coupon to help it go viral. Be sure you’ve also set up the exact coupon code in your Etsy shop so buyers have a smooth transaction. If you have products for sale at a deep discount, or (gasp) to give away, add them to your ‘specials’ board as well.
Pinterest isn’t just for lovely images, it’s also for video! If you’ve been thinking about making videos about your Etsy products, keep Pinterest in mind when you’re done. You can create videos of your products being produced, used or styled in a lifestyle clip. For instance, if you sell food items, create a video of your delicious items being used in a recipe, or in an event, such as a wedding buffet. Or, if you sell clothing, create short videos of all the ways to wear your garments and how to style them. Then, create a Pinterest board just for your product videos.
To upload video, simply go to the ‘Add +’ button and select ‘upload pin.’ Place the link to your video in the bar and upload. Viola!
Create a Motivation Board
There is a reason you do what you do—a profound reason for running your Etsy business. What is it? Do you want to be financially independent or just release your creative side? Perhaps your business allows you to stay home with your kids or save for their college education. Maybe you’ve got your eye on an international vacation or long-awaited get-away. Whatever your reasons for working as darn hard as you do, Pinterest can help keep you motivated.
How? Create vision boards to remind yourself why you put in the crazy long hours that you do and deal with all the madness home-entrepreneurship can bring. Create Pinterest boards that draw you back to the game when you’re feeling like giving up.
- Create a board of your kids: Put together your favorite family and kid pics and make a pretty board for yourself. You can create a timeline of your baby’s milestones or images of your teenager from birth to today. If your kids are your motivation, let their pretty faces get you moving.
- Create a board of travel: Dreaming of a warm, sunny destination? Go ahead and create a board of the place you hope to travel to, especially if sales from your Etsy shop will help you get there. Make as many boards as you need to, to represent the places you want your business to take you.
- Create a home board: Gather images of your dream home or dream décor. Arrange them on a ‘dream home’ Pinterest board. When you take a moment for coffee, let yourself stare longingly at the houses you’ve gathered. If you want to walk through a new front door one day, you need to keep working now!
Whatever it is—whatever your motivation, create it and keep going. Who knew Pinterest could be so good for business and your business soul? Well, you do now, so use it, love it and happy pinning!