Definition: Pinterest is an image-based social media network where users and businesses can promote and explore their interests by pinning images and videos on virtual bulletin boards. Pinterest has evolved into a highly-effective selling tool for online businesses due to its visual nature and retail-friendly audience .

What makes Pinterest valuable to businesses?

More than 95 percent of Pinterest users have researched products on Pinterest, and almost 90 percent bought something because of what they saw on there, according to a recent study. This high level of intent gives Pinterest more direct marketing potential than any other social network, making a presence on Pinterest a highly recommended option for ecommerce businesses.

The value of a post has a longer lifespan

When a user or business posts content to a social media site, that post has an average lifespan where visibility and impact diminish over time. Website traffic and sales leads acquired through pins typically last longer than posts on any other social media website. Without any boosts from advertising, Facebook and Twitter posts have an average shelf life of a couple hours, whereas businesses sometimes get leads from Pinterest after 30 days or more.

More followers means greater brand awareness

The more followers your brand has, the greater the impact of your pins. In earlier years, Pinterest displayed content in chronological order, but all that changed after the introduction of its Smart Feed. Similar to the changes Facebook made to its News Feed, Smart Feed is an advanced algorithm that determines which pins users see in their feeds, and brands with a large number of followers often get greater visibility. Some experts advise companies to pin between 15 and 20 times daily in order to grow a loyal following on Pinterest.

Use buy buttons to get sales leads

Starting in 2015, Pinterest introduced a feature that will be a boon to ecommerce retailers. Buyable pins allow businesses to purchase products directly from their Pinterest accounts. Now, brands can place a button that says Buy It alongside the Pin It button inside their images, and when users click to purchase they go to a landing page where they can check out using Apple Pay. This new feature is expected to reap huge rewards for online retailers, especially during the holiday season.

How businesses succeed on Pinterest

Ecommerce stores will find the greatest success on Pinterest by focusing on quality, frequency and consistency. The network is driven by a passionate and engaged community, so it's important to curate a compelling board that demonstrates the ideas and inspiration behind your brand. Posting great content on a regular basis will help you grow an audience that's likely to share and buy your products.

Brands can also find creative ways to repurpose content and increase their reach by using other boards. Whenever your company publishes a new blog post or video, you can create a compelling image and share it with your followers. Some businesses also schedule pins on group boards in order to maximize the reach and distribution of their content.

Pinterest is arguably the most sales-centric social media network available to ecommerce retailers today. Not only can brands create a loyal and engaged audience that actively shares exciting products with other users, they can enable people to click to buy the item without ever leaving the website. Unlike most other social media, Pinterest is a destination for shoppers, as well as people looking to connect with friends, and ecommerce stores should focus their efforts on courting them.

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