How Pinterest Works for Small Retailers

By Aniya Wells

If you haven’t joined Pinterest yet, you will be surprised to discover that you need an invite. The delay in access is well worth the wait, especially for small retailers.

With a steadily growing fan base of millions of users, Pinterest is the fastest growing social media outlet on the Web. The great thing is that, unlike Facebook, Pinterest is geared to sharing images that relate to products or projects. For e-commerce sites or retailers who publish print catalogues, product photos are key for selling items.

If you are already taking product photos, the next step is to publish them to Pinterest. However, there is a finesse to sharing on Pinterest. Though Pinterest opens the door for businesses to share their products, at its heart the site is still very much social and peer-based. Instead of just rolling out a product, retailers must share products with the finesse of storytellers or neighbors.

Small and local businesses are still very close to the heart of the human passion that inspired their businesses, and they work personally with customers each day. For these businesses, sharing on Pinterest is not only a viable marketing option, it’s a natural element of connecting with consumers.

Create and Share a Story
When you begin developing your Pinterest campaign, forget about traditional advertising. No one is going to repin something that is blatantly self-serving. Research other boards and begin brainstorming creative approaches to featuring your product.

Your campaign will need to be visually compelling as each each photo will need to stand out in a collage of other photos. Timing is also important. Pinterest feeds are updated constantly, which means that your followers may miss out on some of your posts if you upload them en masse at a single time. You will also need to be conscious of the different time zones in which your clients are living.

For those who have yet to create product photos, there are a variety of options.

  • Hire someone to take professional product photos.
  • DIY with a quality camera and photo editing software.
  • DIY with Instagram or a similar application that adds artistic filter (focus on details)
  • Crowd sourcing

Creative Approaches to Photos
Because some of you may not be familiar with Instagram and other photo filtering applications, I would like to provide a brief explanation of how these can be used effectively. Instagram will edit any photo using a filter and will crop it in a square.

Retail stores can be extremely innovative with Instagram. Because the photo may be shared on a small platform (such as a mobile device), it is better to use these types of photos to focus on details of new inventory or to capture in-the-moment examples of clients who are using (and loving) your product.

Crowd sourcing is another brilliant way to get people to participate in your social media campaign. Free People, a retail clothing line, is currently executing a campaign for the brand’s denim. The company asked its customers to share photos of in which they are wearing Free People denim via Instagram. The winner will be feature on the Website.

A small retail company could post their favorite photos on their Pinterest site in a similar campaign. (Set a number, like Top 20, so people won’t be offended if they don’t make it.)

About the author
Aniya Wells particularly loves reading and writing about online education, although her interests span different niches as well, including personal finance, parenting, sustainable living, and more. Accredited online degree programs are hard to find in the online morass of scams, so Aniya’s ultimate goal is to help her readers figure out the maze of online education. She can be reached for questions or comments at

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