*This is a snipet of an article by Ms. Austin that appeared in the June 2013 Issue of Nursery Views. If you would like to read the entire article and would like a pdf copy of the magazine emailed to you, please email us at mail.knla@gmail.com.

Here’s a simple question… Is it easier to have a website or a Pinterest account rank highly as a result of a Google search? Answer…PINTEREST!

According to Rich Relevance studies, Pinterest shoppers now spend an average of $168 per order compared with the $94 from Facebook and $70 from Twitter shoppers. The same studies show Pinterest drives 25% of all retail referral traffic. Of the most popular Pinterest categories, 80% are commercially connected. Even the Wall Street Journal found Pinterest customers are twice as likely to purchase.

If you’re not using Pinterest, why not? Here’s a very quick history… Launched in March 2010, Pinterest grew at a faster rate than any other social media platform. As of 5/5/2013, 48.7 million users around the world spend an average of 14.2 minutes per visit. While visiting, they learn, have fun and share… all through the use of images called “pins.” It’s enjoyable, educational, and engaging. And, it’s become the 4th largest traffic driver and best at getting in front of customers. In short, it now effectively drives business. Business Insider wrote, “We expect Pinterest to become a one-stop-shop digital catalog and an indispensable brand and retailer platform.”

It’s a good time to include Pinterest in your marketing strategy…

GET A PINTEREST ACCOUNT
If you don’t have a Pinterest account, run over to www.pinterest.com and open one. It’s free and very easy. Pinterest lets you have both personal and business accounts. The latter has more business-related functions such as website verification and the new analytics. If you have more than one business, you may have more than one business account. If you currently have a personal account, you may convert it to a business account. This makes it easy for your current followers to keep following you.

You may open a personal account to “play” with it before opening a business account, but this isn’t necessary. To assist new business users, Pinterest created a business help center at www.business.pinterest.com. Topics include verifying the business website, placing Pin It buttons by website images and linking to Facebook. If you have difficulty, Pinterest implemented an efficient support email function.

Knowing your Pinterest analytics allows you to plan your business strategy. Obviously, it wastes time and doesn’t make sense to randomly pin to your boards. Strategically, you want to know what type of pins work the best, which are repinned the most, and which cause the viewers to click through to your website.
So…take a deep breathe and jump in!

USING PINTEREST STRATEGICALLY

Here are a few quick tips:
1. Add a “Follow Us at Pinterest” button to your site. Add the “Pin It” button to your website’s images.
2. Link your Facebook and Pinterest accounts, using Tabfusion or Woobox.
3. Pin creative and original images. Unbelievably, 80% of all pins are repins!
4. After pinning, be sure to “edit” and input your URL address to enable viewers to go directly to your product page or website.
5. Pin videos and a variety of pin types. Use analytics to determine which types drive the most traffic in your industry.
6. If you are selling a product, enter the price in the caption. Pins with prices get 36% more likes.
7. Always put a caption, including a call to action, on your pin. A caption increases the repin rate by 80%. Don’t forget the keywords! Search engines rank pins, too.
8. Using the hashtag (#) with a word creates hyperlinks when it’s a search term.
9. Stealth tip: If you don’t know where to start or what to post, find your competitors’ boards and follow them. If they have a pin repinned dozens of times, make a similar pin using your brand. It won’t take long to become comfortable and proficient creating high result pins to drive traffic to your site.

Contact Jacqui Austin, the Garden Center Writer, at Jacqui@gardencenterwriter.com. She’s played with plants since she was four years old, the grandchild of a plant obsessive grandmother. Now she writes for horticultural businesses to amply their message by writing “powerful words…promoting plants.” Pinterest is one of her recommended strategies.