By Nick Joelson, Digital Marketing Manager at Liberis

Did you know that Pinterest drives more traffic than Twitter? And that 47% of Pinterest users have bought a product as a direct result of a pin? Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social networking sites in the world. In the UK specifically, Pinterest has seen a 90% growth from 2011 to mid-2013.

Social media is the buzzword of the moment and that doesn’t look to change any time soon. In fact, with the European E-commerce market predicted to grow by 18.4% in 2015, reaching a whopping €185.39 billion in sales, it’s little surprise that everyone wants a slice of the pie.

But the amount of social networks can seem somewhat overwhelming.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Vine, Google+, Snapchat… The list goes on.

Unless you have unlimited resource, the best bet is to work out which social media networks are going to boost sales the most for your business and concentrate your efforts here.

Facebook and Twitter are the obvious ones – but they’re not always the best. If you’re overlooking Pinterest, then you could be missing a big opportunity to boost sales.

What is Pinterest?

For those who aren’t familiar with the network, Pinterest is basically an online pinboard, where users pin and group images of anything and everything they find interesting. Whatever your product line, marketing on Pinterest can boost your sales massively.

The key to Pinterest is that you have the potential to reach a huge audience, without a significant initial investment on your side. Pinned images are visible and can be repinned by all the original user’s followers – and all of Pinterest – so you’re getting your product in front of an engaged audience quickly and efficiently.

So, you’re sold, right?

But how do you do it?

Tip No.1: Pinterest SEO

Marketing 101: In order to buy your product, shoppers have to be able to find your product. There are a few simple Pinterest SEO tips that you should be implementing.

1) Let Google show your profile

It sounds obvious but if you’re not getting the traffic you’d like, it might be that your profile is hidden from Google. Go to Settings and then Search Privacy and make sure your settings indicate No.

2) Get a Business Account

You should definitely set up a Business account if you’re serious about using Pinterest to boost sales. Your Pinterest Business account will give you access to Pinterest analytics, showing metrics such as impressions, click rate and repins so you can see what’s working and what’s not (and refine your process accordingly).

3) Optimise your username

Pinterest Business Pages let you create your own unique company URL so make sure you’re taking advantage of this feature. Your username is limited to 15 characters and you want it to be clear and reflective of your business. You don’t want your potential customers to struggle to work out who you are.

4) Keywords, keywords, keywords

Make sure you use company keywords in your ‘About’ section, but keep it natural, not forced. Clearly explaining who you are and what you do will help potential customers find you.

This also applies to your Pinboards. When describing your pins bear your customer in mind: what are they searching for when they find your products?

5) Build trust

Good marketing is all about building trust – both with your consumer and with the search engines. Google ranks more highly if a page is a trusted source, and one of the ways it determines trust is by looking at number of inbound links. Make sure you’re linking back to your website on every pin and include your website in your profile in order to optimise your business PageRank.

Also make sure you verify your account. Verified accounts are more trustworthy in the eyes of the consumer – and in marketing, trust is everything.

Tip No.2: Coupons

Who doesn’t love a discount? Pinterest users are no different and using coupons to promote deals through Pinterest will help boost sales. In fact, Pinterest is particularly suited to the coupon tactic because it’s such a visual site.

Pinterest is a hotbed of coupon fanatics – plenty of users are dedicated to trawling Pinterest for the best deals and repinning them so other users can easily find hot offers. If you can get your coupons pinned on some of these prominent coupon boards your reach will extend massively, which will drive more traffic and ultimately boost more sales!

How to get set up?

Make a coupon board on your Pinterest account. Pin images of the coupon – make sure it’s eye-catching – and include detail about the offer.

There are a number of third party coupon applications out there which will make the process easier or you can run it directly through your company website.

Make sure you link back to your website in every pin – so users will always be able to click on your image and link back to your website and coupon page.

Tip No.3: Competitions

Competitions are a great way to boost sales on Pinterest. They build excitement and create positive brand sentiment as well as extending your reach by encouraging users to share and repin your products.

How to get set up?

Upload an eye-catching graphic with the rules and prize for your competition. Short and simple is the order of the day. Make your contest easy to enter and make sure you pick a prize people will want!

Here’s a great example:

This is a great competition from Urban Decay and one sure to boost their sales. They’ve used a compelling picture, easy-to-understand instructions and are extending their reach by asking users to repin and follow them in order to enter.

Follow their example and you’ll soon boost your sales too!

Tip No.4: Rich Pins

Pinterest is constantly adding new features designed to help Pinterest business users boost sales. Rich pins are a major new feature that every business should be making use of.

Rich pins are basically more detailed pins – they allow you to add and automatically update information such as product availability or price. In fact, it’s estimated that pins including a price attract 36% more likes than those without.

Rich pins are a great way to boost sales because they give more information to the consumer, which is vital in converting them into a paying customer. Pinterest will also send a price alert email to everyone who has engaged with your product if you drop the price by 10% or more… so you can effortlessly get more marketing exposure (and it’s free!).

You need to apply on Pinterest to get Rich pins, and your website needs to be coded up with the correct Meta tags. Read more about getting started with Rich Pins.

Tip No.5: Promoted Pins

This function is currently only being trialled in the US but it’s definitely one to watch for UK businesses in the future.

It’ll mean that Pinterest business user will be able to target messages to specific users, just as Facebook and Twitter adverts work currently. The potential here to boost sales is huge, given that Pinterest has one of the highest conversion rates of any social network and promises the highest Average Order value.

Pinterest is also rumoured to be introducing a Buy button as part of its overall E-commerce strategy, which will streamline the sales funnel even further and no doubt increase their conversion rates more still.

All in all, Pinterest is becoming one of the most important social media sites for businesses. It’s highly engaged, ready-to-buy audience is ready-made for retailers, and the savvy business is using Pinterest to boost sales.

In summary

Social media networks like Pinterest can be enormously profitable for businesses but they do require a sensible investment of time, ongoing management and great content.

If you’re looking to break into social media marketing and you need some additional capital to grow, a business cash advance is an alternative finance solution designed for smaller businesses. Unlike bank loans where you need a water tight business plan, a business cash advance can be used to fund whatever it is that you need for your business.