Bramble Business Series: Navigating Pinterest

Within the past few years, photo-sharing website Pinterest has emerged as a haven for DIY-enthusiasts. With so many beautiful images and fun tutorials, it’s easy to spend an entire afternoon browsing. It’s no wonder then that is has also emerged as a full-blown way to successfully market and sell homemade bath & body products. We’re continuing our Bramble Business Series today with an overview of Pinterest and how to use it to your advantage.

Why Use Pinterest

Consider this: In February 2013 (this time last year), Reuters and ComScore reported that Pinterest had 48.7 million users around the globe. In terms of potential exposure for your products and brand, that is huge. Pinterest offers users an easy way to find and “pin” (that is, save or virtually scrapbook) just about anything they want to their own “boards,” which are collections of images or projects surrounded by a common theme. Pinterest is also picture-heavy, and allows for endless scrolling through millions of beautiful images. As a soapmaker, Pinterest is a great resource to learn and inspire. It’s not just for learning; you can take stunning photos of your own soapy products and reach millions of potential customers too.

Using Pinterest Effectively

Group Boards. If you are new to Pinterest and want to get some exposure for your product, blog posts or company, one of the best ways to do that is to join group boards. Group boards are shared pinboards where multiple people can pin on one board to share their ideas. In order to get on a group board, you must be invite by the creator (or admin) or you can even create your own. For inspiration on Group pinboards, you can take a look at Bramble Berry’s group board  Soapy Pinsters to get some inspiration. This is a great way to collaborate with other people in your industry and have your voice heard. If you end up creating your own board, be specific about the type of content you want to see along with any hashtags you want attached.

Our 52 boards are organized into all kinds of categories, including Yummy Food Recipes, Handmade Soap DIY Projects and Soaping FAQs.

Pin From the Source.  I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen the most amazing pin and clicked through to make it only to find out the directions were nowhere to be found. Make sure that every project, product or image that you pin has a source. They’ll be repinned more often if they link back to instructions or a tutorial that people can actually use.

Repins. One of the key elements of building a community on Pinterest is engaging with your particular audience. This means engaging with your followers through commenting and conversation. Follow their boards and repin projects or products of theirs that you like. It’s all about being an active participant in your community.

Our Soap, Bath & Body board is full of repins from fellow soapers. It one of our go-to boards for soapy inspiration.

Trends. Unlike traditional media, social media works in real-time. Tastes and preferences can change month to month and even week to week, and your fans and followers  expect that you will stay on top of current trends and events. If something is popular, don’t be afraid to jump on the bandwagon! Be sure to search the vast array of Pinterest boards and blogs to see what is trending in your field.  I like to use services like Blog Lovin’ to keep up with dozens of soapy blogs. That way, I can see what other soapers are up to and what they would like to see in a DIY soap supply company like Bramble Berry.

Pinnable Pictures. When writing blog posts or creating imagery for your products, include text on one of your final product photos so people can easily identify the product or tutorial. If your picture is not well labeled or understood, it won’t generate many pins or views. Since Pinterest is so visual, you want to make sure your photography is top notch too. Check out this post to learn some product photography tips.

Many of the photos on SoapQueen.com include text. There is a good reason for that!

Timing. As with all social media outlets, there is a fine line between overwhelming your followers with content and then underwhelming them by posting too little. There is certainly an art to how often — and even when — you pin. I like to pin in the morning, in the afternoon and once again before I go home for the day. That way, the boards are constantly populated with whatever I come across throughout the work day (the ‘Pin It‘ button is a lifesaver). If you’re pinning for a business especially, it helps to develop a schedule and stick to it so your followers know what to expect. A best practice is to pin varied subject matter and not just flood your boards with one type of pin. The way that looks to your followers is a bunch of the same type of pin filling the screen, and, like a magazine, varied content is best.

You might also want to consider the time of day you pin too. Consider your target audience: if you’re a soaper whose clientele is primarily busy working mothers, the best time for you to pin might be somewhere between 7 – 10 p.m. at night, after mom has had time to put the kids to bed. Then again, that may not apply to you. Consider using a service like Pinerly to track your analytics and find out when your customers are online.

I’m always looking for new and creative ways to work out. I keep a whole Fitness Inspiration board for ideas!

Make it Yours Like all social media mediums, Pinterest isn’t just about selling, selling, selling. It’s not about just constantly pinning your products. It’s about giving people a snapshot of your interests, sharing your hobbies and reading lists and yes, also sharing your products in a controlled fashion. I’d like to think that if you look at my Pinterest board, you’d be able to figure out quickly that I am an active Mom, that I long to work out more, and like to cook healthy foods. If you dug deeper, you could probably figure out that I have a fashionista streak without the budget for it and would love to redecorate if I had the time. What can your customers or followers tell about you from your boards? Make it personal. Make it authentic. Engage. Use Pinterest to further the relationship you would have with your followers if you were with them face to face.

When it comes down it is, don’t underestimate Pinterest as just a place to share pretty pictures. It a viable way to increase your audience, grow your brand and sell products. Keep that in mind and you’re own your way to pinning success.

Do you follow any Pinterest boards where you collect soapy inspiration? I’m always looking to follow new boards and I’d love to see them in the comments!

5 Responses to “Bramble Business Series: Navigating Pinterest”

  1. Victoria says:

    I like to write “Ingredient Introspective” articles on my blog where I talk about one ingredient used in soapmaking or bath & body products. Whenever I do that, I often will go and make a Pinterest board of soaps or lotions made with that ingredient. Then I have something to link to from that blog post, and people reading my posts can go see what that item looks like or how other soapmakers have used the item in their products.

    You can see my past II posts at my blog: http://maitribathbody.com

    And here’s my Pinterest page: http://www.pinterest.com/maitribb/

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Victoria!

      This is such a great idea. I love how you are adding value to your boards by connecting them to an informative blog post. Really creative! Thanks for sharing that with us :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  2. This is very interesting to me. I’ve always thought of pinterest as a place for DIY projects (and haven’t joined afraid that all my time will disappear). Is it used just for things like tutorials? I am unclear how it advertises your business if you are just a seller and not a tutorial master SoapQueen!

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Margaret!

      Pinterest is certainly a great way to share tutorials and DIY projects, but can be really useful if you are a small business. If you are a seller, of course you will be pinning things that don’t connect to your business directly, but you can sprinkle your items into your Pinterest feed. It also gives you a chance to connect with your customers by sharing things you love, and giving them a better feel for who you are. It’s also a great way to gather inspiration!

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  3. Vicki says:

    I LOVE Pinterest and I’ve got a lot of visitors to my blog via my boards. I’ve got a few soapy ones, but the most popular seem to be:

    http://www.pinterest.com/TheSoapMine/soapy-inspiration/

    and:
    http://www.pinterest.com/TheSoapMine/soap-recipes-tutorials-techniques/

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