As far as its usefulness goes, most seem to agree that there is more success seen with smaller businesses than larger ones. It is a handy way to show off products, interact with consumers, and get people to share links and images that you have placed on your site. It mimics our natural inclination to collect things.
Because the major user demographic is a US woman, some ecommerce experts have made the mistake of saying it can't be used outside of this grouping. For those looking for international visibility, or products aimed more towards men, those opinions may be discouraging.
But the gap between genders, and locations, is actually thinning. As long as you use it properly, you can see real results using this ever-growing resource. Just avoid some basic pitfalls.
Do Not Spam With Links to Your Site
Pinterest is like salt: it is great, but should be used in moderation. Posting too much is tantamount to spamming, and no one likes that. You should spread out your uploads, so that they don't dominate any category.
Even if you post more than one pin on any given day, you should only do this on a few days a week. That way, you have an acceptable number of pins in the newest wave of pictures. Not only will this look more professional, but also it will make sure you always have a couple of photos with anchored links in the latest images of any category. Which keeps it from being drowned out by others.
Keep in mind that other people will be sharing your pins. This will create a copy that is bumped up to the top of the page. This recycles the same image, and keeps you from having to spam your content to be noticed.
Do Not Post the Same Image More Than Once
In principle, this is the same pitfall as the earlier one. There is nothing more damaging than using the same image over and over again. It will still look like spam, even if you have anchored a different link with the picture. Just writing another description isn't enough to get past this, and you can ruin your reputation quickly.
It will also reduce the number of repins you get from users. Who would pin the same image more than once, even if it were linked to another page or product? You will be shooting yourself in the foot.
When you post a pin, select a unique image from the page.
Do Not Use Stock Images
Stock images end up circulating a lot on Pinterest. That is because many blogs use free stock images. So you will see the same picture all over Pinterest, but for different links, and often about completely disparate topics. It can get confusing.
If you have an ecommerce website, you should be using your own photos anyway. But especially on Pinterest, you need something that will stand out. Even if it is paid stock, it is better than having the same thing as everyone else.
Do Not Fail to Organize the Boards
Pinterest allows you to make new boards for a reason. A shockingly high number of professional Pinterest accounts will just throw everything onto a single board, so there is a hodge-podge of various products, with no sense of organization. Or they will have duplicate boards, badly maintained pins that have gone out of date, and a messy looking main page.
You should always make sure you do the following:
- Create a relevant board for your major product line. For instance, if you are an ecommerce business that specializes in beauty and cosmetics, you could have a board for Nail Lacquers, Lipstick, Blush, Foundation, and Hair Color.
- Have a nice cover image for every board. Hovering over a pin, and selecting the option to make it your cover, can change this.
- Always have fresh content. Delete anything that is no longer relevant, or that has been there for more than a couple of weeks.
- Keep the same boards active. People follow specific boards. If you delete them, and make new ones, you will lose those followers.
Do Not Neglect to 'Like' or Repin
While you shouldn't like or pin everything you see. An example of a strategic use of Pinterest sharing would be making a board titled, "Our Customers Using Our Products," that shows people using your items.
This shows appreciation, and invites consumers to upload their own images that have to do with your company. You can even make a call-to-action on your blog or website for posting user generated photos on Pinterest. For this, you can use the hashtag system in the same way you would with Twitter.
Do Not Put Your Image in the Wrong Category
Watch the category you are posting your images in. This is a rookie mistake, but it happens all the time. Someone will not pay attention, and end up posting in a different category than they meant to. No big deal, right? Wrong.
Spammers will often post their images anywhere on the board. This puts random photos in weird places, and makes users suspicious. In your case, it might be an honest mistake. But it will still look bad to the viewer, which will immediately make them question the validity of your pins.
Pinterest is great. Several small ecommerce businesses are sharing early success stories. But you have to use it correctly. Avoid the above traps, and you will have made a good start.
Note: It is not just important to know what not to do on Pinterest, but also what to do. If you agree, you might want to read: How to Use Pinterest for Ecommerce.