The Rise of the Visual Web, Image Overtakes Text, and Selling on Pinterest

Kodak, before its demise was on to something; a picture is worth a thousand words.  People want to take and share engaging photos and video as evidenced by visual sites such as  TumblrInstagram, and hot new video site Socialcam.  Pinterest, the newest, hottest, and third most popular social media site behind Facebook and Twitter is a online scrapbook of feel good images shared with other people, with the ultimate goal of driving users back to the original website for more information.  Pinterest currently refers more traffic to external sites than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn, combined.  The more visually appealing the image is, the more curious the user will be about checking out the source.   Users will also be curious about checking out the poster of the image, and that will be you and a variety of other people if the image is popular.

Pinterest does not officially say how many users it has, but according to comScore, the site had 18.7 million unique visitors in March 2012.  Over 85% were women.  This represents a great opportunity to sell to mom’s, and women who love fashion, cooking, make-up, re-decorating…the list is endless.  Brands are still scrambling and trying to figure out the best way to sell on Pinterest.  Better Homes and Gardens has 73 pin boards, where images can be posted, with titles such as “Pretty Patios and Porches” “Fun Front Doors” and “We Love Baking.”  It has 47,854 people who follow all of the brand’s boards and about 350,000 who follow individual boards.  Their social media analysis has concluded that a younger female demographic appears to be following them via Pinterest.

Interesting stuff, but these followers most likely will not buy their magazine, nor can they directly make a purchase from any of the visually appealing images.  BH&G will not get advertisers swarming at their door unless they are able to mass sell on Pinterest with “Product Listings”.  For individuals who are running a small business on Etzy, Cafepress,  Zazzle, or their own ecommerce site product listings are a great way to sell items on Pinterest.  After all, Pinterest users enthusiastically clip and share items they might want to buy.

For experienced Pinterest users who already have cultivated a following, here is how selling on Pinterest goes:

  • You should have the pinbox uploaded on your toolbar from Pinterest.
  • Go to your website or your store where you want to pin your product.
  • Next, click the pinbox on your toolbar menu.
  • Pinterest will automatically open up and appear on your screen.
  • All your product images will appear on the screen. Pick the one you want to pin.
  • Pinterest will ask what board you want to pin it to. Or you can create a new one by scrolling down on the categories. I named mine Products I Love.
  • Add a description of the product to help people find your pin. Just as you would a tag or keyword. Important: Add the price after the description with the $ sign. Example: $9.99. Pinterest will place the price in the upper left corner of the image. Pinterest will also place all priced products on the gifts tab on the top of their homepage.
  • Pinterest will automatically link to your site or product when a person clicks on it.
If you don’t have the time or desire to set up an ecommerce site just to sell on Pinterest, keep reading.  Pinterest’s terms of service prevent you from using it “for any commercial purpose or the benefit of any third party, except as otherwise explicitly permitted for you by Pinterest”.   With that being said, if you are really  just interested in profiting from your creations or products on Pinterest and have a Paypal account, there is Pin2Sell.  Digital design and marketing agency, CliqueStudios has seen a need, and filled it.  Just go to, fill out the details, post a photo of your item, and submit. When fellow Pinterest users click on your pinned item, they’ll see the the price, and will be automatically redirected to a PayPal checkout page.  The clincher?  There are no fees…yet.  As well, Pinterest may ban the application at any time due to their terms of service agreement.

As it is right now, the Pinterest community is best suited for visually-appealing content which encompasses retail, lifestyle, food, home decor, design, publishers, and travel.  As a brand, shift your social media strategy and figure out a way to to have what you do, make, create, and sell be more image led.   Develop a visual social media strategy to blend with the current text that you have.  Register your profiles on various visual social networks and continually illustrate your brand.

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