5 Lessons From Our Most Popular Pin

A lesson from a popular pinterest pin
Our Wish - A Holiday Theme

So we tried an experiment tonight and it’s clearly working…We found a picture that had a nice Christmas vibe, (it’s December 21st), so it fits.

Here’s the pic out of Pinterest (right)… You’ll notice that in just a couple hours it has gotten 21 repins, 3 comments, and 3 likes. For us, that’s pretty good. You can click on it here to see the latest stats.

There are 5 noteworthy elements here:

1. We found a picture that we could tie to Christmas, (Seasonality).

2. It’s a pretty good picture – not great, but pretty good.

3. We included a comment that set a sentimental tone, “Our Christmas Wish…”.

4. Then we tried to use double-intent with the next phrase, “…That every American Girl had a warm Christmas scarf, and some boots with the fur”. (This implies we want real American Girls to have these things, because maybe they don’t. This seems to come across reasonably well, even though the picture is of an American Girl doll).

4.5 And who wouldn’t like the phrase, “boots with the fur”.

5. Finally we just come right out with it and say, (ala chain letter), “If you share our wish, repin it”. Is that begging for it a little too much? Maybe, but it’s Christmas … and there are girls out in the cold that need a warm scarf. But yeah, we probably won’t do that too much. Although we did just hear a stat on the Copyblogger podcast that on Twitter – tweets that say, “please retweet” are retweeted 4 times more than tweets without that simple request. Ask and ye shall receive, I guess.

Conclusion: pictures + descriptions with deep meaning are always more powerful than just images alone, right? You knew that already. But it’s still hard to do.

Ps. We really do hope that all American Girls have warm scarves and boots 🙂

[infographic] Pinterest Marketing Plan


We hope you’ve enjoyed our 4 Part Pinterest Marketing Plan series. We made you an infographic to go along with those blog posts. We hope you enjoy it. If you’re a social media blogger, or consultant, and want to discuss this marketing plan with us, how we came up with it, and how it is working for us, feel free to contact us about an interview. [Our interview details are here].

If you’d like this infographic as a Hi Res PSD (Photoshop) file, for your personal use, then just sign up for our newsletter, we’ve got it in a dropbox file you can download. You’ll get the link in the auto-welcome message. Yes, you can adapt it to your company’s use, or use it as a tool with your clients, (if you’re a social media consultant). Just give us props, or better, help spread the word about our little blog 🙂

Finally, in case you missed it, we created an infographic about our Pinterest Vs. Facebook Vs. Youtube Traffic over the last 2 months, get it here:

Pinterest Infographic About Facebook Vs. Pinterest Vs. Youtube Traffic

Marketing On Pinterest Infographic:pinterest marketing plan infographic

Our Pinterest Marketing Plan: Part Four: Chemical X

So if you’re following along, our Pinterest Marketing plan for Liberty Jane Clothing has…

1. The Anchor

2. The Offer

3. The Visual Curator

Now let’s talk about our chemical X – The thing we think is going to make our Pinterest presence a powerful marketing tool. Our X Factor. Here is what we are thinking…(and another reason why we love Pinterest)…

People bond with people. People buy from people. People (prefer to) follow people in social media – not just some mass marketed (faceless) Facebook Fanpage updater (read intern) who doesn’t even have permission to actually identify who they really are.

Pinterest is WAY cooler than Facebook, Twitter, or anything else out-there for this one X Factor – The Ability To Bond With Your Customers In A Graceful & Easily Managed Way…”

Can you hear our prior frustrations bubbling up? See, we’ve been here before. As we grew our Facebook Fanpage we had hard choices to make because of it’s obvious limitations. In our opinion Facebook sucks when it comes to positioning yourself as a ‘spokesperson’ seperately from your true ‘personal’ online identity. Do we really want 12,000 Fanpage Fans knowing that we are going to a Mariner’s game? No. So the whole Facebook Profile vs. Fanpage content issue is a bummer. It forces a ‘faux’ you  – the Faux Fanpage You. We had to choose – do we ‘get personal’ with our customers via Facebook on our Fanpage? Or do we keep a personal profile private, and use a somewhat fake customer facing profile where we can put semi-business related stuff out there, but not the personal stuff? And how do you manage all of that? It’s a hassle. It’s dis-integrated, which is always bad. That emotional hassle creates a barrier between us and our customers that is hard to overcome. It’s not simple.

Drum roll please… So in our estimation, Pinterest offers a way for customers, or prospects, to bond with our company’s principal spokesperson, (Cinnamon) in a new and cool way that doesn’t require us to make this type of difficult ‘public/private’ decision. We can build a cool Pinterest Profile, and it’s 100% authentically Cinnamon’s. But it’s not “Hey I’m going to a Mariners game – wooo whooo” type stuff. Her friends can follow her – and so can her online fans. All of them will learn about her in a graceful, (fully integrated), and easily managed medium.  Yeah for simplicity. Yeah for integrated work/life options. Yeah for this amazing new social media marketing tool.

Thank You Pinterest!

Our Pinterest Marketing Plan: Part Three: The Visual Curator

So our Pinterest Marketing Plan is taking shape. We’ve got:

1. The Anchor

2. The Offer

And today we want to talk about our third step – becoming better visual curators.

Curator: (wikipedia)

Traditionally a curator  is a content specialist responsible for an institution’s collections and involved with the interpretation of heritage material. 

For our efforts in Pinterest, that has several implications. Specifically,

1. We are looking at our product photography in new ways. We are lucky in that we run a visually driven ecommerce business. So, Pinterest is ideal for us. But even still, we are learning a lot about what does and does not get ‘pinned’ or ‘repinned’ or ‘liked’ or ‘commented on’. The feedback is a beautiful thing. For example: We sell our work using images like this:

Pinterest Gift Image Picturebut in Pinterest, a more popular image is one like this:

Popular Pinterest Image

The lesson? While good photography directly related to your product offer is okay, and does get shared in Pinterest,

the more popular images are ones that help a person share something about themselves – not about YOU.

Are they a doll collector? Give them an image that helps them express that in a visually effective, but not ‘sales oriented’ way. Fuel their self expression. A quick scan of Pinterest in general will demonstrate that the most loved pictures help people express:

A. Their Dream or object of desire, (house pictures)

B. An emotion, (like love for a cute puppy)

C. A favorite thing, (food pictures, hobby items, favorite product shots, etc.)

D. A quote or statement, (as in a method of sharing knowledge/insights/interesting lessons)

Can you figure out how to assist people in their self expression through effect image curation? That’s our new goal.

2. Can we take pictures with more emotion, more drama, or more intrigue? We like photography. It’s an important part of our business. But we’ve had a specific goal in mind with our product photography until now.

Old Goal: Get shots that clearly show the item. Good light, no clutter, zoom in & zoom in again. You know.

But Pinterest asks a more challenging question. It asks us to shoot in order to make a statement.

New Goal: Make A Visual Statement. How do you make a visual statement? I guess we’re all learning. But I’m pretty sure it has to do with products as art, rather than products as products. Or a better way to say it is – artistic photography that includes your product. Are we up for the challenge? Yeah, we’re excited by it.

3. Can a Pinterest User be a source of discovery & learning for their followers? A ‘visual sherpa’? We’re not sure, but we’re working to find out. Can you position yourself as an expert in a niche simply by the images you share? That’s an interesting idea. It’s our goal.

Who would have thought that six months ago we would all be saying that in addition to being an SEO Expert for our business, and a Social Media Expert, and a Webmaster, and a Facebook Fanpage moderator, that we’d need to add a new title – Visual Curator?

The time has come.

Our Pinterest Marketing Plan: Part Two: The Offer

As we talked about yesterday, the first step in our Pinterest Marketing Plan is to create an effective ‘anchor’ as in a profile in Pinterest that is an effective ‘home base’ or, in Facebook terms, ‘Fanpage’… We’re building that daily. Here’s the link: http://pinterest.com/cinnamonmiles/

Today let’s talk about step two – the offer!

No, not a sales pitch. We are working hard to find ways to invite our existing customers/fans/followers/subscribers to “follow us on pinterest”. The ‘offer’ is that they can get to know our primary designer, Cinnamon, in a new and different way. They can get a sneak peak at what inspiration she’s tapping into, a behind the scenes/personal look, and see what projects she’s working on before they’re published. In other words – we’re offering a new twist on how to get to know us better. That’s our offer.

This offer is taking shape in several ways. Let’s go through each one:

Website Badges: We’ve created a (sort of lame) widget for our primary ecommerce site, secondary site, and our primary blog. We’ll get that more professional looking soon, but for now, it is workable. Together these sites get roughly 400,000 pageviews a month. You can see the badge in the wild here: http://libertyjanepatterns.com/ and here: http://blog.libertyjaneclothing.com/. Oh, and here too: http://www.dollabee.com. Of course it’s on this site too 🙂 We also have our main corporate website which we haven’t yet ‘pinterized’ but we’re working on it. For that site we are going to do a little more professional graphic treatment.

Facebook Fanpage: Second, we’ve started to ‘trickle out’ our Pinterest information onto our Facebook Fanpage. It helps to have 12,000 fans. Not a lot by some standards, but for us it’s a great social platform to use to jump-start our Pinterest presence. We are extending ‘the offer’ on our Facebook Fanpage more as time goes on. We are also using the ‘invite’ functionality on Pinterest to invite our existing Facebook friends to follow us.

Newsletters: We have two email lists. One with roughly 500 ‘partners’ and another with roughly 11,000 general newsletter subscribers. Our first use of the offer was to start talking about Pinterest in an informal newsletter to our partners list. We did an overview email with a Q&A, then offered them a personal invitation to Pinterest if they needed one – and asked them to follow us. Over the coming weeks, we’ll replicate that strategy with our larger email list. That should help!

Youtube Channel: For our business, our Youtube Channel is one of our best traffic sources. With close to 7,000 subscribers, we have a fairly strong following. So, we are preparing to incorporate “our pinterest offer” in upcoming videos.

Youtube Call-To-Action Overlay: We are also going to experiment with using the ‘call-To-Action overlay’ to point to our Pinterest page. Currently we have them point to our primary ecommerce website, so it will be fun to experiment and see how we can use the Call-T0-Action overlay to generate Pinterest actions & traffic.

Obviously the beauty of each of these communication mediums is that 1) we control them, and 2) we can drip out our ‘offer’ in an ongoing (fun and socially acceptable) way. So our opportunity to leverage these existing media assets to build our new Pinterest following is pretty exciting.

Our Pinterest Marketing Plan: Part One: The Anchor

Cinnamon Miles' Pinterest Profile
Cinnamon's Pinterest Profile

Our Pinterest marketing plan has several parts. We thought we’d take the time to blog about each one. Today’s topic: Our Pinterest Anchor – our profile.

Because Pinterest specifically says it’s not enthusiastic about self promotion, or marketing, we have chosen to follow a simple approach, which actually fits nicely with how our business is run. We decided to use our co-founder – Cinnamon Miles as the “person” people can follow. This is her profile. She happens to be the co-founder of Liberty Jane Clothing. In that way, she pins things that she personally likes, as well as a collection of her prior design work, inspiration for future projects, and randomness – like her cookie recipe. This is us being us – not trying to be self promotional. Is it a fine line? Sure. But that’s life.

You’ll notice the “Followers” is “0”. It has been that way since the first day we set up our profile. It’s a Pinterest lag issue. We keep waiting for the site to refresh. But when you click the ‘followers’ link it shows 42, which we hit in the first few hours of publishing our profile and inviting folks from FB. So, we’re not sure how many followers she has at this point. It will be fun to see how it ‘pops’.

You’ll notice in the profile we describe who she is – what she’ll pin – and importantly – we make the ask, “Follow Me”. Always make the ask, right?! And, if you want our best advice on how to make an ‘authority profile’, read this post:

12 Tips To A Better Profile

Of course we have links to our website, FB Page, and Pinterest gives you an RSS feed – that’s nice.

Our “Boards” Strategy is pretty straightforward, including:

Our Industry, “Sewing Stuff”

Our Niches: American Girl Dolls, BFC, INK. Dolls, Ellowyne Wilde Dolls, Girls Patterns.

Educational: How-To, “Projects I’m working on” & “Design Inspiration”.

Then there is the personal stuff: “Yum” “Stuff My Daughter Likes” and “Home Stuff”.

Our hope was that this would give our existing customers, and prospects something to ‘repin’ as well as items to bond with us over.

I’m sure there is a ton we have yet to learn about how to have an effective presence in Pinterest, but this seems like a good start.

What have we learned so far? … Marketing in Pinterest is about giving your customers  & prospects a way to show & share their enthusiasm for you and/or your niche. It’s not about presenting your products. It’s about helping them share their passion with their social network. About their expression. That’s cool.

Ad Age Weighs-In: Pinterest’s True Potential…

Great article in Ad Age: Real Simple: Pinterest Drives More Traffic For Us Than Facebook.

Notably, author David Teicher states:

“While driving traffic is great, the true potential in Pinterest may be in its ability to impact purchases, which is why retailers like Etsy, Nordstrom, and Lands’ End have taken to developing a presence on, and strategy for, this new platform. Today, in fact, today Lands’ End is kicking off a holiday campaign and contest, “Pin it to Win it,” centered on Pinterest, the first of its kind.”

Pinterest Q&A

Pinterest Q&A With Jason & Cinnamon:

Q: What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a social network styled website that allows users to create pinboards by ‘pinning’ pictures or video that they find visually interesting. Simple right? You ‘pin’ pictures (or video), and organize your items into digital pinboards. People follow you, and ‘repin’ what they see to their boards. It’s an online version of a craft room concept. And it’s insanely popular with scrapbooking enthusiasts.

Q: So why is this site so popular?

If you’re a visual learner, and enjoy seeing beautiful items, you’ve grown accustomed to an Internet that is full of, well, crap. And on that rare occasion, when you did stumble upon a beautiful picture, you didn’t have a simple way to save it forever. You could always add it to Facebook to share it with your friends, but after a day or two, it would be lost in your feed like an old memory. Pinterest solves that problem with a simple to use interface & tool kit.

Q: This idea sort of sounds familiar, is it really a new?

There are lots of image sharing sites, we use Photobucket and Flickr to run our business, but Pinterest is different than those image hosting sites. And, if you’ve tried to use Google image search to find an interesting picture, you’ll be familiar with seeing mediocre imagery at best, and sometimes semi-crude and unrelated images. You search for red apples and see pictures of random visual garbage.

Q: Why is Google image search so bad, and Pinterest so good?

In a word, Google Images is un-curated. Curators take care to only include images that are spectacular. Pinterest was designed to be an online tool for visually astute curators. We can all benefit from their eye for perfection. And from Pinterests visual search functionality.

Q: Is there a marketing opportunity in the use of Pinterest?

Yes – for sure. We are already seeing Pinterest traffic show up regularly in our “top 10” referring websites to http://www.libertyjanepatterns. And we expect that to explode as we start to develop our own content in Pinterest. You can also list items in Pinterest as gifts by simply including a dollar sign ( $ ) in the item description.

To see our pinterest page go here: http://pinterest.com/cinnamonmiles/