Using Pinterest to Promote Your Shop

Dec 3, 2012

The AfterMarketer Club is a marketing agency that specializes in online marketing for automotive industry companies. The agency shared the experiences its clients have had using Pinterest and offers advice on how you can use Pinterest to promote your shop in this article.

Barry Wilson is always looking for innovative ways to keep classic cars and hot rods rolling into his repair shop just outside of Dallas.

On any given day, there might be a classic Corvette or custom hot rod parked in one of the service bays at Wilson Auto Repair in Garland, Texas.

Over the years, Wilson has collected an impressive photo library of many of the classic vehicles he has restored. Now, he’s leveraging those pictures to help drive customer traffic to his repair shop through the social media site Pinterest.

“I thought it sounded like a cool way to share classic car and hot rod pictures that could also help my business grow,” Wilson said. “We’ve only been using it a few months, and we’re already seeing more website traffic.”

What Is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a photo-sharing social network that allows users to create and organize theme-based image collections around events, interests and hobbies such as classic cars and hot rods, as well as auto parts and accessories.

The social media site calls itself a “virtual pin board.” Users can “pin” digital images to personal bulletin boards on various topics.

Wilson has created Pinterest pin boards that include “Awesome Hot Rods,” “Classic Ford Mustangs” and “Classic Car Accessories.” Within each pin board, there are images of vehicles that Wilson has repaired over the years.

According to Pinterest, its goal is to connect people through the things that they find interesting, whether it’s a book, recipe or even a picture of a car.

Wilson Auto Repair learned about Pinterest from its marketing agency, AfterMarketer Club.

AfterMarketer Club President Brian Offenberger sees potential in Pinterest.

“Pinterest has the potential to help businesses in the automotive industry increase their profits,” Offenberger said. “What makes Pinterest unique for repair shops and parts sellers is that people are sharing photos of products and services on Pinterest that can drive significant traffic to your website.”

Using Pinterest

AfterMarketer Club regularly works with Wilson Auto Repair to manage and update its Pinterest account. Weekly updates include uploading and sharing new classic car pictures with followers on Pinterest as well as building a following by interacting with other Pinterest users.

Including important keywords in image descriptions on Pinterest is part of the key to success, according to Offenberger.

“Posting a picture of a cool car is only half the battle on Pinterest,” Offenberger said. “In order for people to find the picture on Pinterest, you need to include important search terms in the image description such as ‘1967 Ford Mustang’ or ‘Classic Chevy Corvette.'”

People who search using these keywords and then click on the Wilson Auto Repair Pinterest pictures are taken to the Wilson website for more information about classic car and hot rod restoration.

Is Pinterest a Passing Fad?

Is Pinterest going to be the next MySpace or will it be the next Facebook?

Only time will tell but, as of right now, things look bright for the young social network. In just two years, Pinterest has had an impressive rise.

Matt Collins editor of the Total Pinterest blog believes the social network has the potential to be big.

“In my opinion, the signs are good that Pinterest is here to stay,” Collins said. “Why will it succeed? Pinterest has clearly tapped into a powerful urge for sharing images. People want to share. And as brands start catching onto Pinterest, they’ll increasingly be adding ‘Pin It’ buttons to their websites. That in turn will encourage people to use the site more.”

Collins says the site already has more than 25 million monthly unique visitors.

According to a report by Experian, Pinterest is now the third most popular social network in terms of website traffic behind Facebook and Twitter.

“An analysis of some of the top Fortune 500 retailers found Pinterest was driving over 17 percent of revenue coming from social media,” Collins said. “That was back in April, and the site has grown a lot since then.”

To add to the buzz, a report in the Harvard Business Review said that one in five Pinterest users have seen an item that they later purchased on the site. That’s a very high conversion rate.

Additionally, when comparing Pinterest to traditional advertising channels, the start-up costs are minimal says Offenberger.

“It costs nothing to join Pinterest,” Offenberger said. “The only costs associated will be the time you put into it and if you need to hire outside help.”

Thinking About Using Pinterest?

Offenberger says the best way to find out if Pinterest is right for your business is to give it a try. You can sign up for Pinterest for free at www.pinterest.com.

Before using Pinterest, Offenberger recommends examining existing marketing channel analytics to see sales and profit returns. He then suggests diverting marketing dollars from under-performing channels to your Pinterest efforts.

When it comes to Pinterest best practices, Collins recommends these three tips for newbies:

  1. Think about what, related to your products or services, would provoke an emotional reaction to your target market.
  2. Have “Pin It” buttons near each product/service image on your website.
  3. Plan out what content you plan on pinning in advance.

As for determining success, it all starts with a plan.

“In order to determine success, you’re going to need a written plan that outlines your implementation and objectives,” said Offenberger, who also offers Pinterest training courses. “Your website analytics will be an indicator of Pinterest success.”

Finally, Offenberger stresses patience when using social media marketing channels like Pinterest.

“A custom hot rod isn’t built overnight,” Offenberger said. “The same can be said for Pinterest marketing. It takes a preparation, hard work and most importantly patience to succeed.”