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7 smart ways marketers are using Pinterest to drive sales

Marketers are learning fast that Pinterest boosts business. The red-hot social media site generates on average 78 cents in sales and two website visits every time a customer finds an image or video she likes on the web and posts it on Pinterest for all users to see, according to research firm Piquora. Here are some smart ways marketers are getting customers to "pin" their products:

1. Launch a Pinterest-inspired site

Knowing what customers are pinning is hugely valuable. Target used that knowledge to create a site, currently in beta, that features its top-pinned products. The site, called Target Awesome Shop, also draws on reviews from the Target website to ensure the top-trending items are also top-ranked, according to CNBC.

2. Share geographic information 

Place Pins, which are interactive pins placed on a map, were designed with travelers in mind. Wedding Wire, for one, uses them to tempt affianced couples with fairytale-like wedding destinations.

3. Innovate with board names 

Whole Foods already has a leg up on promoting via Pinterest since “recipes” is the most popular word used in Pinterest board names. But the grocery giant's photos aren’t the only way its gained more than 160,000 followers. The secret? Naming boards that play on words. For example, “In Love with Love” features heart-shaped foods and “How Does Your Garden Grow?” features gardening tips.

4. Alert followers of price changes

Etsy, an e-commerce website for everything homemade, caters to the customer by notifying Pinterest followers when product prices changes. Customers love the extra service, and sellers are finding that it boosts sales, according to Entrepreneur.

5. Focus on hobbies, not products

Clothing retailer L.L. Bean promotes activities, not its products, through boards with names like “Take Me Fishing,” “National Parks” and “Outdoor Fun.” The payoff: L.L. Bean gains a better understanding of its customers’ behaviors and preferences.

6. Be transparent

One reason Nordstrom has positive brand recognition and loyal followers on Pinterest? It makes smart use of the site's biography section to identify (and humanize) its social media team. The company also provides a customer service phone number, according to Entrepreneur.

7. Make it a competition

Topshop gave customers a power incentive to pin pictures on its board. The fashion retailer held a competition in which customers designed their own holiday-themed gift guides on Pinterest in exchange for store discounts, according to The Guardian.

What are some other savvy ways retailers are using Pinterest to connect with customers?

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