Social media is probably the best thing that has happened to businesses of all shapes and sizes. The viral nature of social media, along with the possibility of community and relationship building is an awesome deal that no business can afford to ignore. E-commerce stores that specialize in apparel are no exception.
You already know that many women are passionate shoppers and, apart from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, the social media network that they frequent the most is…Pinterest!
According to Craig Smith of Expanded Ramblings, more than 80% of all Pinterest users are women .
Pinterest is growing at an astounding rate. With more than 70 million users and 2.5 billion page views, Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social networks today. It saw a whopping 125% growth in international traffic in the year 2013 alone.
So, why is it the perfect answer for your apparel business?
Traffic and Engagement
Sarah Mincher posted an infographic on Social Media Today, which reveals that Pinterest is now the 3rd most popular  of all social networks. It gained its first 10 million users faster than any network.
Shoppers who are referred to a site from Pinterest are 10% more likely to buy. On average, Pinterest referrals spend 70% more than visitors from non-social channels. Call-to-action pins, on average, pump up engagement by an incredible 80%.
The average order amount placed through Pinterest is about $80 and the average household income of a Pinterest user is $100,000.
Clearly, it makes business sense to be on Pinterest. Given the visual nature of the medium along with the fact that most users on Pinterest are shoppers (or at least they have a tendency to shop more), it makes sense for your online apparel store to have a sustainable and growing presence on Pinterest. Plug in the combined power of other social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and you have a lot going for you.
Traction through Visuals
We are all visual. The more visually appealing something is, the more we want it. Sure your e-commerce store may already have product images, but those are just sitting on your site looking pretty. Pinterest makes for a great channel for your visuals allowing your followers to engage, interact, comment, share, Pin, and even BUY. To get it right, however, you need to:
- Make sure that your visuals are professional. Include real (and professionally rendered) photos for your products.
- Include photos of real people – click pictures of your team, office and work life in general.
- Avoid stock photos.
- Bridge other social networks like Facebook and Twitter along with your Pinterest for maximum returns on your efforts.
- Leave comments on other boards. Engage with others on Pinterest. Ask questions. Build real relationships.
- Leave a social footprint on Pinterest by visiting, liking, sharing, and pinning. Have conversations. It’s called “social media” for a good reason.
- Curate content that’ll be of value or interest to your followers on Pinterest. The more populated and engaging your boards are, the more followers you’ll gain.
Social Proof in Pictures
Suppose you sell T-shirts online , you could bring in real people wearing them and pose away – that will give you all the social proof you need! Create a gallery (as a separate board) on your Pinterest account and have your customers submit their own photos with apparel purchased off your site. You’d accomplish quite a few things with this simple initiative:
- Say goodbye to cheesy model photos when it comes to your business. Real buyers with purchased apparel from your store make a lot more impact.
- Potential customers get to see how the clothes you sell actually look on real people. This helps them to make better buying decisions, which is actually good for you.
- “Buy” buttons allow for immediate purchase or at least direct links to product pages.
- Pinterest is a social network. If they aren’t buying, they are sharing. What would you pay for engaging shares?
An Open Community
Newsletters are an inseparable part of your online business. Digressing a little from the world of apparel, Unbounce , Mailchimp , and Campaign Monitor  have some great pins showing the effectiveness of newsletter and landing page optimization.
There are innumerable companies , large and small, that have used Pinterest to create a community around respective brands, products, and services. Each of these brands is an open board for the whole world to see.
Since Pinterest is visual and it allows for social traction, your own boards with pins make for a great and easy way for your customers to “check you out.” If nothing, you’ll at least succeed in building a passionate community around “fashion” or another niche your apparel fills.
Hannah Clark of Social Media Today has yet another list of five businesses that are nailing it on Pinterest . Can we take a few lessons from there?
A Parallel Channel
Pinterest works almost like your e-commerce store, if you think about it. Your pins can include a call-to-action, and emulate just about everything the product pages on your site can do!
You could balance your pinning and repinning while including rich pins  on your site. Rich pins, such as article pins, can also help you with your content marketing strategy. Each of your product images can have product descriptions that you can optimize for SEO.
Working as a parallel and social channel for your apparel store, Pinterest falls straight into your marketing plan.
What social networks are you predominantly on? Do you have Pinterest as a part of your social marketing strategy? What do you do with it that makes a difference to your apparel business?
Republished by permission. Original here .
Pinterest  Photo via Shutterstock