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Yesterday at Blogworld, Callan Green from Sony Electronics presented Sony's new Pinterest strategy and highlighted how businesses can get started in this growing space.

When you are preparing for the launch of this kind of strategy, it's helpful for your team to begin by using the platform personally. Next, it's important to research existing brand pins in the community. When Sony searched Pinterest, they found a lot of gadgets as they expected but they also found a lot of old school products and pictures of fan made products such as Sony walkman shaped cakes.

By knowing what fans wanted, this allowed the Sony team to plan its potential boards and analyze the assets they already had in its Flickr community, in house and in its archives. 

Soft launch to full launch

Next, Sony had a soft launch that lasted for three months that allowed them to test its content and grow its audience. By testing which type of pins work as well as frequency and timing of posts, Sony were able to develop a strategy to move forward with.

As well as monitoring, measuring and reporting on the results of its Pinterest soft launch, the social media team inspired the company pre hard launch by running an internal Pinterest competition. Employees were asked to make pin boards of what Sony meant to them.

This helped get things moving internally, the social team now had more content for launch and it helped them get a Pin It button put on the site.

At launch, Sony utilized other channels to promote its Pinterest channel. The team also increased pin frequency to 4 pins a day and created additional boards as needed to keep momentum going.

To maintain the growth of its Pinterest boards, Sony continues to promote them via emails, social channels and through outreach to media and bloggers though as its audience grows, most of the interest comes from the Pinterest community itself and as new people join they are discovering Sony there.

The social media team has also started to create content designed for Sony's fans and one of its images of a heart made of Sony products, is one of its top pins now.

Questions to ask before embarking on a Pinterest strategy

When you decide to embark on any type of social strategy, there are a few important questions to ask:

  • How are you devoting internal resources?
  • How does it tie into your overall businesss goals?
  • How will you measure success?
  • How do you want to be viewed on the platform?
  • How do you compete for eyeballs?

Sony's strategy is to build a community and engage fans. They do that by creating pins and boards focused on three main objectives:

  • Driving sales through its new products board
  • Creating brand affinity with boards such as its retro Sony board
  • Building community acquisitions with techy geek fun pinning photos of things such as Harry Potter, Star Wars and the Avengers

What about the numbers?

Sony's Pinterest community has:

  • Over 2300 brand followers
  • 1200+ likes on Sony pins
  • More than 2500 pins from sony website

It's most popular board is the commerce driven brand new products and its most popular pin is the commerce driven pin deals.

For Sony, the Pinterest platform has driven:

  • 800 percent increase in traffic from Pinterest to the Sony store website
  • 2.5 times the traffic driven by twitter (which has 80,000 followers) to the website
  • Ten times more clicks of the Pin-it button than the Tweet This one

These results aren't surprising, according to Responsys' Chad White.

Pinterest links are creeping into emails with 28% of retailers linking to their pinboards, 7% promoting Pinterest contests, and 4% using “pin it” sharing links in their emails.

By September, White thinks at least 50% of retailers will be using and promoting Pinterest to their customers. At that point there will be very little new adoption of Pinterest as retailers head into the holiday season but should begin to pick up again in January.

With Pinterest already leading the pack by being the platform where consumers follow the most brands (an average of 9.3 retailers compared to 8.5 on Twitter and 6.9 on Facebook according to a new Shop.org study), it will be no surprise to see more and more adoption by 2013.

Brands may finally have a social platform where customers not only want to engage with them but will want to buy more as well. It may be only a matter of time until the P-commerce experts start selling their wares to retailers everywhere.

Heather Taylor

Published 9 June, 2012 by Heather Taylor

Heather Taylor is the Editorial Director for Econsultancy US. You can follow her on Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.

236 more posts from this author

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Edda Conwill

I have used pinterest on my website and the result was great, it jumped from page 6 to #2 in just 3 weeks time.

The key is we must got our website pinned and repinned by many people, which is the toughest part. Most of pinterest users won't doing repin when they aren't like what we pinned.

I do simple thing to outsource it on fiverr and got my site pinned by 75 people, I don't know how can he did it just search by typing pinterest on fiverr and you will find it on the TOP. Many other seller offer pinterest service on fiverr but in my experience they can't make my website increase in SEO. I don't know why.

As I know currently pinterest is best for SEO for 4 reasons:
1. Once our website pinned it has 3 backlinks counts.
2. You need to ping the links of your pins to the to get your website increase in SEO.
3. Even not support anchor text (except the url link), it's still perfect for placing our keywords in description. Google will FIND it!!
4. Obama The President and Mark Zuckerberg now pinning on Pinterest lol.

over 4 years ago

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Linda Sherman

Thank you Heather for attending and reporting on our BlogWorld Social Media Business Summit session for Pinterest Big Brands case studies. Loved your transmedia presentation at the speakers lunch, delightful to meet you!

You can find the slide deck for this session on slideshare/LindaSherman.

over 4 years ago

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Rebecca Nixon, Brand Executive at The IT Job Board

"2.5 times the traffic driven by twitter (which has 80,000 followers) to the website"

That's a nice figure, but it doesn't say;
A: what the CTR is
B: what the conversion rate is

It may be excellent, but likewise if it's 100 CTs to 250 with only a few sales as a result, then it's a waste of time.

Numbers are great but they only have meaning if there's a context.

over 4 years ago

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James Robinson

I'm with Rebecca on this one.

I would be interested to know what the investment was (the hit on Sony's internal resource)?

And also how many of the 2,300 brand followers, or new site visitors, they have converted to new customers?

Of course if the resourcing was very lean, then it should be easy to show a positive return on this new channel.

over 4 years ago

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Philip

What's the conversion rate for SONY's pinterest traffic?

over 4 years ago

Tom Howlett

Tom Howlett, Digital Marketing Executive at Koozai

Interesting post. Always useful to see how a large Brand is using a relatively new social platform.

Four pins a day does not seem like an awful lot, I'd be interested to find out the reason behind this, but also understand that it is not good to post too much and too often.

It is great that they are thinking outside the box with 'Sony Art'. You definitely have to think about what people are going to share using this platform. No use just throwing products up on various boards.

For them, I don't think the conversion rate is necessarily the main focus. I think this is more of a brand exercise to build their brand and influence sharing.

over 4 years ago

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Peter

I tend to agree with Rebecca here.

The numbers mean very little without context. The following also means little without context.How many people work globally for Sony? I'd love to know the percentage of follows that are from people who work for the brand.

As for the Twitter stat... well, I'm guessing they don't have a link with every tweet, so it's a little harsh to compare the two. You don't typically use Twitter as a sales channel.

The 800% increase in traffic would be a far more compelling stat if we knew where they started from.

I think the biggest question to ask before you undertake a strategy is 'do you have enough stock imagery to start this?'.

Setting up a Pinterest strategy for Sony must be relatively plain sailing as they have a rich history and loads of products. That's why I'm somewhat underwhelmed by the numbers... if Sony can only drive 2300 follows... what hope do other less established brands have of making it work?

over 4 years ago

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Callan Green

Hi All,

I appreciate your comments and, Heather, thanks for covering the work we are doing with Pinterest. Our team completely agrees with you that traffic, as a stand alone, doesn't mean much and we are carefully tracking conversion rates. While I am unable to share exact figures, I can tell you we are seeing conversion, (although to date, less so that we are with Twitter).

That being said, we don't discount traffic as being useless. For electronics, we've seen that people generally do quite a bit of research before purchasing. They go through a process of discovery, learning and comparing before deciding to buy and we are therefore less likely to see an impulse purchas from Pinterest (or anywhere for that matter). However, raising awareness for our products and driving people to the website, gets them further in the purchase cycle.

In short, we don't expect Pinterest to do all the heavy lifting and we are pleased with the results we are seeing.

As far as resources, like any site it was time intensive to set up in the beginning. But now, 6 months in, we have our community manager manage the day to day pinning in addition to her work on our blog, Facebook, Twitter etc. We ramp up when we launch programs like Pin Deals, but otherwise it is a manageable investment in time.

Thanks all for the comments.
-Callan

over 4 years ago

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Alan Rabinowitz

Pinterest is perfect for image based companies like Sony with all their digital products. I like that they separate themselves from their competitors with "interest" shots!

over 4 years ago

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Almeida

Hello, I enjoy reading through your post. I like to write a little comment to support you.

almost 4 years ago

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David

Imagine a well known brand such as Sony competing for eyeballs. Think of a small business trying to attract attention. The toughest part in social media, not mentioned enough, is the difficulty of building a relevant following.

almost 4 years ago

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Mahima Kini

Excellent coverage on Sony's Pinterest strategy. The medium drives high on visuals--a powerful way to express and connect. As per a recent report "Pinterest generates over 4x as much revenue per click as Twitter"...afterall a picture speaks a thousand words!!

While most will argue that this platform is best utilized by product companies, as a marketer I would disagree. I feel pinterest can be a powerful way to build brand awareness and drive traffic (thereby generate leads) for any company that has a message to convey, irrespective of whether you are selling a product or a service.

almost 4 years ago

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