WeLoveLeon: a Pinteresting experience

A guest blog from WeLoveLeon

WeLoveLeon is a micro-business selling tea towels with Pug designs on them. We’ve been trading quite successfully, but one thing alluded us; success in America. Then recently, an email pinged with a sale. From America! A lady in Chicago had purchased using the dollar currency section of our website for the very first time. We were so excited. The emailed pinged again, this time with news that someone had repinned an image of one of our tea towels, from the same lady! And then another email – someone from the States buying a full set of all four designs. A few hours investment in a WeLoveLeon Pinterest board has brought us rewards in the US.! So how did we do it?

WeLoveLeon’s tea towels are really quite niche. For a start, you have to like Pugs. No, not like, love Pugs, to the point of obsession. You also have to like our modern, crisp design. We started by setting up a website, then a Twitter profile for the company. My Pug Leon already had his own Twitter, with 900 followers, most of whom are Pugs (an example of how great Social Media is at finding niche audiences). We used the two Twitter accounts to cross-pollinate links to our products resulting in an amazing number of sales.

Looking at Google analytics, we could see that while the Twitter accounts have a large number of followers in the States, hits to the sales website from North America were minimal, a maximum of 2% of our hit rate. We simply weren’t reaching what would still be a niche audience, but a much larger one.

Our first strategy was to duplicate our sales pages on the website with the prices in dollars, then added a banner ad linking to it from the main page asking “Shopping from the US?”. On these pages we countered what we perceived to be objections to purchase, namely the delivery time and costs, and also gave a potted history of the tea towel and what you do with it (American aren’t quite sure that they are – they think their part of an elaborate tea ceremony I think). Still very little interest.

Then I stumbled across Pinterest and set a personal one up. Having recently moved house to Whitstable, it was a fascinating source of visual images, especially for home decoration. So I started pinning.

Having experimented under my own name, I set up a WeLoveLeon Pinterest. I have a rule about social media in business that you should take the same approach to interacting with people as you do at a Networking event. Be polite, listen to other people, don’t talk only about yourself and start conversations about mutually relevant topics. So on Pinterest, I set up a Pug Stuff board with Pug photos and dog products, a design board and a home stuff board, since these where what my target audience would need to find interesting in order to find my products relevant.

Within a few days, people were starting to repin from our boards. Given that in the US, Pinterest is largely used by women, and key topics are interior design, crafts and leisure, we were gradually gaining more momentum. We noticed a slight uplift in our visits from America to our site.

Then I realised that when you put a currency symbol on a Pinterest, it adds a sash on the side of the pin to show the price. Brilliant! Straight away I started using the dollar cost of the tea towels, $12. Again, more interest from America. Till finally, the sale mentioned at the start of this piece. This lady could not be cross-referenced to any Twitter or Facebook activity, she found us through Pinterest. We of course responded to her Pin with a comment about the sale. By now, the US accounted for 20% of our website traffic. And then we got another big order. What a result!

We’re hoping our Pinterest page will have the same affect as Twitter, gradually building up a following. While we’ve got got plenty of ideas, we currently have only a few products. We have to be careful with our Social Media of not hogging the conversation. We don’t want to have a one-sided conversation of promoting a few products endlessly, since people will soon get bored. However, we definitely seem to get getting something right!

The key lessons from this are:

  • to find your audience on a Social Media platform, look for what your audience would be interested in on that platform
  • don’t just talk about your products, share with them news, photos and stories around your product area that they’ll find interesting
  • cross pollinate your links between your Facebook and Twitter to save you time and energy
  • Break down all objections to a sale on your website, then use social media to spread these messages individually
  • Display your prices clearly, if possible in the home currency of the market you’re trying to reach
  • Spend time learning the nuances of each new Social Media site on a test account before launching your company account
How are you using Pinterest?
Thanks Gavin for your great story. I think many businesses could do well from Pinterest and have seen some amazing results from some of the Pinterest accounts I have set up for clients. Nikki x



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