A Matter of Public Pinterest

The hot new social network may be right up the jewelry industry’s alley

Given how overloaded many of us feel with Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, it’s easy (if not preferable) to ignore smaller niche sites. When choosing platforms, we may overlook services like Foursquare, Instagram, and, now, the bulletin board–style photo-sharing website, Pinterest. Such a focused approach is often advisable for small to medium-size businesses with limited resources; but for the jewelry industry, Pinterest is definitely worth a peek.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest lets users capture, organize, and store images from the Web. Each image is considered a pin, and multiple pins can be added to one of several virtual boards. Anyone who’s ever ripped a page out of a magazine to remember a specific hairstyle, bookmarked that “perfect dress” online, or created an inspirational collage will feel immediately at home on Pinterest.

Who is using it?

Mel Stuart/Getty Images
Pinterest: It’s addictive and productive.

The site has proved highly addictive, especially among female consumers. According to All Facebook, 97 percent of Pinterest’s 2 million daily Facebook users are female—a good indication of how Pinterest’s 10.4 million registered users break down along gender lines. As with many other social networks, a user’s pins can be amplified by others who like, comment on, or re-pin their image. Since most pins originate from a specific site, clicking on a pinned image will eventually lead you to the source website—which is how jewelers can leverage Pinterest.

Though Pinterest is still invite-only (request one at Pinterest.com), there appears to be a far greater ratio of average users to social media mavens than on, say, Google+ and Foursquare. One of the biggest questions when considering a new network is if our customers are using it. In the case of Pinterest, not only are they using it, but they are beating seasoned marketers to the site.

How can jewelers use it?

While many jewelers are already using the site to showcase their designs or the brands they carry, we’re just beginning to delve into Pinterest’s enormous potential. We could actually benefit here from emulating fashion magazines. Much like get-the-look features from books like InStyle, Pinterest allows you to easily create your own coordinated looks from around the Web. As a jeweler, think about appealing to a broader audience by pinning the dresses, handbags, and stilettos that complement the choker necklaces and chunky bangles in your display cases. Show your customers the ­overall look and make it easy for them to find the jewels at your store by pinning images from your website. Local jewelers may even want to try and pull images from other area shops in order to boost local commerce. Team up with retail partners—that shoe boutique down the street, for example—and create boards that will help bring customers through everyone’s doors.

Jewelers can also use Pinterest to get a better idea of customers’ tastes. By signing up and connecting with your customers, you’ll begin to learn what interests them in a better-organized environment than Facebook or Twitter. Encourage your female clients to pin their favorite pieces—making it a little easier for their husbands to shop come Mother’s Day. (Pinterest helps you out by providing a “Pin It” button—similar to Facebook’s “like” button—to make sharing simple. Daniel Gordon, from Oklahoma City’s Samuel Gordon Jewelers, has placed a “Pin It” button above every product image on his website.)

We know what you’re thinking—another social network fad. But Pinterest has quickly become the second-largest referrer of traffic, immediately following Google searches—an impressive feat for a service that launched in March 2010. It’s outpacing Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ as sources of Web traffic for retailers like Samuel Gordon. So Pinterest may be just what the ­jewelry industry has been waiting for: a visual, female-oriented social network that, according to Business Insider, currently boasts the fastest growth ever for a stand-alone site. This could make social media matter when it comes to driving traffic to our sites and bringing shoppers into our stores.

More Jewelry 2.0 on JCKonline.com:
+ Love at First Site
+ App-solutely Not
+ The Great E-Commerce Debate