Using Pinterest to Drive Social Commerce | npENGAGE

Using Pinterest to Drive Social Commerce

By on Mar 1, 2012


Pinterest for social commerceJust as Chad Norman’s and my book, 101 Social Media Tactics for Nonprofits, went to print, a new social network started gaining momentum – Pinterest!

Have you heard of it? 😉 If you haven’t, you’ve been living under a rock!

So, instead of stopping at 101 tactics, we are forging ahead. I recently debuted tactic 102 on the Frogloop blog. Enjoy!

Use Pinterest to Drive Social Commerce.

If your nonprofit has retail goods for sale, a great place to catch the eyeballs of some very willing buyers is Pinterest. According to a recent Monetate infographic, Pinterest is one of the top traffic drivers for retailers. (Even more so than the “other” social network darling Google+.) And, it’s easily on the top 10 list of social networking sites. Creating a presence on Pinterest is a great way to not only extend the reach of your organization’s brand, but also its gift shop, online store or retail marketing. Provide the pinning tools, open up your boards, pin (some) of your products, and watch as Pinterest grows on your list of referring sites.

What you need

A Pinterest account, an ecommerce page with retail goods for sale, and a web developer

How to do it

Setup an account

1. Request an invite at or ask a friend to login and click “invite friends” in the upper right-hand corner to send you an invite.

2. Customize your account by adding an avatar and completely filling out your profile.

Create a products board 

Disclaimer: As with any social network, being overly self-promotional is frowned upon. A products board should be part of your overall presence on Pinterest. Read more in Pin etiquette. Other boards should include mission and brand-centric pins.

  1. Once logged in, click “Add +” in the upper right hand of the screen.
  2. From there, select “Add Board” and name the board appropriately. (Our Favorite Books, Cuddle Duds, etc.)
  3. Select a category. For instance, “Women’s Apparel.”
  4. Determine who can pin. Selecting “Me + Contributors” will allow you to invite guest curators to the board. (You will need to add their name or email.)

Determine who can pin. Selecting “Me + Contributors” will allow you to invite guest curators to the board. (You will need to add their name or email.)

Once the board is created, follow the process for adding pins and assigning them to the board. See what people are already pinning from your site by replacing “” with your website address at the end of this link:

Add “Pin It” buttons to your product pages

  1. Visit
  2. Add the url of the webpage the pin is on.
  3. Add the url of the image to be pinned.
  4. Provide a brief description of the image/product. (This is optional, but highly recommended.)
  5. Select the “Advanced” option for auto-generated code to add to your site. (The Advanced option lets you include multiple “Pin It” buttons on a page.)

A Closer Look

Established in 1954, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) seeks a humane and sustainable world for all animals—a world that will also benefit people. HSUS is America’s mainstream force against cruelty, exploitation and neglect, as well as the most trusted voice extolling the human-animal bond.

When Pinterest burst on the scene, Carie Lewis, director of emerging media at The Humane Society of the United States, immediately started experimenting with how the organization could extend its already prolific social brand on the new platform. She setup a page at, and started some boards including “DIY for Animals and Pets” and “Cute Animal Photos”, among others, harnessing the essence of the platform’s crafty and animal-loving demographic.

Carie also setup a board called “Products I Love” to share some of HSUS’ retail products. The name of the board is important, because it isn’t formal like “2012 Logowear,” or “Online Gift Shop.” When Carie created the board, she was selective about what she pinned. “I think it’s good to see what others like of yours before you go pinning every single item you have in your online store,” she says. “Our ‘Products I Love’ board has the most popular pinned items of ours plus other products from around the web that we like. In my research, there’s a recurring theme of success for brands in Pinterest is both pinning content themselves and enabling users to easily pin their content.”

Here are some other useful Pinterest links thanks to Beth Kanter, the master curator of all things nonprofit:

Is your nonprofit on Pinterest? Share a link and tell us what you love about it!



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