social media how to Is Pinterest part of your marketing strategy?

Have you ignored Pinterest because you think your brand isn’t a fit?

Every brand has a story to tell and visual content can help you tell it.

Sharing your story with Pinterest’s engaged and active audience via compelling pictures is a great place to start.

In this article you’ll see how six brands got creative with Pinterest and captured new followers and interest.

Why Pinterest?

Visual marketing is the current trend, so it’s no wonder brands see huge potential in Pinterest. It’s an ultra-hot social media site where photos are center stage and sharing is second nature to the audience.

pinterest home page

Pinterest has over 70 million users and 25 billion pins.

Pinterest launched in March 2010 and has over 70 million users; 500,000 of those are business accounts. Pinterest’s audience is engaged and active.

While some brands have been quick to adopt Pinterest as a marketing tool to drive targeted engagement, there are a number of companies that can do more to harness the power of Pinterest and visual storytelling.

Below are six innovative ways brands are using Pinterest. If you’re not making the most of Pinterest, get ready to be inspired!

#1: Bring Pinterest to You

Pinterest is so integral to Nordstrom‘s overall marketing strategy that they’re using it as an in-store promotional tool. The store highlights its most popular pins by ‘pinning’ them in the stores.

Nordstrom has around 4.5 million followers on Pinterest. It’s a safe bet many of them are shopping in-store. When those followers see the popular pinned items in the store it can translate into big sales.

in-store pinterest tag on shoes in nordstrom

Highlight your most-pinned items in your store to encourage people to buy. Image courtesy of Business Insider.

According to Business Insider, Nordstrom not only flags popular items in the shoe and handbag departments, the company also has an app to help salespeople find the pinned items in the store.

But Nordstrom isn’t the only company taking advantage of this new marketing tactic. Target and other retailers are adopting this practice as well.

tweet of in-store pinterest tag in target

Nordstrom’s model was so successful that other chains are adopting it.

Tip: Whether you have an online or brick-and-mortar store, you can highlight the products that are particularly popular on Pinterest to draw attention to trending items.

#2: Share Your Lifestyle, Not Your Products

Pinterest’s most popular pins are fashion, food and home decorating. Given that, you may not expect Lowe’s hardware stores to be a natural fit. But the brand has worked hard to tailor its activity to Pinterest’s audience.

Lowe’s includes everything from style inspiration for each room in the house to gift ideas that link neatly to their online store to craft projects and cool gadgets.

The result is a showcase of lifestyle ideas—and 3.5 million followers.

lowes pinterest board

Show how your products appeal to your audience.

Tip: Pinterest’s user base is currently 80% women, and their top interests are fashion, home design, crafts and kids. Put a spin on your brand that fits the audience you want to reach.

#3: Partner With Influential Guest Pinners

Pinterest’s group boards are a simple idea and an opportunity to include guest pinners who can bring new interest to your boards.

Here’s how group boards work: You can invite other users to contribute pins to a board, and their activity on your board shows up in both your followers’ and the guest pinner’s followers’ feeds. You can imagine the potential for attracting new followers, especially if you’re working with an influential pinner.

Group boards work well for Etsy in particular because they have such a wide range of products. They’ve used a number of guest pinners from Pop Sugar to Martha Stewart.

martha stewart guest pinner pinterest board

Partner with influencers to reach a wider audience.

Tip: Use group boards and form strategic partnerships with influencers. Don’t have too many contributors to each board; it’s better to let each partner curate their own board.

#4: Show Your Fans You Appreciate Them

Your fans are at the heart of what you do, and social networks are a great place to thank them for their continued support.

The Today Show recently hit 100,000 followers on Pinterest, so they baked a cake and “shared” it with them to celebrate! The pin led to the website where a recipe showed step-by-step instructions for how to make the cake at home.

today cake pin

Give your fans a public shout-out to thank them for their support.

Tip: Saying thank you to your followers is a simple gesture that’s always appreciated. Give them something of interest they can use or recreate and you’ll gather new followers in no time. Don’t forget to share your thank-you pin across other social media to make sure as many fans as possible see your message.

#5: Humanize Your Brand

We’re used to seeing slick marketing images that put a brand in its best light, but rough-around-the-edges, homespun photos can be just as engaging, if not more so! Ben and Jerry’s has shown this time and time again.

They’ve had an interesting journey to get where they are and their fans want to know about it. To that end, the Ben & Jerry’s Pinterest boards include History, The People Behind the Pints and Our Factory. Seeing the story through pictures gives fans a sense of the brand’s wider mission and reinforces how much they love their fans.

ben & jerrys pinterest board

Ben & Jerry’s has an interesting story they can tell with visual content.

Tip: Your staff, your stores, your customers and your hometown are all worth celebrating and can show the human side of your brand. That personal connection can make all the difference in your relationship with your followers.

#6: Inspire Your Audience

While GE may not be an obvious choice for a successful Pinterest profile, they draw followers in by making the most of their stunning pictures.

As you can imagine, it’s hard to show the visual side of a manufacturing brand, so GE decided to share the inspiration that drives them to innovate.

With boards like FABULOUS Kitchens, Brilliance in Motion, Gifts for Geeks and Under the Microscope, GE has created an exciting, original profile that appeals as much to the style-conscious as it does to science geeks.

ge pinterest board

Think your brand doesn’t fit with Pinterest? If GE can do it, so can you.

Tip: If you don’t have a typical Pinterest-friendly brand, think outside the box. Engage your followers by sharing beautiful pictures to show what inspires your brand culture and innovation.

Final Thoughts

Visual storytelling is the most popular way to reach your fans right now, and Pinterest is the ideal place to do that. The potential to give a 360-degree view of your brand, products, customers and ethos through this inspirational and positive image-sharing site is staggering.

Even if you aren’t a visual brand or you don’t feel like you have the glamour Pinterest craves, remember that Pinterest is as much, if not more, about curating and sharing other people’s images as pinning your own. Strategic partnerships can help you do that.

What do you think? Has your business had success on Pinterest? What tips do you have for standing out from the crowd? Let us know in the comments.

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  • Awesome tips. Always amazed when I look at my analytics and see Pinterest as not only a top referrer but sending traffic that spends much more time on my site. Still trying to figure Group Boards out more without them becoming spammy or non-relevant. Great Post Ekaterina

  • I love the idea of what Nordstrom is doing! How smart!

  • Hi Ekaterina,

    Pinterest is a social platform for the marketers and bloggers to promote their product and blog respectively. I always wonder how it can be? But after reading this post I hope I will some steps. It is really important to build a network among users. I hope I can have a proper way to follow.

  • Thank you, Mike! 🙂

  • Definitely. Love the intersection of online and offline!

  • Great suggestions! I especially like #5 – Humanize your brand and #1 – Pinning products in the store. Our customers will love that!

  • Pingback: Marketing Day: #BostonStrong: As Boston Returns To Its Marathon, Brands Keep It Respectful()

  • Erene Morgan

    Thanks! I am still learning how to Navigate my way through Pinterest. I know this is necessary for my products.

  • Elizabeth Delaney

    Very interesting article Ekaterina. I picked up some really useful tips.

  • Interesting read. So far I have not seen my business translate well on Pinterest because it’s self-development and transformation, but perhaps I just have not been creative enough yet … 🙂

  • Interesting stuff, I wasn’t aware that there’s something called a “Guest Pinner” as well! And great choice choosing GE there Ekaterina, I really like the way those guys manage their social media platforms – they do a fantastic job. 🙂

  • ann-nguyen

    actually, pinterest is not popular at my country, but when i read your tips, i think how awesome it is, i need to know about it………… thanks u so much………..

  • Great article!

  • Thank you for this awesome post, now i got a clear idea about Pinterest, I can follow these ways to build my users network.

  • FrancesCaballo

    I especially liked your suggestion to “share your lifestyle, not your products.” That’s a great strategy. Thanks!

  • Thank you, Sue. I am glad you enjoyed the post!

  • I am glad you found it useful, Elizabeth!

  • Erika, if there is a fit, you will find it. But the reality is that sometimes not all of the social networks are a great fit for your business. And that’s okay.

  • Avtar, totally agree regarding GE!

  • Thanks!

  • Thank you, Frances! 🙂

  • We’ve been researching the ways of using Pinterest to promote our brand and grow business and your tips came very handy. Thank you for some nice advices. We’ll try some out!

  • rhonda hurwitz

    For a brand that is 90% male, and a category that is 90% male, would Pinterest have value?

  • Jitendra Padmashali

    Very nice Ekaterina, If you think there isn’t a place on this popular platform for your
    business, think again. Just about every type of business can create fun,
    relevant, and engaging Pinterest boards to connect with their

  • Hi Ekaterina, great post. I agree that Pinterest is awesome for engagement and driving traffic. It is also very ‘business-friendly’, so it’s worth investigating whether to create visual content for the platform. Even the most surprising ‘non-visual’ businesses are finding ways to connect with their audience.

  • Agreed! 🙂

  • There is no limit to creativity! 🙂

  • Rhonda,
    I’d say it depends. But just because the platform is popular it doesn’t mean it’s right for your business. And that’s okay.

  • I am glad!

  • Everypost

    Great article Ekaterina, I really liked your thoughts on what made these campaigns successful. I’m curious to hear what you think about Pinterest as a platform for concrete advertising. Do you think it’s a good network for generating sales, or is marketing on Pinterest limited to raising brand awareness?

  • @disqus_mcfp1kf6Zg:disqus, it depends on your business; however, remember, the demographic for Pinterest users is mostly (significantly) female.

    This isn’t to say it won’t work for your business; however, you could try a different approach and tap into the female demographic who uses Pinterest to reach the male demographic. i.e. wives to purchase your product for their husbands.

  • PicPresents

    Hi Ekaterina, awesome post – thank you! I love #5 as I think those human stories are so compelling. I am always fascinated by the stories behind businesses. Really enjoying your book too! – Jane

  • Peter Brusaschi

    the url to my website does not work in my pinterest boards. it just sends you to other pinterest boards. does anyone know why? thanks, peter