Pinterest’s mission is simple: connect everyone in the world with the things they find interesting. But the real mission now is how you are connecting potential clients to the interesting aspects of your brand. 

It’s almost impossible not to run into Pinterest on the Internet. We’ve even added Pinterest to our  list of office catch phrases, “Pinterest, it’s so hot right now.” and “Isn’t that Pinteresting?”

All jokes aside, Pinterest may be relatively new, but it has become a heavy-hitter in the social media landscape.  The platform launched in March 2010 and as of March 2012 it is valued at over $1.5 billion. This infograph shows how Pinterest measures up to the social media competition. Those are pretty impressive numbers, especially Pinterest users spending the same amount of time per month (405 minutes) on the platform as Facebook users spend on Facebook.

During the Social Curation Summit this week, it was noted that Pinterest is becoming more product focused, as product shots seem to be more visually engaging amidst all the photos on Pinterest. Brands are utilizing Pinterest to not only sell products, but showcase their culture, promote engagement, and create brand advocates. Wondering which brands are using Pinterest? Well, there’s a board for that!

Large or small, if your brand has awesome products or beautiful imagery, here are some tips on how to use Pinterest to tell your story and help build engagement.


1. Curate Your Brand’s Culture

The first thing you need to do is start out by asking some questions:

If your brand were a person, who would they be? What would they be interested in? What books would they read? Where would they like to travel?

Pinterest members respond best to brands that show a personal interest. The creators of Pinterest emphasize that it is not a platform for self-promotion, but that doesn’t have to limit your brand’s presence. Create boards not just for the products you offer, but for inspiration. If you own jewelry store, feature a board for gem stones around the world and their descriptions. If you have a non-profit, create a board for inspiring quotes, photos, and stories that your followers can like and share.

We love Whole Foods because it not only features recipes for any category and holiday, but also includes inspiration boards for travel, events, and the various charities they support.

You can even add boards that showcase your company culture, so go ahead and post pictures of your office Halloween party!

Pinterest even offers a sharing function: me + contributors which allows others to contribute to your boards. Your team members can curate their own inspiration boards and share on your brand boards as well.


2. Integrate Photo Sharing Contests

Pinterest is user-friendly, visually appealing, and easy for people to interact with products and ideas. A basic way to promote those interactions is to Follow other brand’s Pinterest and big hitters, chances are they’ll follow you back and  attract their audience to you.

Another trick for Pinterest promotion is to be consistant with your pins. Pin a “daily inspiration” and people will come back to see what tomorrow’s inspiration is.

Many brands have successfully used contests as promotions tools including:

– Creating the “Best Board”

– Users earning the most Repins “Pin to Win”

– Users post photos of the best outfits

– Users post photos of inventive use of products

World Market’s “Pin It To Win It Contest” is a perfect example of how a Pinterest contest is done effectively. Pinterest users are asked to create a board on Pinterest exploring ways to entertain at home. Boards must include a minimum of 10 World Market items from or and pin the items they would like to display in their Clyde Trunk Bar. The winner Clyde Trunk Bar from the retailer’s new “Kingdom Animalia” Collection and a $200 World Market gift card.

Be advised, Pinterest is not meant for contest details, but advertising on another platform like Facebook or your website and linking to the contest board provides a conduit for cross-platform integration and builds SEO value.


3. Create Brand Advocates

The more personality your Pinterest boards exhibit, the more interaction you generate with other Pinners, and the more likely those Pinners will advocate for your brand and share throughout the Pinterest community. Pinterest’s strongest draw is that it’s an easy way for users to move through your content their computer, iPad, or mobile device. Give them more valuable content and they’ll stay longer.  Hey, they may even fall in love!

Another way to build connections with Pinners is through comments. Popular pins have three things in common: likes, comments, and repins. Use the comments section of each pin to engage your audience by asking a question (e.g. “Where would you wear this dress?” or “Guess where this photo was taken.”). You can also highlight other Pinners who inspire your boards or support your products by mentioning them in a comment (@username).

To highlight Pinners who love their beauty products, L’Occitane dedicated a board to Pinner comments and re-pins.


Creating and maintaining an active, dynamic, brand-focused Pinterest takes time, but it’s an effective way to give your brand authenticity and reach, which will translate into sales.


What do you think?

We want to hear your thoughts on brands using Pinterest. Have you used Pinterest for your brand? What are some of your Pinterest brand strategies? Has it been effective, or do you think Pinterest is a wast of time?