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Pinterest is no longer the darling of the social media world, but its relationship with brands has become cosier recently with the launch of its business pages and new updates that enable companies to show product information on their pins.

The power of Pinterest as a tool for driving traffic and sales is an issue we’ve investigated extensively on the blog, as well publishing a Best Practice Guide on the subject.

However some brands remain unconvinced and either don’t have an account on the social network or give their pages limited attention.

So to find out who is yet to jump on the bandwagon, here is a look at how the top 10 US retailers use Pinterest...

Walmart

Walmart has two Pinterest accounts; one aimed more at product ideas and one that promotes green living and the brand’s eco-friendly credentials

The product-focused account has almost 23,000 followers and has created 83 boards, an impressive increase since January when it had 12,000 followers across 65 boards.

The green living account has also doubled its follower count from 2,000 to just over 4,000 in the same period.

 

The main account uses fantastic imagery to promote creative ideas and special occasions such as Mother’s Day and Easter, and created seven new boards for Christmas alone.

A majority of its pins link back to the Walmart ecommerce site, but it also occasionally pins content from third party sites such as cooking and parenting blogs.

In September Walmart launched its first competition on Pinterest, offering users the chance to win a $500 gift card by sharing images of products that help them to live more eco-friendly lives using the hashtag #WalmartGreen.

According to its own information, the competition received hundreds of entries.

Kroger

Kroger doesn't yet have a Pinterest account.

Target

Despite having fewer than half as many boards as Walmart, Target has managed to attract close to 50,000 followers.

It has the usual array of boards one would expect to see from a retailer, with themes including seasonal events, holidays, interior design, food, clothing and children.

Most of the pins link directly to Target.com or its other websites, but there are also a number of links to other blogs and even competitors like Houzz and Etsy.

This is actually quite an unusual tactic from a major retailer as most treat Pinterest as a closed shop and only link back to their own products.

However it appears to have paid off, as Target has some great looking boards and a healthy following.

Walgreens

Walgreens appears to have created three different Pinterest accounts, though none of them is particularly popular.

The main account has just 679 followers across its 17 boards, which is possibly as result of its slightly random approach to pinning.

Most of the boards don’t contain any Walgreens products at all but instead link to third-party blogs and sites, while other boards only contain Walgreens products.

As a result it’s difficult to identify a consistent theme behind the boards which might make it less attractive to follow. I know I always say that brands shouldn’t just pin their own content, but it’s also advisable to make sure that a proportion of pins link to your own brand platforms otherwise it’s missing an opportunity.

The Walgreens Beauty account also has also attracted fewer than 1,000 followers, which is probably down to the fact that it’s not very active.

It has pinned just 180 images and several of its boards only have one or two pins attached – hardly an engaging strategy.

However that logic falls flat when you look at its most popular account – Photo by Walgreens

Its 17 boards are filled with ads for Walgreens photo developing service and profiles of typical photo enthusiasts, such as ‘The Sports Mom’ and ‘The Family Historian,’ yet it has almost 2,500 followers.

This obviously isn’t a huge amount but it somehow still manages to outrank the other two, despite in my opinion having an equally uninspiring approach.

Costco

Costco doesn’t have a Pinterest account for the retail side of the business but it does have one for its travel agency.

Costco Travel should have a fairly easy job of creating a popular Pinterest account as people like to share images of exotic holiday locations, however the social team have given the boards very little attention. 

The 12 boards include just 31 pins and as a result have just 361 followers. Somewhat bizarrely, the ‘Orlando Vacations’ board has zero pins but has attracted 339 optimistic followers.

Home Depot

Home Depot is another retailer that has managed to build a decent community on Pinterest, attracting just over 50,000 followers.

As a home improvement retailer it benefits from fact that people love to share interior design content on Pinterest, but it also makes the most of it by theming its boards around different products and rooms of the house. 

For example, there are boards called “Flooring, carpet and rugs,” “All about paint,” “Storage and organization,” and “DIY Headboards.”

A vast majority of the pins link back to the Home Depot website, though a few link to third-party blogs, so it probably derives a decent amount of traffic from the social network.

CVS Caremark

The drugstore doesn’t have an official Pinterest account.

Lowe’s

Putting the rest of the retailers on this list in the shade, Lowe’s has more than 3.5 million followers on Pinterest thanks in no small part to its focus on interior designs.

It has created some great looking boards themed around home improvement and inspiration for design projects. These includes “50 projects under $50,” “Bathroom inspiration,” and “Patio paradise.”

It follows the same tactics as most other major brands in that a majority of the pins are its own content with the occasional link to a third-party ecommerce site thrown in for good measure.

There are also occasional off-brand moments, such as a board called “Oh, the places we’d go,” which shows images of exotic holiday destinations pinned mainly from Tumblr and Google+.

Overall, Lowe’s has managed to build a huge following while maintaining a resolute focus on its own products, which must mean it draws a huge amount of social referrals from Pinterest.

Best Buy

Though there is an account that claims to be Best Buy I’m fairly certain it isn’t genuine, as it isn’t verified and its four boards don’t contain any links to Best Buy products.

Safeway

Grocery retailer Safeway has a surprisingly small following on Pinterest considering its focus on food and recipes.

It appears to have had a Pinterest account since the beginning of this year yet it has only pinned 298 images on 14 boards, which is relatively few compared to other retailers.

As a result it has just 2,900 followers, despite the fact that its boards look great and include content form a wide variety of sources.

David Moth

Published 21 May, 2013 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Comments (1)

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Travis

Personally, I think spreading a brand around with multiple accounts is confusing to customers. 'Which one is better'. 'am I missing something that would be in another account?' and to keep each account -fresh- so customers will return is also a consideration. To have different boards on one account would bring not only more to the home site, but would give the customer an opportunity to scan the board and maybe find another section of interest. Niche pin accounts are important only to those looking for a specific brand/service. But I think with more research, you find that once the shopper has found what s/he needs, that niche loses the priority and inbound clicks are fewer. But that's JMO.

over 3 years ago

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