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Around this time last year I wrote a post looking at which of the top 10 UK retailers use Pinterest.
Back then Pinterest was the new kid on the block with bags of potential for building brand identity and driving sales.
To find out whether those brands have persisted with Pinterest or decided the grass is greener over on Google+, I’ve revisited the same retailers to see whether they still use the network and how their strategies have altered.
This time last year Amazon had five boards with zero pins. The situation remains unchanged...
Argos clearly sees potential in Pinterest and has maintained a very active account. In the past 12 months it has added 30 boards and more than 1,000 followers.
The boards focus on different occasions, such as Christmas or summer, or include ideas for interior design or cookery, which are two of the most popular topics on Pinterest.
Argos has also modified its approach to pinning, as previously all the images were Argos products with links back to its ecommerce store. But now it includes a good mix of content from third-party blogs and websites.
One slight criticism is that the pins occasionally feature a huge amount of text, which isn’t ideal on an image sharing site.
Tesco’s social team has been extremely busy in the past 12 months, creating 23 new boards and pinning more than 1,400 new images.
As a result its follower count has increased from a lowly 32 to more than 1,400.
As with Argos, Tesco has also mixed up its approach to Pinterest and begun pinning images from third-party blogs rather than just posting its own products the whole time.
One of the boards is even a collection of images repinned from other users, so Tesco clearly sees the value in adopting a more social approach to Pinterest.
Fashion retailer Next has proved to be a particularly enthusiastic Pinterest user, sharing some 2,500 images since last year.
It has also been successful at attracting followers and is now up to more than 4,000 from a previous count of just 18 people.
Next has also altered its Pinterest strategy and begun sharing images from third-party blogs, however the boards are still overwhelmingly focused on its own products complete with links back to its ecommerce store.
Play didn’t have a Pinterest account last year, however it has since established a presence on the social network with 18 boards and 560 followers.
Its boards are all generally product focused and promote the launch of new video games or movies, so it’s not the most interesting account I’ve seen. Also, a vast majority of the pins link back to Play.com, however there are one or two that come from other blogs or websites.
M&S is still on Pinterest, however it seems to have altered its username from ‘Your M&S’ to ‘Marks & Spencer’.
Unfortunately the change of name hasn’t brought with it a new strategy, as M&S still only pins images of its own products.
But in spite of the fact that its Pinterest page is essentially an extension of its product catalogue, M&S now has more than 5,500 followers.
As with M&S, John Lewis has managed to add thousands of new followers (it now has 2,800) despite the fact that it only pins its own products.
The pins are all quite dull as well, often just showing a picture of the image on a white background, so personally I find it surprising that so many people have signed up as followers...
ASOS has completely overhauled its Pinterest presence, as the oldest of its 19 boards was created quite recently even though when I reviewed it in July last year there were 35 boards.
The strategy has also changed slightly, as previously ASOS did a great job of posting content that linked to other blogs and articles. However, now a majority of the pins link directly to the ASOS site. Furthermore, the boards now all contain the ASOS brand name.
The overhaul was presumably based on analysis of how users were reacting to its boards, or the realisation that what the brand was previously doing wasn’t having the desired affect.
Even so, ASOS now has more than 38,000 followers, up from 7,735 in July.
When I previously checked Debenhams had only just established a Pinterest account, but its boards were a good mix of images from its own site and other people’s content.
However those boards have been erased from history and Debenhams now only posts its own products and images. A few of the boards contain some eye-catching imagery, though often they are fairly dull collections.
In spite of my reservations, Debenhams has managed to attract 1,876 followers.
Judging by these retailers Pinterest is still in rude health, as the fact that they’re all persisting with the network suggests that they’re seeing some positive results.
Of the brands that didn’t have an account in July 2012, Play.com has established a presence while Amazon and Apple are still nonplussed.
There has also been a noticeable shift in how these retailers are using Pinterest, as previously a number of them only pinned their own products. However now there is a much greater effort to share content from third-party blogs and other Pinterest users.
This has the effect of raising the brands' profile among other users, but also means that boards are more interesting.
M&S, John Lewis and Debenhams still only post their own content, however they still have a similar number of followers as the rest of the retailers, with the obvious exceptions of ASOS and to a lesser extent John Lewis.
Overall then, these businesses still seem to be experimenting with Pinterest to find the right strategy, but the potential benefits are clearly appealing enough for them to keep trying.