As of September 2013, three year-old social site Pinterest has over 70m users, and according to a study by Shareaholic, Pinterest is driving more traffic to publishers than Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit and Google+ combined.
There are also many instances where Pinterest has driven more sales than Facebook, which currently sits atop the social media mountain, so it’s clear to that Pinterest is an integral social media channel for retail brands.
It’s very easy for a brand to simply set up a few boards, pin some pretty pictures of their own products, achieve a few hundred thousand followers, dust their hands and walk away.
So which brands are doing something more than that and creating a deeper engagement via Pinterest?
Random House Books
With 40 boards featuring 3,603 pins, achieving a mighty 1,481,587 followers, Random House goes beyond merely pinning its own products to the wall.
Check out the Best Book Covers board…
Of course it’s very easy to create an attractive board by pinning hundreds of interesting book covers to it, but it does show Random House’s desire to provide a deeper consumer experience by going beyond self-publicising.
Many of these covers are not from Random House publications.
Also this Bookshelf Envy board achieves a similar goal...
Boards like Booker Prize Winners also showcase Pinterest’s strength in being able to present basic general knowledge in a way far more interestingly than a Wikipedia page.
Ben & Jerry’s
With 23 boards, 683 pins and 3,372 followers, a modest number for such a global and well-loved brand (I’d be well-loved too if I spent all day making ice cream), Ben and Jerry’s does a great job in providing a warm and inviting Pinterest experience.
My personal favourite board is the Flavor Graveyard...
Equally cute and spooky, but also a bit weird.
With 43 boards, 2,074 pins and 34,949 followers, the colour specialists Pantone would have to do something spectacularly wrong if it didn’t produce a beautiful Pinterest experience, and by crikey it does...
Thankfully it’s not just style over substance. There’s a good mixture of own product history – Pantone Turns 50! - with its own product pages.
It’s a Pantone Universe is my particular favourite with the Pantone Patti Smith…
There are also other comprehensively pinned boards featuring images taken from beyond its own product pages. Colorful Décor, Colorful Accessories and Colorful Quotes are Pantone's most curated boards and show a passion for its niche beyond marketing.
With 31 boards featuring 1,453 pins and amassing 38,278 followers, Sony Electronics also gives the user a wider experience beyond product pages.
The I Can Haz Gadgets board, typing the name of which made me do a brief shudder, shows the massive corporation has a sense of humour, if perhaps a tad behind meme fashion.
It is, however, an idiosyncratic way to show off various Sony products.
Sony’s Pin It To Give It initiative utilised the functionality of Pinterest to raise money for charity. With every repin to the specific board, Sony donated $1, raising $12,500 in one month.
I would have expected Sony’s For the Moms board to be a vaguely patronising exercise in cringe. However, with more than 8,000 followers it is just as popular as their other boards and shows a keen understanding of their demographic.
With 50 boards featuring 1,903 pins and a huge 3,509,845 followers, the American home improvement chain Lowe’s is one of the most popular brands on Pinterest, and with good reason.
Lowe’s rarely pins its own products, instead it has created a vast mood-board of ideas and creative sparks for the budding DIY enthusiast from a variety of resources.
Another neat feature is the Build It! board, where customers who used Lowe's' products for their DIY projects are showcased. Again, Pinterest’s strength is being utilised to the full here. Showcasing the customer’s efforts makes the user feel like the brand has a vested interest in their project, and creates a deeper level of connection.
The visual nature of Pinterest creates an easy and effective personal connection to anyone engaging with the brand.
For extra guidance on how your business can effectively use Pinterest, check out our Best Practice Guide.