Just five of the world’s top 50 brands have claimed their profiles on Pinterest, the latest social platform to claim the hearts and minds of the digerati.

I looked through Interbrand’s list of 100 brands, stopping at the halfway mark, to see whether social media marketers were adopting Pinterest in their droves. On the face of things, they’re not.

Of the 45 brands yet to create official Pinterest accounts – assuming that they do – only one is still available. The rest have been claimed by individuals with a bona fide claim to the username, or have been bagged by brand squatters. 

We’ve been here before of course. Three years ago, when Twitter really started to pick up steam, I questioned why Coca Cola had not yet created a Twitter profile in order to engage fans. At some stage they did exactly that and now have around half a million followers.

Coca Cola, which is the world’s number one brand (the brand alone is valued at more than $71bn), is one of the few big hitters to create a Pinterest profile, along with General Electric, American Express, Accenture and Volkswagen (USA). 

Coca Cola's Pinterest profile

The question then, is when should a brand sign up to a social platform? 

For me, the obvious answer is ‘right at the beginning’, but it is not that simple unless your radar is tuned into all of the new social media sites that are launched, week in, week out. 

Not all of these sites will make it big, but there’s no harm in claiming your brand’s profile. An intern could be tasked with coordinating this sort of thing. It’s free to sign up to these sites, and easy enough to create a kind of holding page. 

So why not do it?

It takes time and somebody needs to ‘own’ it. Sure, it does take a little time, but if you assign somebody to the task of claiming your social profiles then it becomes an ongoing admin function, and something that can be done in batch. 

You need a goddamned invitation code. Yes, many new social sites require codes but hey, your brand is worth billions. Have a word…

You don’t know what you’re getting into. One look at Pinterest’s somewhat dubious terms and conditions may send you running to the hills. The great lie in internetland is that we actually read the T&Cs before agreeing to them, though brands need to be a little bit more careful in this regard.

You own the trademark and can force the issue. Ah, but sometimes individuals have a genuine claim. Take Tiffany Ford, who owns the /ford account on Pinterest. Is it fair that she steps aside if the automotive giant leans on the company? I think not. Yet something along the lines of /fordofficial doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it?

Ultimately there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of when you should set up new social profiles. You need to do what’s right for your brand. I just think that it’s easy enough to do this, and it represents a very small ongoing housekeeping chore for the major brands (which are worth billions and have the resources and people in place to deal with this kind of thing). 

Starting out with Pinterest

If you’re new to Pinterest, and how it might help you to boost social sharing and engagement, then check out Michael Litman’s slideshow, which covers the basics and will help you to figure things out.

What do you think? Do leave a comment below…