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10 Surprising Brands Killing It On Pinterest


Pinterest is a great place to collect images and links to ideas you love, products that rock, and just about anything else under the sun. While most users of the site are still individuals, brands and big businesses have taken note of the major traffic the social media site has been seeing in recent months, and many have begun creating their own Pinterest boards, pinning things from their own sites as well as from around the web. There are hundreds of brands currently using Pinterest for marketing (a number that will undoubtedly grow before the year is out), and some surprising companies are making the site’s visual features work for them. Read on to learn about some of the unexpected brands that are drawing in loads of fans from Pinterest.

  1. Whole Foods.

    Pinterest has fast become a place to look for and share recipes for everything from health foods to decadent desserts, and Whole Foods has used that foodie frenzy to their advantage in their Pinterest branding. Those who choose to follow the health food store’s pins will get access to amazing and often very healthy recipes, with boards that feature recipes for dinner, vegetarians, vegans, sweets, holidays, and parties, among others. Of course, Whole Foods hasn’t made it all about food. There are also great photos of some of the other products they carry as well, including kitchen gadgets, clothing, and home decor. To date, the Austin-based company has more than 700 pins earning them 21,586 followers.

  2. Mashable.

    While it’s not surprising that a blog all about social media would have a successful Pinterest account, it is surprising that many not-especially-visual blog posts have drawn so much traffic over the past few months for Mashable. To date, Mashable’s boards have 19,655 followers, which is impressive since they’ve only added about 361 pins over their 14 boards. What are they doing right? Many of their boards focus on humor, tips and tricks, and showcasing particularly cool tech gadgets — stuff that appeals to both genders and is frequently repinned. Mashable also created a successful board that tied into events at SXSW, with that board alone getting 21,011 followers. It seems they know what they’re doing, but they’re not keeping it a secret: they also offer a special board just for Pinterest-based tips, tricks, and news.

  3. Nordstrom.

    Next to food and home decor, fashion pins are tops on Pinterest, and Nordstrom has made sure to throw a few of their own products into the mix. The high-end retailer has won more than a few fans (12,384 and counting follow all the brand’s boards) by creating themed boards that change with the seasons. Some of their most popular boards include “Spring 2012 Weddings,” “Weddings,” “Beauty Favorites,” and “The Wedding Suite at Nordstrom.” They also have great boards for men, showcasing shoes, looks for prom, and even those that capture trends like nautical stripes. The boards are also current with the seasons, giving fans something new to ogle every few months, which has proven to be a great strategy for Nordstrom and has helped to build a solid Pinterest following.

  4. Benjamin Moore.

    Paint company Benjamin Moore found a match made in heaven when they started using Pinterest as a marketing tool. They’ve only been pinning for a few months but already have a substantial following and a hefty collection of pins. Benjamin Moore has been using the site to promote new designer lines of colors (including one from Candice Olson), sharing great painting project ideas, and even showing off some seriously beautiful spaces painted in Benjamin Moore colors. With many using Pinterest as a way to collect decor ideas and to build color schemes for everything from nurseries to weddings, having access to the wide variety of colors the company offers is a great way to bring in new traffic. Currently, their most popular board showcases colors created especially for Pottery Barn.

  5. The Weather Channel.

    The Weather Channel is a strange brand to have found such success on Pinterest, but they’re making the most out of all of their weather-related content and have covered a wide range of interests on their boards. Boards range from the expected photos of amazing weather to those that showcase weather-friendly styles, pets, travel, seasonal recipes, and even resources for teachers who want to help students learn about the weather. They’ve even proven they have a sense of humor, creating a board dedicated to poking fun at TWC and meteorologists. Most individual boards for the brand have 1,500+ followers, so they’re doing pretty well in bringing people in and keeping them around for laughs, inspiration, and advice.

  6. Random House Books.

    Literature fans should rejoice at the offerings from Random House on this great Pinterest account. The publisher has built a pretty solid following through more than 800 pins, promoting all things literary from their own titles, to amazing libraries, to even seriously nerdy literary tattoos. They’ve found a way to incorporate books into the most popular Pinterest topics (weddings, interior design, crafts, and food) and it works. Special boards on banned books, Jane Austen, biographies, prize-winning books, and even Game of Thrones are bringing in thousands of followers and with great images and quality content, Random House is building a brand that looks to stand the test of time on Pinterest.

  7. Southwest Airlines.

    What could an airline possibly have to pin? As it turns out, quite a bit. Southwest Airlines has never been one to do things by the book, and that’s been a large part of what has helped make them one of the few (if not the only) truly profitable airlines in the U.S. They already have a great reputation for policies that allow customers to check a bag for free, change flights without fees, and eat free snacks, but it seems like they’re aiming to highlight their friendly image even more on Pinterest. Currently, they’ve got a substantial number of followers on boards that highlight fun things like travel destinations, airplane-related crafts, travel style, travel tips, and even some great shots from airplane windows. It’s all fun, friendly, and inspirational at times.

  8. GE.

    When you think of brands that naturally match up with Pinterest for marketing, GE might not be one of the first that comes to mind, but the brand has actually come up with some pretty clever ways to use Pinterest. Boards through GE’s profile focus on ideas and images that are inspirational, whether that means curing diseases, highlighting their founder Thomas Edison, building an amazing machine, or just going greener. Few of their pins feature their own products directly (though they do have some cool shots from their factory floors), but that doesn’t seem to be what GE is aiming for through their promotion. So far, they’ve pinned some amazingly beautiful images from their GEInspiredME and #WhatWorks photo contests, some seriously cool photographs of cells seen through a GE microscope system, and some really interesting infographics, all of which help involve and interest customers in their projects, even those they can’t bring into their own homes.

  9. Major League Baseball.

    You might think Pinterest and MLB are a pretty strange match, and you’d be right, but it seems to be working out pretty well for MLB and sports fans alike. The success seems to be the result of creating boards that are just plain fun, including one called “mascots are people too” and another called “majestic mustaches.” These fun boards are in addition to others that highlight MLB merchandise, baseball-themed art, great games, and fields around the nation. While only 750 people are following all of the brand’s boards, most individual boards have double that in followers, a great start for building baseball’s brand on Pinterest.

  10. Wall Street Journal.

    The WSJ isn’t known for its stunning visuals (though those stippled drawings featured on the front page are pretty iconic), but that hasn’t stopped this newspaper from gaining quite a following on Pinterest. Their famous hedcuts make an appearance as links to longer articles, and readers can check out a variety of great photos and other images from the WSJ magazine, Arts and Entertainment, and other featured sections. Some of their more successful boards, however, focus on infographics, charts, and special stories, some of which draw in thousands of followers. Surprisingly, the brand has also been very successful with a board called “An Introduction to Pinterest” which, as you might imagine, provides some helpful tips and tricks for navigating the social media site. They’ve also taken full advantage of the popularity of the site with those looking for home decor, creating a Design & Decorating board that has nearly 5,950 followers alone.


This article was first posted on Online MBA.