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Have you recently found yourself asking “What is all this buzz about Pinterest?” We’ve been pondering over that very question here at Thought Labs! After some hefty research and critical thinking, we have a few thoughts of our own concerning just what Pinterest is, who’s making use of it, what they’re doing with it, and most importantly: how your brand can be successful with the Pinterest platform!

Just the facts.
Pinterest empowers its users; providing the ability to easily curate content from anywhere on the web with just one click! The website has humble origins, but has seen some very impressive growth in the last year, rising to become a top traffic referrer for fashion brands. Some have described Pinterest as digital scrapbooking, though rather than sharing their own lives, “pinners” are instead sharing their interests. While on most social networks the very idea is constant social interaction, Pinterest is described as a rather passive experience. Very little interaction occurs between pinners. Though the feeling of “missing out” for fear of falling behind in ongoing discussions or neglecting online profiles is for the most part absent among pinners, these very active individuals still feel compelled to return to the site often, with some users spending upwards of 2 hours per day curating content from outside sources, or “repinning” content already posted on another pinner’s board. (Sources:, Mashable)



Who uses Pinterest?
Pinterest’s largest demographic is women, age 25-34, while only about 20% of Pinterest’s users are male. Most pinners earn an annual income of 25k-75k per year. Many pinners (60%) have completed some college courses, however a comparatively smaller 25% of pinners have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher. (Source: Pinterest Demographic Data)



What interests pinners?
Pinterest’s users seem to prefer content that is creative and largely visual. Kary Delaria, described by as a Pinterest “super user”, says she finds ”ideas and inspiration for food to make (lots of that), styles to try, gifts to give, activities to do with the kids, projects to improve my home, and, a visual insight into the more personal/creative side of individuals in my network.” Seeking ideas and inspiration is a common theme among pinners, and many of the super users interviewed likened pinning to tearing interesting articles out of a magazine. In this capacity, Pinterest drives a lot of interest in fashion and creativity, DIY projects, cooking, unique vacations, and much more! (Sources:,



So, how can my brand benefit from Pinterest?

  • Be Creative. Brands which are not typically considered creative could still find success in sharing interesting content which ties into their brand, or finding unique methods for creating their own content (think The Old Spice Guy).

Whole Foods has a multitude of boards, and while many of them focus on their primary product (groceries), consider their highly successful board Super Hot Kitchens, which features renovations and design ideas for your kitchen!


  • Be Visual. Visual content reigns supreme on Pinterest. Attractive and informative infographics and visual guides can be a great way to gain the attention of pinners while educating your customers as well!

Graphic Side has done a great job of this with their “Inforgraphics” board, which has already netted 93 followers for their 39 pins!


  • Drive Purchases. Among pinners, it is generally agreed that pins which link to an opportunity to purchase products they consider favorable are highly preferred and difficult to pass up.

Nordstrom excels with product links included in every pin, which take you directly to the pinned product’s page in their online storefront!


  • Incentivize Your Followers. Considering one of the primary demographics on Pinterest (Boomers and Boomerangs) is reported to be price-sensitive, discounts and similar incentives can also be a great opportunity to turn pins into revenue!

DIY GarageShelf, a small and unassuming website marketing do it yourself garage storage kits, has built a respectable following by offering special discounts on Pinterest.


  • Don’t be self-involved. Share a variety of content that will appeal to your target audiences. Pinterest makes this easy! With Pinterest, you can create multiple boards, and pinners can elect to follow the boards which interest them, rather than just your brand as a whole.Williams-Sonoma manages to keep the focus on their delicious offerings while also keeping their followers interested by offering great ideas on ways their customers can use their products. Pinners are also encouraged to pin their own ideas to Williams-Sonoma’s Your Entertaining Ideas board!


  • Host Contests. Everyone loves to get free stuff! While other social networks do provide great opportunities for contests, Pinterest is an appetizing choice for contests, because it comes without restrictions on how, when, and where you can run your contests, or how you can notify your winners. It also allows for visual based contests, such as having community members contribute photos, or develop interesting captions for photos shared by your brand. These are usually very fun and engaging, and should get the interest of your followers.’s Pin it if you Love it contest was just launched on the first of February, but is already gaining a lot of momentum! Pinterest is still a very young platform, but it is an ideal spot to host your contests!


  • Above All Else, Provide Value. Pinners are not following you to be advertised to; they are looking for content that interests them. For pinners, value comes in the form of information that speaks to their individual interests and is curated in a stylish, visual, and easily digestible format. Remember: inspirational ideas, visually appealing retail merchandise, visual guides to DIY projects (potentially involving your products!), recipes, and hosting boards that your followers contribute to are all great ways to provide value to your pinners!


Pinterest provides a great opportunity to diversify content without losing the interests of your core demographic or those which are interested in very specific content from your brand. Thus, if approached correctly, what is currently considered to be one of the most impersonal social networks available could become one of your most meaningful and personal channels for speaking directly to your customer’s many varied interests!

Look to any of these brands for more inspiration and ideas on what makes a brand successful on Pinterest! Do you have your own ideas for how brands should be leveraging Pinterest or what value they may find in the platform? Please, let us know in the comments below; we would love to hear from you!


Post by Zachary Chastain
Feb 2, 2012