Social Media for Business Part 1: Pinterest

Posted by Lisa Daly Lehmann on March 13, 2015 in categoryStrategy

Part one of a five-part series on social media for businesses. The series looks at each of the big five social media outlets (Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter), and the opportunities each offer to businesses to engage with customers and other stakeholders.


What it specializes in: Beautiful photographs, recipes, travel, fashion, design, do-it-yourself projects, and hints and tips. Pinterest describes itself as "A visual bookmarking tool that helps you discover and save ideas for all your projects and interests." Users of the site create dream boards, collect recipes, ideas for projects, or just collect beautiful images. The images (“pins”) are linked to more content, so the pinner can return later to make a recipe, purchase an item, or further explore an idea.

Who uses Pinterest: As of Sept. 2014, 22% of adults (and 28% of online adults) use Pinterest. Of those, 17% use it daily, 29% weekly, and 52% less often. Pinterest is the most-female dominated of the big five social media outlets (Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter). 42% of online women now use the platform, compared with 13% of online men. Pinners self-identify as 32% White, 21% Hispanic and 12% Black, non-Hispanic. 34% are 18-29 years old, 28% are 30-49, and 44% are 50 years old or above. Pinterest also skews toward higher income users with 34% earning $75,000 or more per year.1

What kinds of businesses make the best use of Pinterest? Pinterest can be a powerful tool for any organization that has access to high quality photography or graphics, and specializes in food, fashion, travel, design, education or do-it-yourself projects.

Below are some examples of companies or organizations that use Pinterest particularly effectively.

Beautiful food photos linked to recipes are a staple of Pinterest. Pinners share and save recipes. In the examples below, The J. M. Smucker Company and Wegmans Food Markets both share beautiful high quality photos, linked through to helpful content.

In both cases, the emphasis is on providing value to other users – any sales effect is indirect. Pinterest frowns upon posting coupons or promotions, in favor of more permanent content that its users can collect. For example, a good recipe can be saved forever, but a coupon becomes clutter after it expires.

Another specialty that lends itself very well to pinning, is fashion. In the examples below, both Kate Spade and Warby Parker post beautiful photos of their signature items, but both also add pins and entire boards just for inspiration, including images that capture an aesthetic or mood that inspires their work.

Travel photos are another Pinterest favorite. This platform has recently added the ability to pin on a map, allowing its users to create a map of images for all of their travels, or the travel they dream of doing one day. In the examples below, Travel and Leisure has access to world-class photos and a steady stream of content. The Syracuse University Abroad Program uses a mix of repining the photos of others and photos taken by students or faculty to get students excited about a semester abroad.

Do-it-yourself boards are another hugely popular genre within Pinterest. The two examples below both do an excellent job of visually showing the project and providing just enough information in the description to encourage pinners to save the project to an idea board.

Learn more:
How can Pinterest impact your company? Learn from the best, while checking out the links below:


1Pew Research Center's Internet Project September Combined Omnibus Survey, September 2014.