Commersations Resource Center

Should Brands Use Pinterest?

I recently signed up to the social networking and virtual inspiration pinboard website, Pinterest, and it hasn’t taken me long to become addicted. I follow one image or idea to another and then another, and before I know it, it’s 2 a.m. and I still can’t stop. I have so many ideas, I can’t sleep! I love the visual format and the organization. I can create and share my own virtual pinboards (My Style, Organization Ideas, Products I Love) with images I pin, browse other pinboards, and repin images to my pinboards. It makes it so incredibly easy to record and expand my ideas, dreams, and interests.


As a busy working mom, I am a huge online shopper and since I also work at GSI, an ecommerce company, I wanted to understand if brands should use Pinterest. I sat down with Erik Harbison, VP of Social Media for True Action, GSI’s digital marketing agency, to learn more.

First, Erik said that brands should ask themselves a few pre-qualifying questions. So, let’s start there.

  • Are your customers on Pinterest? Is so, what are they pinning?
  • Can your creative team produce photos and videos that cannot be found anywhere else?
  • Does your team have the time and effort to devote to Pinterest?

A word of caution, however. Erik advises you to keep in mind that Pinterest is not about self-promotion. If you think you can create pinboards that have your logo, pin all the products from your site, and then call it a day, don’t bother. Pinterest users want you to think outside the box and take the essence of your brand to put together images that tells a story and captures a particular lifestyle.

If the answer is yes to the questions above, here are tips from Erik on how brands can use Pinterest to their advantage:

  • Let imagery tell your story. Pin photos, images, and video that represent the lifestyle you want to convey.
  • Organize your pinboards. Create meaningful pinboards based on your buyer personas, themes, trends, seasons, or other categories relevant to your brand.
  • Have your designers start pinning. Ask your designers to pin what the brand means to them and post images that inspire them.
  • Promote other’s pins. Repin from within Pinterest and from other sites.
  • Engage with others. Follow, comment, and “like” others. Be active and post every day, and more people will follow you.
  • Gather insight into your consumers. Watch pinners who are following you and pinning your products to see what else they are pinning. This is the best way to see who your brand influencers are.
  • Make it easy to share. Add a “pin-it” button on your product detail pages of your website.
  • Measure. Use site analytics to look at the traffic coming back to your website.

Used thoughtfully, Pinterest can be part of a long-term brand strategy. It provides a window into the very thoughts, wishes, and dreams of your customers, allowing you to gain a deep insight into what they like, and what it is about your brand that connects with them. This site will also enable you to connect with your customers on a personal level and offers you an opportunity for building strong relationships that will encourage brand loyalty and turn customers into highly influential brand ambassadors.

Until next time, Happy Pinning.

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