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The Best Brands on Pinterest — And How You Can Copy Their Strategy

by Hanna Brooks Olsen
craft & maker, featured

Pinterest marketing

Widely considered to be the exclusive purview of brides-to-be and moms in need of creative snack ideas, Pinterest is actually a very powerful marketing and sales tool, especially for owners of craft and design businesses. Great for SEO, great for brand-awareness, and a really easy way to establish what kinds of people are interested in your products, Pinterest is a multipurpose wonder that’s miraculously free to join and use. But what does “doing it right” look like on this sometimes-confusing platform?

The best way to figure out what Pinterest can do for your brand is to look at other brands on Pinterest who are seeing great returns. By researching what works within the site — and finding the right foothold for your specific offerings — you can gain a ton of new eyeballs (and maybe even new customers) without leavings your living room.

Here are six of the savviest brands on Pinterest — and what they’re doing right.

Etsy: Etsy is fortunate as a brand because they have a wealth of content, right there at their fingertips. But the way they use it — both highlighting crafters and providing ideas for Pinterest users — is what’s really smart. Fashion, gifts, recipes, and boards curated by guest pinners all exist comfortably together to represent the diversity of the Etsy marketplace.

The Container Store: Pinterest is great for providing inspiration and aspiration, so the Container Store is a perfect fit. But instead of resting just on images of perfectly-organized closets, the Container Store takes an almost editorial approach to their Pinterest presence, creating unique microcontent for many of the boards, and organizing them a bit like tags or categories on a blog might.

best brands on pinterest

Whole Foods: Another brand who both gets their audience and the medium, Whole Foods has harnessed the desire for recipes on Pinterest and offers up some of their best, alongside creatively-titled boards that represent the nature of their voice. WF also smartly ventures outside the recipe box from time to time to offer other suggestions based on their non-food wares, like clothing or even lifestyle inspiration.

L.L. Bean: One of the questions CL instructor, author, and consultant Kari Chapin asks her students to consider is how their handmade goods fit into their customers’ lives, i.e., what purpose do they fulfill? L.L. Bean uses their Pinterest presence to answer this exact question by contextualizing their apparel within a broader image of an outdoorsy lifestyle.

Refinery 29: By comparison, Refinery 29 is almost exclusively about lifestyle, which means they have the challenge of curating items, goods, services, and products which illustrate that identity. Recipes, nail art, apparel, DIY ideas, and red carpet inspiration all fit within the R29 brand, and they have boards for all of them. However, they’ve also got vintage images, inspirational quotes, and even reading lists to make their Pinterest profile a comprehensive lifestyle guide.

Birchbox: Birchbox’s offerings are fairly narrow — they’re a subscription service that delivers beauty products in sample sizes to their customers — but they’ve expanded their Pinterest profile into much more than just cosmetic recommendations. By pinning a lot (they have 93 boards!) and very often, they’re always giving their fans something new to look at and share. Their boards aren’t especially unique or creative (they’ve got titles like “Fall” and “Nails”), but they’re extremely popular because they’ve got mass appeal and there are a lot of them. Sometimes, you just really don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

For more insight on how to market your brand on Pinterest, check out Megan Auman’s class, Pinterest Marketing for Makers & Designers or her other classes on how to build your Craft business. 

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Hanna Brooks Olsen

Hanna Brooks Olsen is a writer and editor for CreativeLive, longtime reporter, and the co-founder of Seattlish. Follow her on Twitter at @mshannabrooks or go to her website for more stuff.