By Louis Nel

So the new rising star on the social media block is a little something called Pinterest. Actually, not so new anymore – the platform’s just over 2 years old. But only recently has it started to draw attention to the social media masses and, of course… brands.

What is it?

Pinterest is a pinboard-style social photo sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, hobbies and more. Users can browse other pinboards for inspiration, ‘re-pin’ images to their own collections and or ‘like’ photos.Wikipedia

Impressive stats

  • Almost 12 million active registered users. In January 2012, it became the fastest standalone site in history to hit 10 million users. Respect.
  • In December 2011, Pinterest was one of the top five referrers for several US clothing retailers’ (Nordstrom, West Elm, Mod Cloth) websites – infographic. It beat YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • 87% of Pinterest users are female, between the ages of 25 and 54.

Who’s on it?

International Followers South Africa Followers
Top brands/companies:1. The Perfect Palette

2. The Beauty Department

3. Etsy

4. Real Simple

5. Skinny Taste






Top brands/companies:1. Yuppiechef

2. Safari

3. BabyNews.co.za

4. Jeanne Openshaw

5. Brands In Trade






Top people:1. Jane Wang

2. Jennifer Chong

3. Maia McDonald

4. Mike D

5. Caitlin Cawley






Top people:1. Marcel Witbooi

2. Elmarie Giles

3. Daniel Cronje

4. Lydia Meintjes

5. Diana Moss






Data source: Zoom Sphere

Judging from the table above, it’s clear that individuals have more influence on Pinterest than brands. Companies should pay close attention to the kind of images being pinned by influencers. If there’s a mutual interest, the pinboards of these people (designers, etc) could be great places to find inspiration for the kind of images to pin.

As you can see, there’s a massive difference between the top international brand (over 249K users) and the top South African brand (80 users). I guess our adoption rate is sloth-like, or maybe brands are just not using it right.

So which brands are getting it right?

There are a few examples of brands using this medium effectively. My personal favourite is BMI Airlines’ “Pinterest Lottery” campaign. Every week, they post 72 photos of five destinations. These images are branded with BMI logos and the numbers 1 to 72. Users are then encouraged to repin up to six photos. BMI uses a random number generator to select a number between 1 and 72. Users who’ve repinned the photo with that specific number go into a lucky draw and qualify for a chance to win two return tickets to any BMI destination. Pretty cool.

I like this campaign, because it’s something I would be interested to enter. Who doesn’t love travelling? And from a brand’s perspective, it’s a campaign that could go on for an indefinite time, gaining more and more Pinterest followers for the company.

Guess Clothing also ran a fun campaign called “Color Me Inspired”. They asked followers to create pinboards based on four spring colours found on Guess’ Color Me Inspired pinboard. Participants had to name their boards “Guess My Color Inspiration” and pin at least five images that inspired them for spring. They also had to repin the colour they selected from Guess’ board. Four winners were chosen by four fashion bloggers. A pair of Guess Colored Denim was up for grabs.

What brands should keep in mind on Pinterest

It caters to a specific demographic with specific interests. People that are doing well on this platform are mostly female artists and designers between the ages of 25 and 54.

Users publicly express themselves through images that inspire and are relevant to their lives. Companies should keep a close eye on what users are pinning and share similar styles and types on their own boards. This will encourage users to ‘like’ and ‘repin’.

The images pinned by brands must not seem pushy or ‘salesy’. It’s OK to share a beautifully shot image of a product and link out to a website from which it can be purchased. But brands should steer clear of heavy sales-driven messages.

Brands should also share things that they like, and things that they know their followers would like. Images that are beautiful, stylish, helpful and interesting.

I’ll be keeping my eye on their boards…

2 Responses to “Pinterest. Should your brand have pinboards?”

  1. Sue says:

    Hi Louis,

    Great post, thanks! I’m actually looking at putting our company on Pinterest, and you’ve highlighhted some interesting points! Love the Guess and BMI ideas…good to incorporate! Pinterest is VERY underrated!

  2. louis says:

    Hi Sue

    I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading!


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