5 Brands Rocking Pinterest: What Your Business Can Learn from the Big Guys

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5 Brands Rocking Pinterest

In our last post, we discussed how b2c businesses can market themselves on Pinterest. Now let’s look at some successful brands and talk about what you can learn (and borrow!) from them.

1. ELLE Knows Eye Candy. We realize the first screen shot might not do it complete justice, so be sure to click through to ELLE’s Pinterest page and this board in particular. The folks at ELLE magazine have access to awesome photos, of course, but notice how they use them, especially the cover images (in the second screen shot below). Each one is topical, the perfect size, and click- and pin-worthy, which is the whole point.

elle on pinterest

elle on pinterest

Takeaway for small businesses. Don’t skimp on the photography. Pin only the highest quality images and put some thought into what you select for a board’s cover image. It should reflect the topic, be striking, and invite people to click through to the full board.

2. Sephora Knows the Art of Balance. From their cover image selections to the topics for their top boards (a combo of educational, brand specific, and fun), Sephora knows how to balance everything perfectly.

sephora on pinterest

Takeaway for small businesses. Be mindful about your top five boards since this is what people will see first. Keep your most relevant, current, and popular boards in those key positions, and make sure they balance one another. For example, avoid creating five brand-specific boards. Have one or two and then create ones with other interesting (yet related) topics. Keep adding to them, and don’t hesitate to swap in better-performing boards over time.

3. Etsy Gets Social. We love Etsy’s Pinterest page, because like ELLE and Sephora, it also has amazing images and engaging board names. In addition, Etsy understands the art of being social and giving back to the community, as evidenced by its “guest pinner” board that we’re embedding beneath the main screen shot below. This “guest pinner” board highlights one of its own, by giving the “floor” to her so that she can highlight her own products (sold on Etsy, of course), as well as other products. And Etsy extends its own reach since this board will automatically appear on the guest pinner’s page as well. Beautiful!

etsy on pinterest

etsy on pinterest

Take away for small businesses. If you’re looking to expand your reach while giving back to the larger Pinterest community, contributor boards are a fabulous way to accomplish this goal. For example, say you’re an interior decorator. You might invite a design/build firm to create a board around hot kitchen design trends. Or you might ask an artist to create a board around frames for artwork and photos. You get the idea. You’re offering your own followers valuable boards, you’re providing colleagues with exposure to your fan base, AND you’re receiving exposure to their fan bases. A win-win all around. Learn more about creating guest pinner boards.

4. Middle Sister Wines Knows How to Win Big on Creativity. We wanted to make sure we featured a “smaller” brand, and one that’s run by a person, so that you see it’s not just the big guns who find success on Pinterest. Middle Sister Wines has cheeky, fun, creative boards that reflect the brand’s essence. You can certainly see this in its top five boards, but by clicking through, you can also see it reflected in the descriptions. Below is a screen shot of its “Setting the Bar” board. Check out the description, and notice how the top pins don’t reference Middle Sister Wines or their products at all. This company “gets” that its boards and pins shouldn’t be all about them.

middle sister wines

middle sister wines

Takeaway for small businesses. The folks on Pinterest don’t take kindly to constant advertisements for a specific product, service, or company. In other words, a business that decides to build a Pinterest presence should make sure it’s not succumbing to constant self-promotion. As with all social media, a good rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent should be about your fans and the larger community. Twenty percent (or less) should be about your business.

5. Starbucks Gives and Feels the Love. We love the Starbucks description: “A collection of the images, objects, and ideas that inspire us. These are the things we love – and love to share with you.” And do they ever deliver on that promise! Sure, there are some coffee-themed boards, but there are plenty of others as well, which gives Starbucks A LOT of flexibility.


Takeaway for small businesses. Make it all about your audience, and not just the part that has to do with your business. What other images, objects, and ideas would your audience be interested in? Engage with them—and the world they live in—by showing you understand, that you care, and that you want to participate.

What are some of your favorite brands on Pinterest? Is your company on Pinterest? What sorts of boards do you create? Share your ideas and links in the comments section below!

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Chris Wallace

About Chris Wallace

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This entry was posted in Brand Awareness, Branding, Case Studies, Content Marketing, Small Business Marketing, Small Business Resources, Social Media. Bookmark the permalink.

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