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What Consumers Love and Hate About Brands on Pinterest

5 min read

As marketers, it’s our job to predict what the public wants. Sometimes we get it right, and sometimes we get it wrong. I was curious to know what “real people” thought about brands on Pinterest, so I took to Facebook, Google+ and Quora to find out. Over those networks I asked, “What have you seen brands do on Pinterest that you absolutely love or absolutely hate?”  While some of the answers were pretty expected, other were quite surprising. Keep reading to find out what lessons we learned through this experience.

What Consumers Love and Hate About Brands on Pinterest

What Consumers Hate:

My favorite wedding dress designer, Maggie Sottero, always posts dresses without saying the name or linking it back to the website so I can get more details. – Ashley

Pinterest and weddings go together like love and marriage. For a wedding dress designer, marketing on Pinterest is a no brainer. However, Maggie Sottero made the fun process of perusing Pinterest for the perfect dress harder and less enjoyable for my friend and bride-to-be, Ashley. Even though Ashley did end up buying a stunning Maggie Sottero dress, just imagine all the potential brides she is losing by not including proper links and information on her pins. The lesson: Always provide the right information and links on your pins.

I followed Macy’s to see new inventory and they barely post. It’s good when companies involve pinners by making the caption on a pin a poll or question. – Kelsey

Macy’s has cultivated some serious brand recognition and brand loyalty throughout their 150+ years, so they have a built-in, engaged audience already. Like Maggie Sottero, Pinterest marketing should be like shooting fish in a barrel for Macy’s since Pinterest is so widely used as an “imaginary closet”. Plus, as Kelsey pointed out, Pinterest would be a great way for Macy’s to not only keep their fans up-to-date on their new inventory, but with their built-in audience, it would be a great place to engage their fans through questions and comments. The lesson: Give your fans what they want and take advantage of the description to encourage a little extra engagement.

I hate it when brands only show pictures of their product without involvement… I don’t want to see pictures of your product by itself, but if you pinned recipes with the product involved that’d be way more interesting. – Jade

I hate to be the one to break it to you but… your product displayed on a white background is just not that interesting. Consumers want to see the product in action; they want to see how the product can actually improve their life. Like Jade said, if you’re a company that sells food processors it would be much more interesting to pin a recipe that requires a food processor than just the kitchen tool on a white background. Although it might take a little bit of extra effort, by displaying your product in use it will have a greater chance of going viral. The lesson: Use Pinterest’s visual nature to your advantage by showing how useful your product is. And go ahead and delete all those boring product photos.

I follow Disney and love to click on their pins, but I rarely actually repin the pins. Although I like the pretty pictures and learning about the characters and parks, there’s rarely any information I feel the need to keep. – Emily

Again, it’s important to show how your product can improve your fans lives. Because Pinterest is a treasure-trove of DIY and crafts, it could be a good idea for Disney to tweak their pins a bit to make the information pertinent to the pinner. For instance, instead of just spouting off facts about the parks, Disney could create an article called “How to Impress Your Friends at Disneyland”. It’s all the same information, just displayed in a way that make the reader want to save it for the next time they’re at Disneyland. The lesson: Make your information useful to pinners lives.

What They Love

I loved the campaign Disney did with their movie rewards. Every couple of days they would pin a Christmas related Disney poster with a code to bank. They codes usually bank 5-15 points in my rewards account. – Emily

Although my friend and co-worker, Emily, wasn’t pinning many of Disney’s informational pins, she did love their pinning campaign with movie rewards. Although Pinterest has pretty tight contest rules, this is a genius campaign that encourages interaction without actually being a contest. The lesson: Once again, this campaign shows that providing your fans with ways to make their lives better will always provide more engagement.

I love how Target used Pinterest insights to create the new Awesome Shop.  It’s nice to see brands go beyond their products and contests. I get sick of all the “Pin it to Win it” campaigns. -Sarah

Target was one of the lucky few companies to gain access to Pinterest’s API, and they have since used it to beta test their Awesome Shop – an online store front that uses information from Pinterest to display their products. Since the API isn’t open to everyone, most companies cannot make their own “Awesome Shop”. However, Sarah makes a great point that it is great to see companies going beyond the normal contests and promotions. The lesson: Think outside the box when it comes to your Pinterest account. The more creative, the better.

I love it when certain brands offer extremely practical advice towards every day problems. It really sticks out. Lowe’s is a great example with their Fix in Six, even though there isn’t Lowe’s here in Vancouver, I feel brand affinity to them.  -Vincent

The always insightful Vincent Ng provided this excellent example of how powerful cultivating your brand on Pinterest can be. Even though there isn’t a Lowe’s near him, he still has a connection with them because of their helpful tips and tricks. Although someone in Vancouver might not be their target audience, if Vincent ever decides to move to the states there’s a good chance he’ll choose to go to Lowe’s over Home Depot. The lesson: By providing useful information you aren’t just helping your target audience, you could be cultivating a whole new fan base.

One thing I love is when brands show off their quirkiness: Grey Poupon. – Dave

The lesson on this one is simple – have fun! And seriously, check out Grey Poupon’s Pinterest page. It’s pretty quirky.

What lessons are we missing? Let us know in the comments!



Melissa Megginson is resident Community Manager and Cat Lady at Tailwind, the leading Pinterest & Instagram tool for brands. Melissa specializes in affiliate marketing, public speaking, and making our members look good. Find her on Twitter and Instagram at @MelMegg.

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  1. Avatar

    I like to go against the grain and pin “Biker” and Biker-related stuff on pinterest, because, hey, who doesn’t love a sexy-biker?

    • Avatar
      Melissa Megginson

      Our Accounts Manager and fellow biker, Jessica, will completely agree with you 🙂

  2. Avatar

    Nice article! I also realized, the more colorful and bright the images are, the more it stands out of all the other pins around and will be seen/repined better 😉

    • Avatar
      Melissa Megginson

      Definitely! Using bright colors on quotes and graphic images are great ways for companies without physical products to get repins. It’s worked for us 🙂

  3. Avatar
    Chris Madison

    I like to see pins that encourage the viewer to look at the image such as asking a question in the comment, puzzles, optical illusions, color, certainly high quality image, motion.

    • Avatar
      Melissa Megginson

      Agreed! I also love that Pinterest is now allowing gif’s on the site, which will keep people engaged with the pin longer. But, I’m also just a sucker for a good cat gift 🙂

  4. Avatar

    What are your thoughts on the new detailed image categories based on your own boards?

    About time, or go back to text?

    • Avatar
      Melissa Megginson

      Honestly, mine are a VERY random. I have the typical ones – social media marketing and pretty clothing – but then I also have a category dedicated entirely to bacon bouquets and another one for my apparent love of beer cheese.. How do you like them?

      • Avatar

        I like the search function better, (Text version) for exploring. Usually when i am browsing im headed just outside my own curated boards, and do not need to be curated pinterest’s top pins in those categories. just me.

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