Pinterest – How can small businesses take advantage of visual brand marketing?

When you find yourself browsing online and happen to come across something that inspires or motivates you that you simply don’t want to lose, what do you usually do? Physically write down the URL, copy the URL and email it elsewhere, or simply bookmark it on your computer?

Over the past few months chances are you’ve probably heard a great deal about Pinterest, the latest social media phenomenon. Or how smaller businesses are taking advantage of this visual brand marketing platform to promote products and services with great success.

As it stands, figures indicate that Pinterest is currently the fourth largest social media outlet with over 58.2 Million unique users registered as of March 2014. Alright, perhaps it’s trailing Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in terms of popularity and registered users, but considering that Pinterest is the youngest of all the current major social media platforms – officially released in March 2010 – Pinterest actually currently stands as the fastest growing social website ever! However what’s even more unique and interesting about this social media platform is that data proves that Pinterest users are not only more likely to interact with brands and suppliers, they also tend to make more online purchases with retailers compared to any other social media outlet.

Pinterest has now passed Facebook Facebook in the UK and is expected to do the same in the USA in increased revenue per visit. Statistics prove that Pinterest will drive £0.88 revenue per visitor compared to Facebook which has fallen to £0.69 meaning that Pinterest is now provides the largest revenue. In the US alone, the average Pinterest order value is now between $150-$200 per order compared to Facebook and Twitter shoppers who on average will spend between $60-$95

So what is it that makes Pinterest much more appealing for users to want to interact with and buy from brand suppliers? Well following some investigation work, untitled™ took a look inside the world of Pinterest and answer ‘what is Pinterest’, ‘how can small businesses benefit from Pinterest’ and finally review some of the most successful small business stories ever.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a free visual pin-board style bookmarking social media website that allows its users to create, manage and “pin” multiple theme-based images and other media content such as videos and gifs that users upload, save or share with other virtual “Pin Boards”. The visual discovery platform was developed by Paul Sciarra, Evan Sharp, and Ben Silbermann and was officially released in March 2010.

Similar to previously popular social bookmarking websites such as Digg and StumbleUpon, Pinterest users can exclusively pin images and videos on their or on other Pinterest accounts.  Much like other social media platforms, Pinterest users can follow you or your pinboard and can interact with others by either using the “Re-Pin” function to share images or content they like which will automatically be added to their own pinboards or can “Like” them and add their own personal comments.

Four small business benefits

1. Visualise your brand, your products and your services

For some businesses this task is certainly easier than others but it’s all about making that connection and that appeal to potential customers! Currently the most popular industries on Pinterest are establishments such as Food, Recipes, Travel, Art and Fashion because they are so easy to visually capture and to inspire.

Brainstorm and think of visuals that best represent your business and your services – perhaps it’s before and after photos or infographics – whatever it may be, find your niche and look to get those pins and repins. When uploading your visual representation, upload high-resolution photos with your business watermark so users can become familiar with you.

2. Integrate Pinterest onto your website

Much like other social media websites Facebook and Twitter, the easiest way to share and get your name out there is by allowing users to share your content for you! While Twitter provides the “Tweet” button and Facebook offers the “Like” functionality, Pinterest provides a “Pin It” button which is completely free and easy to assemble for your website. Getting your brand or your products out there is all about being convenient for your users. If visitors want to share your news, or products or your blogs, they are more likely to follow you with the possibility of gaining more followers!

3. Visual marketing coupons and contests

Regardless of what you are selling or what promotional offers you provide, the general public seems to just love coupons! Posting coupon images on Pinterest has become a highly successful visual marketing strategy for smaller business to promote their services and products.  Not only are coupons completely free to create, they don’t take a great deal of time and users will often go out of their way to visit your profile! If you tend to have regular discount promotions, users will want to follow your account regardless of whether they need your services or products – they just want the discount.

Providing Pinterest contests is also a completely free, visual marketing strategy to not only get users looking at your business but as an easy way to increase those numbers! You have probably seen this strategy time and time again,  a business looking to increase its number of followers often provides discounts, or even free products. It’s a simple yet effective strategy.

4. Interact with and Research your Competition / Inspiration

With Pinterest providing interactive features such as comment, like, share and even follow suggestions, these features provide the perfect tools to not only interact with and find your inspiration, but also provides you with the opportunity to check out your competition.

Research your local competitors or brands that inspire you and see what they are offering to their customers. Investigating can prove to be a useful source of inspiration, and seeing what works well for other companies can help you take it one step further for even more success…

The marketing success stories

Lowe’s – Retail Home Improvement

Lowe’s became an inspiring home improvement retail industry powerhouse thanks to some of their visual creative marketing techniques which allowed them to really share and provide passion for smaller household and DIY improvement projects.  By inspiring their users to share and take on their home improvement projects, they ended up adding a creative ideas section on their website.

After installing the Pin It feature to all their existing products on the website, Lowe’s started to use Pinterest to validate the popularity of products such as different colours or decors. Now with over 3 million followers, Lowe’s have started to provide home improvement competitions such as the “Create your own colourful doormat project” which has so far seen over 200,000 repins.

Nordstrom – Pioneer of Pinterest Fashion

Nordstrom started out as one of the original pioneers of Pinterest to truly inspire customers and tell a visual story about fashion and beauty within the retail industry.  First testing the live-pinning feature during the iconic Fashion Week to a huge success, Nordstrom later created influential boards for each season (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall) then evolved this strategy by adding pins onto their catalogue listings to generate over a million impressions. Since their introduction, they now have over 4.4 Million followers.

Allrecipes – The world’s largest digital food brand

By inspiring and motivating chefs and home cooks across the globe, Allrecipes became a  digital community phenomenon of over 30 Million users by allowing Pinterest users to share, comment, like and upload their very own recipes, cooking tips and food videos.

With now over 178,000 followers, Allrecipes provides the perfect opportunity for fellow Pinterest users to rate, review and try millions of inspirational recipes from all over the world!


While Pinterest might not be the most suitable social media platform for every business sector out there, it certainly provides a range of unique uses that no other website can replicate. For some businesses this task can prove to be much simpler than others to visually brand your business, products and services.

If Pinterest appeals to you, why not get in touch with a member of the team? Not only can we provide tips on the perfect Pinterest profile to suite your business, we can also incorporate the ‘Pin It’ feature onto your website.