How three brands used Pinterest to win consumers and why you should too

In anticipation of Pinterest making its Promoted Pins readily available to more retailers, we evaluate and analyze the social strategies of Bloomingdales, JotForm, and BobVila. 

What does 2016 have in store for social media marketers? Whatever strategy you adopt, it’s likely to include Pinterest. Now boasting 100 million active monthly pinners, it can represent a direct line to potential customers.

Before you can launch into a new year of Pinterest marketing, there are a few things you need to know.

Since 2013, when it began experimenting with advertising, Pinterest has largely offered its promoted pins to fortune 500 companies, as others were asked to join a waitlist. However, it was announced in December that the wait will soon be over. If all goes as planned, Pinterest is expected to open Promoted Pins to all U.S. businesses some time this month. To date, the company claims to have more than one million active business accounts.

At the same time, the company has made it clear it’s primarily interested in shoring up retail and CPG campaigns. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Pinterest will “no longer offer hands-on support” to companies beyond these two categories, though all businesses will be able to buy promoted pins through Pinterest’s self-serve platform.

Where does this leave you and your brand? Do you need those promoted pins, or is a clever Pinterest marketing strategy enough to connect with consumers?

Here’s a look at how three very different companies are driving engagement on the popular social site.

Bloomingdales embraces shoppable product guides

This past holiday season, brands of all kinds were searching for ways to get their products in front of Web and mobile shoppers. Bloomingdales reimagined the popular “gift guide” marketing format to create shoppable Pinterest boards. With categories ranging from Holiday Gifts for Her and Gifts for Him, to Gifts for Kids and Gifts Under $100, the retailer linked its boards to relevant pages on its site.

Meanwhile, mobile users could make a purchase directly through the brand’s Pinterest account. To increase awareness of the guides, Bloomingdales employed promoted pins as well.


“We took it a step further by rethinking the (gift guide) experience and making it more interactive,” Jonathan S. Paul, Bloomingdale’s operating vice president of social and paid media, told Digiday an interview for a December article about the retailer’s social strategy during the holiday season. Bloomingdales also used buyable pins back in October, along with brands like Wayfair and fashion company DVF. According to Pinterest the format has helped other businesses, such as Madesmith and Spool No. 72, generate interest and sales from new customers.

JotForm opts for useful content

With a reputation for delivering endless DIY-themed tips, Pinterest is best used to distribute content that serves a tangible purpose. But that doesn’t mean you can’t showcase your product.

Relatively new to Pinterest marketing, JotForm – which supplies online form builder tools – recently optimized its Theme Store so that users can pin from themes to their boards. On its Pinterest account, it posts images of its product in action, along with Web and graphic design trends, typography advice, and tips for UX design.


Leeyen Rogers, JotForm’s vice president of marketing, has adopted a multifaceted strategy for pinning that is sure to resonate with other brands:

  • Ensure that your pins reflect your company’s philosophy.
  • Stick with high-quality image content.
  • Pin original content, but also repin existing content to keep your account active and show support for the Pinterest community.
  • Let your Pinterest analytics dashboard inform your pinning schedule to make sure you’re posting at peak times for your target audience.

Bob Vila proves that men pin too

While studies have confirmed that the majority of Pinterest users are women, recent research shows that a third of all new sign-ups come from men. This bodes well for brands like Bob Vila. Pinterest claims that Bob Vila’s Pinterest page increased referral traffic to the company’s home repair site by 33 percent, and that 20 percent of its monthly pinners are male.

“Pinterest has grown to be one of our most relevant sources of unique visitors and page views,”’s editor and social media director Caitlin Castelaz said. Its success lies in the brand’s understanding of what its primary audience is looking for. “Well-photographed and pristine interior design can be really compelling, but it doesn’t resonate with our readers as much as practical projects and tips,” Castelaz noted.

As you plan your next social marketing move, consider what Pinterest can do for your brand. With the right strategy, this could be the year that you turn a good chunk of those hundred million users into loyal customers.

Homepage image via Flickr.

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