Marketing Technology for Growth

Case Study: 4 Brands that Use Pinterest the Right Way

use pinterest to drive organic trafficSocial media gives companies exponential reach, empowering brands to leverage content and messaging to accomplish their business goals.

Here is a brief sketch of five businesses that have taken this to heart, using Pinterest to connect with their target audience, build brand advocacy, drive website traffic, and generate leads and sales.

In other words, they’re using Pinterest the right way.


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The right social media strategy allows you to share who you are with potential customers in an authentic and powerful way. When your social media truly represents you, people feel safe and are more likely to move from interested bystanders to converted visitors.

Online shopping website Etsy is doing just that. As a retailer of homemade and vintage goods, Etsy's pinboards really take to heart what its brand stands for. Etsy's Pinterest account shows you how you can make your own products and how to put their products to work in your daily life, which emphasizes the lifestyle philosophy that Pinterest promotes.¹ By giving its followers more ideas as to how they can buy Etsy products, the company is humanizing its brand and forming deeper connections with its target audience.


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Loyalty and trust play a big part in social media success. Businesses are using social media site like Pinterest to build brand advocates

ModCloth an online retailer of vintage and retro clothing from independent designers, has done a great job using Pinterest to build brand advocacy. ModCloth joined Pinterest in the fall of 2011, but it’s already one of ModCloth’s top unpaid referral sites in terms of traffic and revenue. According to Modcloth’s Alicia Barnes, this is thanks to “product photography and blog content that resonates with their audience.” ModCloth has approximately 7,000 pins tagged on Pinterest, and 99% of them are from advocates of the ModCloth brand (me, again) and products, she adds.


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Social media channels can be used to bring relevant visitors to your website - visitors who will convert into customers. In a recent study by Social Media Examiner, 74% of marketers interviewed found a substantial increase in website traffic with as little as 6 hours per week invested in social media marketing.

Perpetual Kid is an online store selling products that “entertain your inner child.” The company’s product line is made for social media, and the staff happily engages with customers in many creative ways (like drawing a picture on the box an item is shipped in).

In 2011, Perpetual Kid began to gain organic exposure on Pinterest.  Customers pinned pictures of Perpetual Kid’s products, as well as pictures that had been drawn on shipping boxes by the staff. In the summer of 2011, Pinterest was driving only 0.20% of Perpetual Kid’s total traffic; by January 2012, it was up to 2.63%.²

Traffic aside, Pinterest-driven sales conversion rates are the real story for Perpetual Kid. Pinterest traffic converts to a sale at more than twice the rate (my emphasis) of Facebook traffic. This suggests that creative consumer engagement on social media can lead to efficient sales conversion.

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Mashable’s recent post on Wayfair, the second largest home goods retailer by revenue, reflected how Pinterest referrals are not only more likely to make a purchase, but to spend more on average, than visitors from other social channels.

Wayfair CEO Niraj Shah says that shoppers referred by Pinterest are more 10% more likely to make a purchase than visitors who arrive from other social networks, including Facebook and Twitter. They’ll also spend 10% more on average.

When asked why he thinks Pinterest has proven a better sales channel than other social networks, Shah noted that Pinterest encourages people to collect images that inspire them, and that includes products. “Visual imagery drives inspiration, it’s what makes you want to buy it,” Shah said. “We sell things [on our sites] in the same way.”

These brands have one thing in common: they are using Pinterest specifically, and social media generally, to build brand advocacy, expand their reach, and generate leads and sales, i.e. to achieve their business goals. If that isn’t using social media the right way, I don’t know what is.


¹ Hubspot, “7 Examples of Brands that Pop on Pinterest

² Social Snap, “Pinterest Case Study:“Seeking beautiful experience while shopping”’

³ Mashable, “Niche Social Networks Deliver Big Results for Brands

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Topics: Social