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Learn From The Best: 3 Brands That Are Nailing It On Pinterest

Rob Nightingale 12-05-2014

Gaining momentum on Pinterest Follow These 5 Tips To Get More Shares For Your Pinterest Images Tired of pinning images that don't receive the attention they deserve? Get people sharing them! Read More isn’t easy. It takes time, patience, and a well thought out strategy. This post is not about tips that will get you there, though. We’ve been through those before.


To get good results, you need to see things for yourself, not jut read theoretical tips. The brands below are doing everything right, showing us how Pinterest should really be done. Learn from them!

NordStrom (nordstrom)



  • 4.2 million followers
  • 66 boards
  • 15,550 pins

Nordstrom is a fashion and beauty retailer, selling to both men and women, though you wouldn’t guess it from their boards. Only two of the boards are aimed specifically at men, showing Nordstrom’s understanding that Pinterest’s primary user-base is women. These boards range from having less than 50 pins, to over 1300. What’s interesting in their strategy, however, is:

  • They rarely use hashtags in their pin descriptions. The text is typically short, briefly describing the product, usually with a link back to that specific product’s sales page on their website.
  • The vast majority of their pins link back to their own website, not to third party websites. This is counter to how most brands are using Pinterest at the moment. With this many followers, Nordstrom must be receiving a hefty amount of traffic to their site thanks to Pinterest.
  • They’re leveraging the most popular topics on Pinterest to great effect. We can see this by looking at their most popular board (based on number of repins and followers), ‘Our Favorite Things‘. This board’s focus changes every once in a while. Right now, it is largely focused on summer-oriented pins, while it also goes through phases where weddings-related pins are more common.
  • They use their Pinterest account offline. Nordstrom was one of the first companies to use their burgeoning Pinterest presence in their offline stores. Not only do they use Pinterest data (repins, likes, and comments) to help decide which products to stock in brick-and-mortar stores, but they also mount Pinterest badges on actual products in the store to show which products are the most popular online, thereby bringing that social proof offline.

Random House Books (randomhouse)



  • 1.5 Million followers
  • 48 boards
  • 5016 pins

Random House Books is the largest English-language publisher in the world, with Pinterest boards covering every literary interest you may have, from Book Club Picks and Literary Tattoos to Bookshelf Envy and Game of Thrones. But let’s look at a few points that stand out in the way they use Pinterest:

  • Unlike Nordstrom, the majority of Random House’s pins link back to third party websites rather than their own site. This makes their account far more attractive to people who have a more general interest in books and literature, rather than people who’re loyal solely to Random House.
  • Similarly to Nordstrom, Random House doesn’t use many hashtags in their descriptions, but rather provide simple, short captions to their images.
  • On their website, Random house gives some quality space to a ‘Discover Your Next Book’ widget, which links to a specific Pinterest page which makes use of the social network’s first API release.  This ‘online bookshelf’ promotes not just Random House’s books, but also their Pinterest account, ensuring they leverage their website visitors to the best advantage. This is where Random House really takes advantage of Pinterest’s Business features, using ‘Rich Pins’ to provide more information about specific products, and more direct calls to action than can be found on usual pins.

Wholefoods (wholefoods)



  • 59 Boards
  • 3500 pins

Wholefoods is the world leader in natural and organic foods, with over 300 stores in the US and Canada, and making some exciting inroads in the UK. But with little mention of Pinterest on their site (other than an icon in the footer), how have they become so popular?

  • As with Random House, Wholefoods aren’t selling products on Pinterest. They’re selling a lifestyle. Green living, environmentally friendly produce, upcycling Don't Throw It Out Just Yet: 6 DIY Upcycling Websites That Show How to Repurpose Waste I am sure if you saw the Great Pacific garbage patch, you would get an idea of the waste we throw out as a species. It is just one of the concentrations of plastic and... Read More . People don’t want to be sold to, they want to be inspired, and that’s exactly what Wholefoods offer on their Pinterest account. This approach means these boards will appeal to a wide range of Pinterest users, from vegetarians and foodies, to craft lovers and wine connoisseurs.
  • Being in the FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) market, Wholefoods avoid posting many links to its own products as these change often, so the majority of their pins on most of their boards link back to third party sites.
  • There are a couple of boards, however, where most pins link back directly to the company’s own website. The most prominent of these boards focus on recipes, which are some of Wholefoods’ most popular pins. According to econsultancy, “500,000 visitors from Pinterest have viewed Whole Foods pages 760,000 times. Of that, 80% came from recipes”. This is a strategy they’ve been using for a while, linking pins back to recipes on their website and blog.
  • The company runs various projects which are later incorporated into Pinterest boards. For example, not too long ago, the company published an ‘Urban Farming’ video series on YouTube, which turned into their ‘How Does Your Garden Grow‘ Pinterest board, which now boasts more than 130,000 followers!
  • Finally, Wholefoods have also been making great use of Pinterest’s collaboration features. For example, their ‘Why Austin’ board now has over 100,000 followers thanks to Wholefoods inviting other Austin-based Pinterest users to collate pins for the board, thereby massively increasing the reach of each individual pin.


Of course, there’s no one, single way to use Pinterest effectively. These brands are all having massive success on the platform, but are each using different techniques and strategies. The important thing is to always think about what your audience wants to see.

After all, Pinterest is addictive to its users, so you need to be thinking strategically. Consider what you can do not just on the plaform, but off the platform, too.


Are there companies you love following on Pinterest? Tell us about some that are really nailing it!

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  1. Rob
    May 19, 2014 at 10:12 am

    This is true! Just took a look at their boards-

    Both look like they're doing some cool things over there :) Thanks for the comment!

  2. Le Beau Parleur
    May 16, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Chobani and Lululemon used to be awesome. Food network are good too.