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5 Ways CPG Brands Can Use Pinterest

By Sep 24, 2012

Did you know that 19% of online women use Pinterest, according to Pew Research? With such a large percentage of women using the platform, it's hard for brands to ignore Pinterest's marketing potential. Retailers and women-oriented magazines made a big splash earlier this year, boasting increased traffic, sales and engagement, leaving many other brands wondering how to replicate their success. 

While Pinterest grows in users and marketers launch “Pin it to win it” promotional campaigns to gain followers, CPG brands are struggling to make Pinterest work for them. Coca-Cola, which recently became the first brand to pass the 50 million Facebook fan mark, only has 1,842 followers despite launching over six months ago. Oreo, another one of the most popular brand pages on Facebook with over 27 million fans, only has 990 followers on Pinterest. Compared to the follower bases of Better Homes & Gardens, (182,676) Real Simple (173,111) and Kate Spade, (84,734) CPG follower numbers look pretty dismal.

CPG brands need to get creative if they want to play in this space. Here’s how they can compete:

1. Showcase interesting ways to use the product

Oreo features their cookies as edible art as part of their “Daily Twist” series. It would be more successful on Pinterest if it was unique to the platform, the series is already a large part of Oreo’s Facebook content strategy, and if it connected more seamlessly with the Daily Twist microsite.

2. Leverage coupons

Pinterest is a great place for social couponing initiatives. The coupons are easily sharable; the core Pinterest audience, the digital mom, regularly and enthusiastically consumes online deals, and the concept is simple to execute.  All the brand has to do is have an existing online coupon and “pin” a link to it with an attention-grabbing picture.

3. Create recipes

With edible CPGs, recipes are a natural fit if they are well photographed.  Kraft Foods has a dedicated Pinterest profile to recipes that has over 41,000 followers. Recipes are engaging because of their visual appeal, sticky because they lend themselves to curating and they drive traffic to the brand’s website. Some-inedible CPGs can benefit from “recipes” as well—bleach bottles can be up-cycled, glass jars can be transformed, the DIY recipe possibilities are endless.

4. Connect with influencers

There are many avid Pinterest users who are also bloggers and social media influencers. Brands can connect on a new level with this target on the platform where they’re actively sharing products they love, tips and lifestyle-focused content. Pepsico connected to moms on Pinterest with their “Diet Pepsi Celebrates Moms” campaign last Mother’s Day. They featured photos of fans who participated in their Photo Booth Facebook app, links to participate in a Twitter party, and pictures of a live event with moms in LA.

5. Use it as your website

Grey Poupon in a radical move made their Pinterest profile the brand’s main website. The long-term benefits of using Pinterest as a website are debatable, but no one can deny that it makes a statement and that it makes it simple to update the content. Other brands can capitalize on the benefits of this concept without as much risk by using a Pinterest profile for a new product or a specific campaign instead of a microsite.

These are just a few of the interesting ways CPG brands can use Pinterest as part of their social media and digital strategy. Have other examples? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Jaime Hoerbelt (right) is social media strategist with Tenthwave, which ranked No. 73 on the 2012 PROMO 100. She can be reached at jaime.hoerbelt@tenthwave.com.

  • hamhanak

    There are so many aspects to this, and you have opened up another train of thought for me to examine. Thank you for your insight.
    Andrew