What Brands Are Doing Right — And Wrong — On Pinterest

Pinterest cat girl

Photo: Screengrab

Pinterest was once the darling of social media, but now its user-base is plateauing.Unlike Twitter——where brands and celebrities dominate the most-followed lists—the top brand on Pinterest has less than one-tenth the followers of the top individual user.

And Pinterest’s user interface is limited for brands: you can post things, like them, and follow people … but that’s it.

The few brands that have tried to be innovative in the medium have had little success in terms of adding followers.

Individuals who have been successful, however, keep it simple: Lots of pictures of food and fashion.

Uniqlo got rave reviews for its Pinterest board.

It's gone now, but back in June fashion retailer Uniqlo launched an impressive campaign that involved scrolling down to see a mosaic animation. Currently, Uniqlo doesn't have an active Pinterest account.

You can see how it made the mosaic here:

Drake University is using Pinterest to help students.

Wonder what happens when you run out of 'Bulldog Bucks?' Or how about tips for job interviews? Drake University is using Pinterest to interact with students and help them navigate campus life.

While there are some pictures of sporting events and history at Drake--typical Pinterest fare--Drake also has a lot of boards that are practical.

Peugeot Panamá also used mosaics.

The automaker took mosaics to a new level by asking users to participate in its Jigsaw Puzzle Contest where they rearranged pictures to complete a mosaic of a full car. The account recently crossed the 1,300-follower mark.

The Wall Street Journal turned Pinterest into a Newspaper.

Pinterest looks a bit like a newspaper, so the Wall Street Journal made it into an actual newspaper. The newspaper takes the most interesting quotes from its articles, highlights them on its Quotes board, and then encourages users to click on them.

Also on Pinterest, WSJ's pointillist 'Hedcuts.'

But none of those companies are doing well on Pinterest compared to ...

... the most popular Pinterest user, Jane Wang.

Unless you use Pinterest you've probably never heard of her. Wang is the mother of Ben Silbermann, one of Pinterest's co-founders. She doesn't have the celebrity status of someone like Oprah Winfrey -- except on Pinterest where Wang's 3.2 million followers dwarfs Oprah's 30,000.

The top profiles, owned by individuals, on Pinterest are over 10 times larger than the top profiles owned by companies -- and none are celebrity accounts.

Here's the top 10 according to ZoomSphere:

Personal AccountFollowersCommercial AccountFollowers Jane Wang 3,828,116 The Perfect Palette 264,363 Jennifer Chong 2,153,203 The Beauty Department 217,688 Mike D 1,833,889 Real Simple 140,627 Maia McDonald 1,792,461 skinnytaste 128,234 Caitlin Cawley 1,721,870 Better Homes and Gardens 127,974 anna h 1,666,806 Etsy 111,963 Daniel Bear Hunley 1,645,151 HGTV 111,884 Michael Wurm Jr. 1,318,859 Kate Spade New York 71,228 Bright.Bazaar 1,314,796 Martha Stewart Living 69,324 Ez Pudewa 1,268,812 Michaels Stores 64,869

The top brand on Pinterest is a name you've never heard of.

Unless you are a Pinterest fan, you've probably never heard of The Perfect Palette.

The Perfect Palette is a wedding blog centered around pictures of weddings with colour themes. Its 264,000-plus followers put it above every other non-personal page on the site.

Brands that do well on Pinterest have a few things in common.

Given Pinterest's female-to-male ratio, almost all of the most-followed brands target women, a lot of them almost exclusively.

In general, accounts that do well post high quality, colourful, and artsy pictures of:

  • Weddings
  • Fashion
  • Food
  • Cupcakes

Kate Spade is the most-followed fashion brand on Pinterest.

Kate Spade understands that posting pictures of its own products isn't enough. All nine of Kate Spade's boards use the word 'colorfully' in them--a clear sign that colour is key.

And the most popular food brand is also a blog.

Popular food blog skinnytaste.com is the top food-only Pinterest brand. It has just under 130,000 followers, enough to be the fourth most popular commercial account.

Despite being a significantly more popular website than The Perfect Palette according to Compete--skinnytaste doesn't have half the Pinterest followers of the wedding site.

Overall, media brands are doing well on Pinterest.

According to ZoomSphere's data the top five most-followed commercial accounts are media brands, and 14 of the top 20 are media brands as well. Unlike the WSJ, most of the biggest media brands on Pinterest do the same thing: post pictures.

Pinterest users want pretty pictures. If a brand wants to be successful it needs to post pretty pictures.

But that's not Pinterest's biggest problem with brands.

There are a lot brands that aren't on Pinterest. You'd think fashion retailers would be overjoyed at the free exposure Pinterest provides. Aéropostale, J. Crew, and Tiffany & Co. are all still absent, despite being prime brands for Pinter

A host of brands, like Under Armour and SkyMall, started to work on Pinterest later slowed, or stopped, their activity altogether. Under Armour hasn't been active for five weeks. SkyMall hasn't posted since last year.

Now that you know how to be popular on Pinterest ...

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