Pinning for PR: 3 successful Pinterest campaigns

PR professionals are going visual to tell their brands’ stories, and with over a third of U.S. women using Pinterest, the social platform is a huge draw for campaigns.

With each passing day, PR is being nudged away from the familiar comfort of text-based communications to more visual forms of communications, especially in digital campaigns.

Today, among other platforms, Pinterest must be part of your social PR campaign strategy, especially if your target audience is female. It’s easy to dismiss Pinterest as a site where women just share pictures of fashion and food, but do so at your peril. Consider this:

• One-third of the women in the U.S. use Pinterest, according to Pew Research Center’s Social Media Update 2013.
• 85 percent of the estimated 40.1 million monthly Pinterest users in the United States in 2014 are female.
• New data from social sharing service ShareThis shows that for the first time, Pinterest outpaced email to become the third-most popular sharing channel in the fourth quarter of 2013.
• Pinterest is the channel of choice for moms, who share three times more than the average user, according to

Still need to be convinced? Here are three examples of creative and effective PR campaigns using Pinterest as a central communications hub:

1. Walmart’s green “Pin to Win” campaign

In September 2012, Walmart launched a PR campaign to promote its green initiative with its first contest on Pinterest. The “Pin to Win” contest offered users the chance to win a $500 Walmart Gift Card by sharing the Walmart products that inspire them to live better and more eco-friendly.

“Walmart is constantly looking for unique ways to share our sustainability story, as well as, connect with our customers through new channels,” said Andrea Thomas, Walmart’s senior vice president of sustainability. “Pinterest appeals to our customers who use the social media platforms to find and collect creative recipes, tips and how-tos, helping their families save money and live better.”

Walmart’s contest generated 100 comments, 413 entries, 700 “likes,” 1,547 original contest repins and 1,657 new followers (a 549 percent increase in followers). With a $500 contest prize their acquisition cost for entries was $1.21, new followers $0.32 and total engagement at $0.01, according to a case study written by

Additionally, Pinterest users increased traffic to the Walmart Green Room blog by 25 percent when the contest kicked off. People coming to the Green Room blog from Pinterest spent an average of 4 minutes and 38 seconds a jump of 170 percent.

2. Caribou Coffee’s #CaribouInspires campaign

In February of 2014, Caribou Coffee built a five-story “Living Pinterest Board” in the Mall of America. The “Living Pinterest Board” was designed as part of a new product launch for the company’s Real Inspiration coffee blend, according to a post written by Lisa Lacy of The coffee was developed using feedback from Caribou Coffee’s Pinterest user community.

“We wanted fans to inspire our roastmasters and that’s what Pinterest does — they post pictures and we see what fans want represented in the coffee,” said Michele Vig, Caribou Coffee’s vice president of marketing.

The #CaribouInspires board area included interactive pins and an inspiration stage with demonstrations and performances, the opportunity to taste the new blend, a chalkboard so visitors could share their reactions, and even a photo booth to capture the moments for social sharing. The vinyl Pinterest board also included two interactive TVs that featured images and updates to Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #CaribouInspires.

“This is the first time Caribou has ever created a coffee like this,” Vig said. “The roastmasters typically have the vision…this was the first time for them, too. The guys who create the coffee are not on Pinterest. When we came to them with the idea, they were apprehensive, but once they saw the visuals and saw fans talk them through the pictures, they were really inspired.”

3. Honda’s “Pintermission” campaign

Honda’s campaign to build perception of its new CR-V as a car to “get out and live life in” was an award winner, capturing first place in the Best Use of Pinterest category in PR Daily‘s Digital PR & Social Media Awards.

The premise was very simple: Honda reached out to five influencers on Pinterest and challenged them to a “Pintermission”: a 24-hour break from pinning and actually DO some of the things they had been pinning on their boards. Each was given a $500 incentive, asked to create their own boards about the #Pintermission, and add Honda as a collaborator. Adding Honda as a collaborator to the individual pinners’ boards offered them addiditional exposure to new Pinterest users.

The campaign was a spectacular success and more than 4.6 million people were exposed to the #Pintermission boards. The campaign garnered more than 5,000 repins and almost 2,000 likes. The #Pintermission hashtag gained traction on Twitter and many people followed up with Honda, asking for #Pintermissions of their own.

Need more reasons to consider adding Pinterest to your PR toolbox?

The Pinterest user base continues to grow, attracting higher numbers of males as well as younger demographics. Thirty-three percent of 18 to 29 year olds in the United States have a Pinterest account and 23 percent of users access the site every day. Thirty percent of Pinterest users even say they prefer browsing the site to watching TV.

Pinterest is also evolving and has recently added new features including Guided Search and Interests. Guided search allows the site to perform more like a visual search engine, while the Interests function allows users to personalize the user experience.

Allen Mireles is an integrated marketing and social media strategist, trainer, and public speaker with more than 25 years of experience in traditional marketing and public relations. A version of her post was originally featured on The Vocus Blog.

Topics: PR

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