How Unexpected Industries Are Using Pinterest

If you read about the brands enjoying the most success on Pinterest, you’ll begin to notice that the majority of them are in the decorating, fashion, and women’s magazine industries. While it’s no secret that women make up the majority of users on Pinterest and that these sites cater to their product interests, a recent HubSpot  article highlighted 7 industries that extend the use of Pinterest beyond these usual industry suspects.

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These unexpected companies that invest in Pinterest see something beyond the hard sell for a product when using Pinterest. It all boils down to how they use Pinterest for marketing and lead generation. According to Adrienne Rhodes of Social Media Today, there are two general uses for brands on Pinterest:

“Pinterest can be very effective at driving traffic and even conversions for the right brands. It’s also a great place to build awareness and tell a visual brand story by grouping products by unique and engaging themes.”

For the unexpected brands on Pinterest, the latter reasons are central to their strategies. Here’s how many of them engage on Pinterest.

Use Pinterest to Highlight Charity Work

Farmer’s Insurance is leading their industry’s pack on Pinterest by highlighting their investments in charity work, such as the March of Dimes. While most of us have seen the humorous Farmer’s commercials on television, their philanthropy may have remained off the radar for many until they began to share about it on Pinterest by posting images from their fundraising events. This does not necessarily add names to a list of leads, but it certainly may change the way a prospective customer feels about working with Farmers in the future, let alone keeping their business with Farmers.

Universities Help Students and Connect with Alumni

Pinterest has proven especially fascinating in the higher education world. One blogger Tracy Müller at the University of Texas business school in Austin, Texas created a Pinterest account where she, “created boards for office fashion (Workin’ It), workplace decor (Office Space), alumni and faculty books (Alumni and Faculty Books), motivational messages (Inspiration), U.T. and Austin stuff.”

Along similar lines, HubSpot notes that the University of Pennsylvania;

“successfully created a Pinterest account entirely for its Career Services department. Mixing profiles of successful Penn alums with job search infographics and career-related events is the recipe for success for them.”

As more students on Pinterest graduate from universities, Pinterest is an ideal way to feature the achievements of past graduates and to stay connected with them beyond the annual fundraising letter, which is a main reason why Drake University; is leading the charge with its pin boards. As prospective students review their options, this kind of Pinterest page could also prove influential in their final decision.

Humanize the Political on Pinterest

News sources and political campaigns have invested heavily in Pinterest in order to bring a more human face to their reports, press releases, and events. For example, Marketing Land reports,

“Newsweek/The Daily Beast takes on a wide range of topics both fun and serious. But with a compelling series of photographs, a Pinboard focusing on Arab Spring humanizes a news event that’s remote for most of us.”

It should give most large corporations pause to learn that the wives of both 2012 presidential candidates in America have active Pinterest accounts. While there is no clear fundraising gain being made through Pinterest, liberals and conservatives can both agree that a personal touch can prove influential in driving public sentiment.

Nonprofits Tell Stories on Pinterest

While Pinterest may not lead to the kinds of fundraising conversions that a nonprofit organization needs, it does provide an excellent first step for many potential supporters into the work of a nonprofit. In a world where charities and worthy causes abound, Pinterest provides the visual story-telling tools that nonprofits can use to connect with new potential donors.

A recent Huffington Post article; notes one example,

“Amnesty International pins inspiring pictures related to rights and equality, as well as links to T-shirts and jewelry that support the organization. Nonprofits and cause-related organizations can be easily shared if their story can easily be told through images; if they’ve already made a name for themselves in the social media space; and if the nonprofit has an eye for search-friendly content.”

As the use of Pinterest evolves, manufacturing companies, technology companies, and many other industries will have an opportunity to use this image-based site to tell their stories and to feature their products in fresh ways. While a pin board may not always help a company’s bottom line in a measurable way, there’s no denying that Pinterest provides an ideal opportunity for creatively telling a brand’s story, connecting with customers, and highlighting aspects of a company that may be easily overlooked.

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