So your brand doesn’t sell diamonds and dresses, doesn’t plan weddings, and is the furthest thing from cutesy.
That must mean you’d be crazy to jump into this little thing called Pinterest, right? Wrong. If a custom content agency can do it (ahem, follow TMG here), you can, too.
Here are 20 companies that are making Pinterest work for them, and in the process are gaining new followers, spreading awareness, and most likely, having a lot of fun doing it.
Universities and Colleges
Smart schools are using Pinterest to show students why they should choose them out of the thousands of other college and university options, with the best examples showcasing a great way to get in touch with the student body.
Most sports fans are familiar with Syracuse, and with its bright Pinterest boards, you see exactly what you expect: lots of orange. The school reinforces its brand by bright, bold images featuring its signature color, while also touching base with the student body with boards like Stress Relief and Dorm Sweet Dorm. The university even beautifully highlights its best season, with its Autumn Love board, hopefully making prospects forget about those frigid winters that Syracuse is so known for.
The Saratoga Springs, N.Y.-based Skidmore College defines itself through its Pinterest boards, showcasing its campus, town, courses of study (horses and science are prevalent), and even campus style. In just a few boards, the school does a great job of conveying exactly what it has to offer, what it’s like to be there, and in turn making the case to prospective students why they should choose Skidmore.
Pennsylvania-based Alvernia University does an amazing job of highlighting student experiences with its Pinterest. The university has created a student resource with boards like Ran Out of Bonus Dollars (most students know what it’s like to run out of dining card money), offering alternative cook-at-home recipes on a student budget. Similarly, its One Tank Trip board offers students easy weekend trips on a small budget, with clear, bright images of New York, Washington, D.C., and other cities.
Simon Fraser University stars its students in many Pinterest boards, including Students, Alumni, Community, and Athletics. While the board names leave something to be desired, it’s the way that the school clearly prides itself on its student achievements that makes for a great story.
Carrington College is another example that has smartly turned its Pinterest into a student resource, with boards highlighting its medical, dental, business, and veterinary programs, as well as tips for resume writing, saving money, and eating healthy. The school does so with well-organized, eye-catching boards, lined with everything from infographics and recipes to pictures of its students.
Say what? You didn’t misread – the United States government is in on Pinterest, too, with one particular account featuring one of the coolest collections of boards you’ll come across.
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Information Programs features Fifty States, a Pinterest account that highlights each of our 50 states, with its own board and plenty of eye candy that will either make you want to visit or at least learn more. It’s pure gold for pinners who have vacation or travel boards (and who doesn’t?), and does a great job of conveying the intended message: “Discover America.”
OK, so the U.S. Department of State doesn’t have an incredible amount of Pinterest boards, but the point is, it has a Pinterest account, and with it proves that relevant images can be showcased. If the State Department can do it, you most certainly can.
Insurance and Financial Planning Services
Companies that offer financial advice and/or insurance – as necessary and helpful as they are – don’t typically incite thoughts of colorful, pin-able things. But the companies highlighted below are proving that you don’t have to be frilly to make it on Pinterest.
PerkStreet Financial has smartly curated boards like Stuff I Didn’t Buy, loaded with images of blinged-out cars, jetpacks, and other unnecessary expenses, promoting a healthy attitude toward finances. Its Funny Money board puts a comical spin on the not-so-fun message of money saving, and PerkStreet Staff Pins board achieves one of the best things a company can aim to do: appear human.
American Family Insurance has done a great job reinforcing its family brand image with tips to keep your family safe, protect your home, and garden. The clever mix works well for the brand, which conveys the need for insurance by showcasing wholesome images that tug at the heartstrings. In addition, many of the pins link into the company’s blog, giving interested readers an opportunity to learn more.
PetPlan Pet Insurance exhibits images of what you’d expect – pets – but does it in a way that showcases who and what the company is. Its Meet the Team, Our Pet Helpers!, and Just A Day at the Office boards help to humanize the brand. That’s not an easy feat for an insurance company. A number of its other boards help to tell real customers’ stories of how “cat-astophies” (there’s one for dogs, too), have been averted thanks to the insurance. Bonus points for having beautiful images of pets that make your heart melt.
Although short on the number of pins, Allstate is another great example of a brand you wouldn’t necessarily expect to see pinning. But the insurance company smartly takes advantage of the platform by offering home organization tips (which pairs smartly with its home insurance offerings), and highlights the types of property it covers with boards like For Your Ride, For Your Home, and For Your Life. Each board could use an injection of bright images, but the concept is a great one.
New England’s Berry Insurance seems to have a lot of fun, if its Pinterest account is any indication. And what’s wrong with that? Nothing at all, in fact. It makes the brand look friendly, personable, and a great option for insurance, if you just so happen to live in the area. But while the brand does have its share of fun, it has also created boards relevant to its name, like its Insurance and Safety Tips, Team Berry Insurance, and a board filled with its own YouTube videos.
Social Media Tools and Platforms
Even popular social media tools and platforms are showing us what they’ve got on Pinterest.
With 31 boards, many dedicated to its mascot, Owly, the social media tool makes sure that you recognize it when you see it. Many of the pins are lighthearted and fun, with more owls than you can count, but also included are useful infographics, tutorials, and testimonials from real people.
Klout, a tool that measures social media influence, is another brand that humanizes itself by using Pinterest, with images that are just pure fun. Boards like Klout Perks, which showcase goodies that users with high influence are awarded with, practically begs the question, “Why not join Klout?”
Naturally, Pinterest has a Pinterest. The account offers an up-close-and-personal account of the brand, its people, recent news, and the tutorial-style board, Pinterest for Business.
Banks and Credit Card Companies
It seems an obvious move for credit card companies to go pin-crazy with suggestions on what their customers should purchase with their credit – and that’s exactly what they do. Smartly, I might add.
Bank of Hawaii has, well, Hawaii, on its side. So naturally you can imagine the default amount of tropical images that the account should be chock-full of. And while they are there, the bank adds ‘Ohana style with its Bank of Hawaii Branches board, pinned with the smiling faces of its staff that appear very welcoming.
Capital One tempts pinners with boards like Snowcations and 12 boards filled with gift ideas, but also highlights its annual Capital One Mascot Challenge to showcase college sports mascots. In doing so, it reaches sports fans while simultaneously giving pinners a front-row view of what the brand has to offer.
Today in unlikely Pinterest candidates: dry cleaners and janitorial services.
London’s Fantastic Cleaners has created a Pinterest account that’s an absolute feast for the eyes. Nearly 1,500 pins line the 31 boards, curated with smart themes like house cleaning tips, interior design, cleaning gadgets, Super Housewives, and more.
California-based OctoClean features boards like Before & After, Cleaning in Style, and Sustainability, and mixes it up with fun boards like In & Around Riverside, to highlight its home base.
Indianapolis’ Classic Cleaners calls on its daily experience cleaning various clothing items for Pinspiration. Curated selections feature men’s fashion, vintage duds, and wedding dresses. The company takes it a step further by mixing in some wedding ideas, celebrity weddings, and bridal hair. Now that’s a clever extension of its expertise.
So there you have it, proof that you have no excuse to not be on Pinterest.
Ready, set, pin!