Whole Foods' Pinterest Strategy

Articles
March 12, 2012

Whole Foods' Pinterest Strategy

Pinterest, the social network earning all of the recent buzz, is a fitting online environment for grocery retailers to set up camp. What can retailers learn from Whole Foods’ Pinterest presence?

Pinterest, the social network earning all of the recent buzz, is a fitting online environment for grocery retailers to set up camp. Deemed a “project oriented” social network, it’s become a digital destination for over 10.4 million registered users who visit the site to browse “pins” and get ideas – a good number of which revolve around food and recipes.

Whole Foods Market has been one of the first companies to grip what Pinterest is to its users. The company has seen early success with over 19,000 general followers, and (at the time of this writing) has some boards with over 32,000 followers. The key to Whole Foods’ success, according to the page’s manager Michael Bepko, is “paying attention to what people are asking for.”

Following this strategy, Whole Foods has created numerous boards for their followers with titles ranging from “Go Go Gadgets,” and “We’re Used to Reusing,” to “Who Wants Dinner,” and “Cheese is the Bees Knees.” All seek to provide their followers with fun, simple and interesting finds from across the web. What you won’t find on the Whole Foods Pinterest however, is a board promoting Whole Foods stores or products.

That’s because Bepko wants to convey the “core value” of the brand “while remaining authentic to the space that [the Pinterest co-founders] have created.” For now, Pinterest is a content curating site, and does not suit the online-store face model that Facebook and Twitter have seen grow popular with brands on their networks. This relaxed, personable approach to customer communication seems to be working as Whole Foods pins are popping up all over the web; however, as is the case with most social media, it is difficult to accurately gauge the site’s ROI.

So what can retailers learn from Whole Foods’ Pinterest presence?
-- Content is king: The objective is to build a community around your brand, and encourage others to revisit/share your boards. Do this by pinning content that your customers want to see and share with their friends.

-- Varied boards are good, and catchy titles are even better: Some followers may not be looking for recipes, but want health tips; so make sure you don’t pack all of your content into one board. Also, when one of your pins is re-pinned, the name of the board is shared as well. So don’t miss out on a valuable opportunity to attract new followers.

-- Avoid the sales pitches: Become an online destination for your customers–a place where they feel comfortable and want to keep coming back. Don’t bombard them with deals and sales, save that for the website and other networks.