How Home Depot Became a Pinterest Powerhouse [Case Study]


One might not at first think that power tools and lumber have a place on the Internet’s current social media darling, Pinterest, but this visual platform is being dominated by none other than Home Depot. Currently, Home Depot has over 12,000 profile followers on Pinterest, and their individual boards all have over 8,500 followers. If Pinterest’s high revenue-per-click rates and the assertion that Pinterest users are heavily motivated to buy are to be believed, Home Depot has build quite the lucrative following on this social networking – and it’s a following that is growing daily.

Understanding What Users Want

While DIY home renovators might go to Home Depot for pipes and wood, the company understands that this kind of item isn’t likely to resonate with Pinterest users.  Based on their Q2 2012 reports, about 2% of their total sales come from their online channels, which doesn’t sound like much until you remember that total sales for the company were $20.57 billion that quarter. People aren’t likely to buy certain items online because they want to see them in person, but Home Depot sells lots of items that people are willing to purchase sight unseen, and these are the items the company highlights on Pinterest.

For example, here’s an item Home Depot pinned on its Outdoor Living board:

Pinterest users are a lot more likely to buy this item online than to purchase potting soil or plants online, despite these being popular outdoor items at physical Home Depot stores.

Home Depot also understands that people are looking for different things at different times of the year. For example, during the fall, the boards at the top of the Home Depot profile include Tailgating Ideas & DIY Football Party Ideas and Halloween Crafts & Ideas.

The company also has boards for other holidays and seasons, like Valentine’s Day Inspiration and Summer Celebrations, but these are found closer to the bottom of the Home Depot profile. These can easily be moved to a more highlight position when the time is right.

Give and Take

The best take-away from Home Depot’s Pinterest activities is perhaps the way this company combines promotion of their own products with promotion of other items. Like with all social networks, when you use the platform as a broadcasting tool alone, users typically don’t respond well. To have a more complete Pinterest presence, you need to not only promote what you’re selling, but also promote other cool and interesting products and projects you find.

A good example is the Home Depot Wreaths for Any Occasion board, which features some Home Depot products like an ornament wreath and bat wreath alongside wreath products and projects from others sites, like The Charm of Home, Make and Takes, and Once Wed.

Home Depot has Character

What I personally like most about Home Depot’s Pinterest presence is the personality. Home Depot could take the path many brands take on social media by being extremely “corporate,” but instead, the company’s pins have a little flavor. The descriptions make it sound like a real person, not a stuffy corporation, is behind each pin.

In the above pin on the company’s DIY Wedding Inspiration & Gift Ideas board, for example, you can see Home Depot asking “How cool would it be to have a wedding cermony [sic] inside of a greenhouse?” and several people answered. This type of engagement with a brand is worth more than passive repins, especially for a product not originally from the Home Depot site.

Where Home Depot Could Improve

Although Home Depot does Pinterest better than most brands, I still see room for improvement. Here are a few ways Home Depot could have an even strong Pinterest presence:

  • More Boards: Currently, Home Depot only has 32 boards, which means there’s a lot of room for improvement. With a topic like home improvement, there’s no limit to the individual boards that could be created.
  • More Interaction with Followers: Home Depot’s conversational style with pin descriptions is just a start. The company could take things a step farther and interact with their followers through comments.
  • Following More People: Home Depot currently only followers about 280 people, which is a very small percentage compared to followers. By following more boards relating to home improvement, the company would have more ideas to repin.

It will be interesting to watch how Home Depot continues to grow on Pinterest, as well as see other brands follow suit and start to build a presence on Pinterest.

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About Allison Boyer

Allison Boyer freelance writer and content marketing consultant. She also runs the food blog The PinterTest Kitchen with her mom and sister. You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (@allison_boyer) or contact her at allisonmboyer@gmail.com.

Comments

  1. Thank you so much for the writeup! Our team really appreciates the kind words.

    • No problem, Laura! You guys do a great job. Feel free to email me (allison-at-blogworldexpo.com) if you have interesting social media campaigns that you think would be a good fit for our audience, other businesses learning to use social media. :)

  2. Elizabeth B says:

    This is an Interesting article about their approach as Pinterest becomes more and more prevalent. Other stores like Whole Foods and West Elm also do a really good job with their pinboards as well.

    There are more Lowe’s near my home in Texas than Home Depot, so I primarily shop there, but I follow both pinboards to gain inspiration. I’ve found the Lowe’s pinboards to be more inspirational and intriguing for my needs, with a variety of fun projects and great imagery/topic mix. However, I’ve found interesting projects on both. Apparently Im not the only one that agrees, as the Lowe’s Pinterest page seems to be a significantly more robust community given their larger follower base. Nonetheless, always interesting to learn about the different approaches companies are taking on this site.

    For the author, did you compare HD’s pinboards to other retailers or review other retailer sites prior to focusing on HD?

    • The primary purpose of the piece was to investigate what one company is doing right (and wrong), rather than compare it to other retailers. I think Lowes is obviously a brand that uses Pinterest really well, but a lot of people profile them. I wanted to do something a little different. Home Depo is up-and-coming on Pinterest in my opinion, so I thought it would be interesting to look at their successes and failures.

  3. Sounds like a puff piece paid for by The Home Depot….”but this visual platform is being dominated by none other than Home Depot. Currently, Home Depot has over 12,000 profile followers on Pinterest, and their individual boards all have over 8,500 followers.”

    As of 11/14/12, The Home Depot has 13,620 followers and Lowe’s, #2 in the category has 2,989,393 followers. if 13k is dominating then what is 2.9M…vaporizing. Not real objective piece in my opinion.

    • I can say with 100% certainty that Home Depo did not pay for this, nor have they ever sponsored our event (that I’m aware of). The point of the post is to show you what Home Depo is doing right, not to compare it to other brands also on Pinterest.

      • Thanks Allison. I guess my main concern is in the words you chose for the article…from the headline….”How Home Depot Became a Pinterest Powerhouse [Case Study]“, to text within the article itself” dominated by none other than Home Depot”.

        As you clearly stated in your reply to Elizabeth B, “Home Depot is up-and-coming on Pinterest in my opinion” , my question would be how can an up and coming be a dominate powerhouse?

        While The Home Depot is a “powerhouse” in the Home Improvement Retail category, in my opinion they are nowhere near being a powerhouse on Pinterest, just my opinion. In addition, the on line free dictionary offers the following definitions of dominate:

        To control, govern, or rule by superior authority or power:
        To exert a supreme, guiding influence on or over:
        To enjoy a commanding, controlling position in:

        Again, not seeing The Home Depot as “dominating” Pinterest, your words not mine, with a small following of 13K compared to many others with much larger, more dominating followings.

        • You make some valid points. I think it’s all a matter of perspective. Put Home Depot next to Lowes and they don’t look like a powerhouse on Pinterst. Put them next to the vast majority of brands out there who have little or even NO presence on Pinterest, and they are totally rocking it.