Since the end of 2012, L.L.Bean has had more Pinterest followers than any other brand on Pinterest. With over 5.4 million followers, L.L.Bean has earned a strong following, most likely due to one of their boards going viral. Recently though, they’ve been slowly but steadily losing followers. Why? Most likely due to Pinterest’s crackdown on fake and spam accounts, as well as L.L.Bean’s inconsistent pinning and lack of promoting their profile. So how did L.L.Bean get so many followers on Pinterest in the first place?
L.L.Bean’s most-followed board, Woodland Creatures, is their claim to fame with over 4.4M followers. This board went viral which quickly increased their following across all boards. This board shares cute animal pins and contains none of their products. Their Camping board also has over 1.2M followers which follows their brand’s lifestyle focus of the outdoors. With 30 boards and over 1,400 pins, L.L.Bean has tested the waters with Pinterest and has been very fortunate. They share a variety of lifestyle pins, outdoors inspirations, clothing, catalog covers, animals, products, and more.
What L.L.Bean is doing right
We recommend that 20-25% of content on Pinterest be the brand’s content and/or products and the rest be a variety of other interesting content. L.L.Bean has done a great job of integrating other content with their own. L.L.Bean also does a great job at representing their brand’s lifestyle through Pinterest. By sharing images of nature, camping, fishing, and more outdoor-related pins, they can connect with both their customers and potential-customers on a new level.
So how has L.L.Bean accrued such a high following? Part of it is due to one of their boards going viral. Their Woodland Creatures board has over 4.4 million followers, along with their Camping board — their first board — that has over 1.2 million followers. Most of their other boards have 50k-100k followers.
L.L.Bean’s Woodland Creatures board is their most-followed board!
L.L.Bean has 30 boards with several different themes including: the outdoors (Fishing), ladies’ fashion (Women’s Style), Boots (Bean Boot Style), Animals (Woodland Creatures), Home & Lifestyle (Rustic Living), Weddings (L.L.Bean Weddings), and products (Women’s Style by L.L.Bean).
L.L.Bean’s green-themed board is a great example of how to incorporate products in a visually appealing way! Since Pantone’s 2013 color was emerald green, L.L.Bean used this as their color theme. A great idea!
L.L.Bean hasn’t gone out of its way to promote its Pinterest account, but it has a Pinterest link added to its social media footer and embed a pin it button next to all of their products (both shown below) on their website.
What L.L.Bean could improve on
L.L.Bean is doing a fairly good job with board content, but they don’t pin as often as they should. Lately they’ve been pinning a few times every other day or so, but ideally they should be pinning around 15-25 pins a day, every day consistently. Their account doesn’t have nearly as many pins as it should consider they’ve been on Pinterest since 2012. They have only a little over 1,400 pins and are slowly losing followers (HelloSociety’s Pinterest account has over 7,700 – and we continue to see steady growth!)
A lot of their product photos aren’t optimized for Pinterest. Product photo pins with actual backgrounds, even against wood or stone, do much better on Pinterest in comparison to plain white backgrounds. This “Graphic T’s” board is pretty boring and plain. We recommend it either be deleted or given a new theme to spice things up a bit.
Their From the Bottom Up board shares boot pins, mostly Instagram photos, in a fun way! Problem is – most of their photos’ sizes aren’t optimized for Pinterest. A lot of social media managers assume they can just copy and upload Instagram images onto their Pinterest boards or pin directly from their site or blog and that can work, but the photos are usually small and unappealing. The key is pin sizes. If they took screenshots of their preexisting product photos or saved their Instagram images and cropped them to be closer to Pinterest-optimized sizes, the pins would look even better! What size is the perfectly optimized pin? Around 730 x 1200 pixels.
We also recommend that L.L.Bean regularly promote its Pinterest account and pin a few times a week, or at least once a week on its other social media. By posting an image from one of their top pins for that week or a newly created board on their Facebook page and Twitter account, they’re posting interesting content while reaching out to people who already enjoy their brand and would most likely want to follow them or repin their content.
L.L.Bean’s Facebook doesn’t promote its Pinterest account anywhere.
- Creative board themes (Color themes are fun: L.L.Bean Green).
- Good content pinned besides just their products.
- Their profile’s website is verified (The checkmark next to their site URL in profile description).
- They just created their first place pins board: L.L.Bean Home
- The L.L.Bean Cat Lovers board is a cute theme to encourage fans to combine their L.L.Bean products and kitties to share with the brand on Facebook, Twitter, AND Pinterest.
(For future contests we’d recommend creating a board for L.L.Bean Signature and having it be a part of their one Pinterest account so it’s not confusing.)
- They regularly repin content from other sites and pinners. Great!
- Most of their boards have descriptions (but could be a little more detailed).
- They have integrated Rich Pins into their site.
Example via Michelle Joelle’s Pinterest
Rich Pins gives pins bold titles, says if it’s In Stock, Price, and notifies people who pin that item if it ever goes on sale. Get Rich Pins for free here.
- Their board covers need better, high-quality photos that are clear and cohesive.
Some of L.L.Bean’s board covers are blurry
- Some of their boards are too product heavy and lack inspiration. (Their “Graphic T’s” board needs to go).
- They don’t have a Pinterest Facebook app (Free! Get it here).
- They don’t respond to Pinterest comments. This can be frustrating to followers who want to learn more about a product they’ve pinned (Example).
- They rarely tweet about their Pinterest. Once a week is ideal.
- They are slowly losing followers, which could be due to spam accounts being deleted or because people are unfollowing them due to their product pins or poorly-sized pins clouding people’s Pinterest feeds.
With 5.4 million Pinterest followers, L.L.Bean is the most-followed brand on Pinterest. Are they the best brand on Pinterest? No, but they have the following to really make an impact. After seeing L.L.Bean’s success with its steady introduction to the pinning world, many other brands are seeing how boards around popular topics that aren’t brand related can make a big impact and are important for brands on Pinterest to have. By following our recommendations to promote their pins more and pin more often, their Pinterest could engage existing followers even better and grow their following even more, keeping them in the top spot for followers for brands on Pinterest through 2014 and beyond.
By connecting the outdoors lifestyle with the the brand and Pinterest experience, L.L.Bean has strengthened brand awareness, sales, and strengthen its relationships with its followers. Only time will tell if they start to put the effort into maintaining and growing this following by cross promoting their Pinterest on their other social media presences. Until then, we’ll continue to enjoy repinning their cute baby animal pins.
Have questions about how you can optimize your content for Pinterest, increase your following, or improve your Pinterest account? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Learn more about HelloSociety Pinterest marketing agency: