HelloSociety Blog

Influencer-Powered Social Media Marketing

Zoe Waldron

November 13, 2013


Now the 4th most popular channel for sharing, Pinterest is a must-have for all brands, big and small. In this case study, we evaluate Starbucks, a large brand that has done some great things on Pinterest, but also has some areas they could improve on as well. Starbucks’ main products are coffee, tea, mugs, tumblers, and food. Starbucks’ Pinterest account, Starbucks Loves, has 11 boards, over 1100 pins, and a pinning aesthetic to match the good taste of their stores. With interesting and visually appealing pins that speak of a love of coffee and a happy lifestyle, Starbucks has captivated over 107K followers on Pinterest.

What Starbucks is doing right

Starbucks didn’t just pin a million pictures of their coffee cups, tumblers, and mugs. Instead, the company goes beyond products for sale by choosing to promote the feelings of excitement and passion that is created in their stores and from their products. Starbucks’ boards have great concepts that promote a love for coffee (“Coffee Moments”), beautiful settings (“Inspiring Spaces”), and the feelings that come with happy mornings (“Mornings”). It’s not just coffee lovers who can find reason to follow this account — it’s diverse enough that it should appeal to a wide range of people (such as crafty pinners, who might be inspired to the “Coffee DIY” board; or pinners who like to entertain, with the “Hosting The Holidays” board), but everything – from the board titles to the consistently warm aesthetic to the actual content being pinned – is still unmistakably Starbucks.

Because Starbucks doesn’t sell its coffee online (a girl can dream), the fact that they’ve chosen to focus more on pins that promote certain values and emotions is a smart move. It’s the perfect example of how a brand with a limited e-commerce side can still use Pinterest to boost offline sales — with an account that enhances customer loyalty, inspires warm feelings and helps them stay top-of-mind for millions of coffee lovers worldwide.

What Starbucks could improve on

As of this post, Starbucks hasn’t pinned in over 5 days. Pins needs to be made consistently in order to be seen and stay top of mind — it doesn’t matter how beautiful Starbucks’ boards are if no one is seeing them! Many brands make the mistake of pinning only a few pins each week. What makes Pinterest great is that you are able to space your pins out throughout the day to stay top of mind without overdoing it. The optimal number of pins per day for brands is 15-20, and Starbucks is pinning only 1-2 pins a day, or less. Also, many of their descriptions aren’t tailored to their audience and custom hashtags are rarely used, besides the occasional #PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte), which has amazing potential for Pinterest and helps enhance searches.


Good interaction with followers via comments

Great board topics that match the season

Pin aesthetics are parallel to their brand

Their small number of boards keeps their pins organized enough, yet not cluttered

They share others’ content by repinning


They need to pin a lot more frequently

Many of their pins don’t have ideal dimensions (vertical is better)

They could take advantage of group/dedicated boards – amazing potential

Their descriptions are commonly blank or unchanged from a previous pinner’s comment

They rarely use custom hashtags. #PSL could be a pin-movement!

They could highlight their holiday product deals on Pinterest

Overall, Starbucks has done a great job at pinning for their audience of tasteful coffee-lovers. Their potential to become a top brand on Pinterest is there, but hasn’t been fully taken advantage of yet. Below we list some ways Starbucks could greatly increase their following and make their Pinterest account extraordinary.

How Starbucks could optimize its account

– Create a board dedicated to their products, store inspirations, deals, new flavors, photos from pinners, and exclusives for pinners only! With the new 2-for-1 deal on holiday drinks, they could have highlighted this deal on Pinterest and gotten great exposure from it.

– Focus on the seasons and their special drinks even more by making a board for Thanksgiving, around the #PSL and Toffee Nut Latte, and a board for Christmas around their Eggnog Latte, Peppermint Mocha, Gingerbread Latte and/or Cranberry White Chocolate Mocha.

– Run a Pinterest contest to increase awareness of their Pinterest account and to gain followers. Now’s the perfect season to have pinners highlight one of their seasonal flavors and design their dream holiday get together with foods that go great with their holiday drinks.

– Only repin and upload high-quality, vertical images (736 x 1128 pixels recommended)

– Create an influencer dedicated board, or group board sharing user-submitted photos of Starbucks drinks and holiday inspirations.

– Hashtag relevant pins with something unique like #StarbucksHolidays so every time their pin is retweeted, that hashtag is eventually spread to millions of pinners.

– Promote specials with hashtags to create awareness. This week they are premiering their holiday 2-for-1 drink deal (seen below).

This image would have been perfect for Pinterest with a high probability of virality. The hashtags #Starbucks #ShareJoy on all of their pins this week could also help spread the word.

Want to learn more about HelloSociety Pinterest marketing agency?



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