HelloSociety Blog

Influencer-Powered Social Media Marketing

Zoe Waldron

May 28, 2014



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Whole Foods Market is one of the top Pinterest business accounts in the food category, with over 188K Pinterest followers. That number is impressive but in comparison to their other social media account ‘likes’ and ‘follows’, over 1.5 million Facebook followers and over 3.7 million Twitter followers, their Pinterest account following is nothing in comparison. The good news? It has great potential to reach the millions in no time. By sharing a variety of recipes, healthy lifestyle pins, community-driven topics, and brand and blogger-curated group boards, Whole Foods has embraced Pinterest with a brand-aligned healthy, planet-conscious focus.

What makes Whole Foods’ Pinterest really unique is its large number of group boards. Whole Foods has 50 group boards, and although many boards (20+) are shared with Whole Foods’ Whole Kids Foundation Pinterest account and their marketing team members, a lot of influential bloggers and other companies are taking part in Whole Foods’ pinning efforts as well.

Whole Foods has a wide array of food-related boards covering: seasons (Savoring Summer), ingredient (You Say Tomato…), meals (Sweet Tooth), repurposing (We’re Used to Reusing), Mother’s Day (Mom Rocks), beauty & DIY (You’re Beautiful), technology (Go Go Gadgets), as well as features, like pinning as a guest on Etsy’s Pinterest (Guest Pinner: Whole Foods).

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What Whole Foods is doing right

In comparison to its main competitors on Pinterest, Whole Foods is dominating. (Trader Joes, Safeway, Bristol Farms, Ralphs Grocery, Wegmans Food Markets, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Winco Foods.) All of these profiles have less than 10K with almost half having less than 1K followers.

Whole Foods has created a strong Pinterest community by incorporating influential bloggers, other brands, and their marketing team to help pin onto their group boards. Whole Foods’ Savoring Summer board incorporates three influencers onto the board and their (Tomatoes) board features five!

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Whole Foods’ Facebook page has a Pinterest app (free!)

So how has Whole Foods earned over 188K Pinterest followers? They’ve committed to a daily pinning routine, have a variety of creative board themes, encourage follows with promotional Tweets, and maintain strong initiative to reach out to influential pinners and other brands that stand out within the Pinterest community. By sharing seasonal boards, they’re bringing interesting and in-demand content to their followers. Over this past year, they’ve shared fun and color-themed spring recipes, berry recipes around the 4th of July, summer-inspired recipes and pins, Thanksgiving seasonal treats, back-to-school snacks and lunches, and winter holiday pins in a fun and visually pleasing way!

Whole Food’s group boards may be your first conclusion into how they’ve gained so many followers. I’d say that group boards have helped but are definitely not the main reason. A lot of pinners think if they join dozens of group boards they’ll be more likely to gain a large amount of followers. This is not usually the case. There’s a big difference between creating and managing multiple group boards… and joining multiple group boards. Whole Foods has created multiple creative and successful group boards and have promoted and curated them to success.

Not only has Whole Foods pinned well, they’ve also ran Pinterest contests and promotions. Last year they put on a “pintastic cookie swap” with the chance to win a gift card. This past summer, Whole Foods ran a Pinterest contest where they gave away 10 Vitamix blenders! (See below)

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Whole Foods’ “Beautiful Summer Berries” board went with this contest, sharing pins of berry photography, recipes, and promotional pins (like above).

What Whole Foods could improve on

Although Whole Foods has over 188K Pinterest followers, with over 1.5 million Facebook Likes and 3.7 million Twitter followers, their potential following is so much higher! By posting about their Pinterest on Facebook more often, they could increase Pinterest followers significantly. Although they do have a Pinterest app on their Facebook page – this is not enough due to the face that a lot of people don’t ever see the app in the first place. Posting on Facebook will be much more effective. Having both is even better!

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Whole Food’s website pins aren’t optimized! Vertical images do MUCH better.

Whole Foods has been tweeting about it’s Pinterest more often lately. This is great because it can quickly spread the word about Pinterest board topics, viral or top pins, new board influencers, and Pinterest contests. Since companies can Tweet more often than any other mainstream social platform, I recommend Tweeting about Pinterest a few times a week, minimum.

The risk of having too many group boards is the possibility of losing followers due to too many pins shared by co-pinners. Avoid this by setting boundaries (ie: 5 pins/day per pinner on the group board).

The biggest issue I see with Whole Foods’ Pinterest is that its website recipe images are horrible for Pinterest! The sizes are all horizontal – which look small and unappealing on Pinterest. I recommend they go through and edit all recipe pins to be optimized: vertical (read: large). It would be well worth their time. They need to at least optimize all photos from now on for Pinterest as it is such a huge provider of website traffic nowadays. I always recommend pins be around 730 x 1200 pixels. These dimensions are a great size to increase click throughs, repins, and (if applicable) sales.

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Whole Foods posts about its Pinterest on Facebook, but not often enough. 1-2x a week minimum is ideal!


               – Their board names are creative and great lengths (2-3 words).

               – Good board descriptions (this helps improve SEO).

               – Their profile’s website is verified (The checkmark next to their site URL in profile description).

               – Some promotion of Pinterest on their Facebook – but not enough. Once weekly is ideal!

               – Ran Pinterest contests (Win a Vitamix – A Very Berry Vitamix Giveaway).

               – Great variety of creative board topics (Colors of Spring group board with color themes).

               – Their website has integrated Rich Pins.

               – Almost 200K followers, well over their competitors’ followings.

               – Whole Foods Tweets about Pinterest often.

               – Their Facebook has a Pinterest app!

               – They regularly repin content from their Tumblr online magazine, Dark Rye. Important side note:                                 Source links are attached to Tumblr images. (pin example)

               – Whole Foods has also created Pinterest-optimized content for their blog (Examples 1, 2, 3, 4).

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This Rich Pin from Whole Foods’ website includes ingredients, dietary info (Vegetarian, Gluten Free, & Paleo), and Serving Size!

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Whole Foods also has this great “Check Out Our Top Pins” link and a ‘Pin It’ button next to recipes on their website!

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               – Although their group boards are unique, having more balance between group and single boards is                          more ideal to lower the risk of losing followers if too much is being pinned too frequently.

               – Their website’s images are horizontal and pin very small. (Big Issue! – Examples)

               – Their board covers could be better. The colors don’t match well.

               – Too many boards (we recommend 30-40 boards) they have 59.

               – Whole Foods rarely posts about Pinterest on their Facebook.

               – They rarely repin content from other sites, bloggers, or pinners.

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An example of a Tweet Whole Foods shared during the holiday season.


Whole Food’s Pinterest is unique in many ways. Never before has a grocery store connected so well with it’s customers on Pinterest, let alone socially. Whole Foods has been able to successfully pin the lifestyles associated with its customers in a true-to-form way with interesting board concepts. Although their website recipe image sizes aren’t optimized for Pinterest, their website’s ‘pin it’ buttons and Top Pins page are saving the day, greatly increasing the likelihood of pinning from their website. What makes Whole Foods’ Pinterest account really unique is how it has embraced the value of group boards, by featuring influencers and other top brands on Pinterest.

With the potential to reach millions of followers, I recommend that Whole Foods start cropping their website recipe images to be vertically oriented. The perfect pin size is around 730 x 1200 pixels. I also suggest they pin their own content only 20-30% of the time, and share other interesting content 70-80% of the time. This keeps their contribution to their followers’ Pinterest feeds fresh and unique. No one wants to see 10 unoptimized recipe pins in a row. Keep it fun, fresh and varied – just like their stores’ quality foods for sale! I also recommend that they post about one of their pins or boards at least once a week on Facebook and include widgets on their emails and website. They could even get really creative and consider making a Place Pins board sharing different Whole Foods locations around the country, like Starbucks has.

By continuing to pin a variety of healthy recipes, in a unique way, like their latest amazing board in a mosiac of changing colors, their following will only continue to grow strong. When they do reach one million followers, we’ll salute them for doing so in such a unique way. Group boards continue to engage and provide pinners with fresh new content interactively. For now, we’ll continue following them and enjoying their “whole-some” pinning approach.

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Whole Foods’ ‘Our Top Pins’ page on their site. Awesome feature!

Have questions about how you can optimize your content for Pinterest, increase your following, or improve your Pinterest account? Contact us at info@hellosociety.com!

Looking for more case studies? See our other Pinterest case studies on Lululemon, L.L.Bean, Chobani, Nordstrom, Target, Lowe’s, and Starbucks.

Learn more about HelloSociety Pinterest marketing agency:



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  1. […] Whole Foods Market is one of the top Pinterest business accounts in the food category, with over 188K Pinterest followers. That number is impressive but in comparison to their other social media account ‘likes’ and ‘follows’, over 1.  […]