Just like the Ghostbusters, Lowe's Home Improvement took a risk crossing the streams, and it worked.
On March 1, the company added a Pinterest tab to its Facebook page, becoming the first major retailer to link the two sites in that
way. The tab features a few Pinterest boards, and users have the option of repinning photos to Pinterest without ever leaving Facebook.
It's paid off handsomely. According to The Realtime Report, the company
has seen a 32 percent increase in its Pinterest following and up to a 60 percent increase in the number of followers for boards featured on the
"Our Facebook page is a place to exchange and share ideas, so the integration is a natural fit to those already interested in Lowe's," says Brad
Walters, director of social media at Lowe's. "The integration also allows us to instantly provide visually appealing content to our Facebook fans
without them having to bounce between the two social networks."
Is a Pinterest tab right for every brand, though? Like Lowe's, you've got to have a strategy, experts say.
Lowe's started its Pinterest account in October, with one of its earliest boards featuring creative,
"Pinterest has become a great avenue for our customers to find inspiration and attainable ideas for their DIY projects," Walters says. "Consumers like
to share and show off their projects—big or small. Pinterest is really the platform for this type of sharing."
The Lowe's Pinterest page has grown to 25 different boards, with ideas for decorating various rooms in a house, organizing your stuff, doing crafts,
building things, gardening, and more. Putting a Pinterest tab on Facebook, where Lowe's has about 250 times more fans, just made sense.
"It's given us a lift in our Pinterest following by allowing us to generate awareness of our Pinterest presence among our Facebook fan base," Walters
Jonathan Rick, director at Levick Strategic Communications, says adding a Pinterest tab to Facebook is a smart idea.
"Sites like Twitter, SlideShare, and YouTube have long been available as Facebook tabs. The more integrated your online presence is, the more effective
Likewise, Shel Holtz of Holtz Communication + Technology says connecting one social media platform with another is nothing new; after all, people tweet
links to blog posts all the time. However, companies must think through building a Pinterest Facebook tab before charging ahead with it, he warns.
"If they think through the dynamics of the two sites and how they can interact and interrelate, and determine there's an opportunity to create
connections, it can work as well as it did for Lowe's," Holtz says.
Christine Campbell says adding a Pinterest tab to Facebook accomplishes something Pinterest alone hasn't done particularly well: attracting male users.
"Importing the Pinterest tab onto the Lowe's Facebook page serves two purposes," she says, "familiarizing an otherwise disengaged, male audience with
Pinterest and even potentially motivating that audience to use Pinterest, as well as using a new, aesthetically pleasing platform to showcase
Even so, Campbell says brands need to do all they can to appeal to the largely female Pinterest audience. She said companies should not "ignore the
elements that the female demo responds to so well—community, pretty images, and stylized boards—and use the service only to promote their products."
The timeline question
Rick says he wonders whether Lowe's has given much long-term thought to the tab's introduction, though. The company hasn't implemented Facebook's new
timeline format, he says, which makes tabs far less prominent in the page's design.
Campbell says Lowe's is likely to lose some steam once the mandatory change to timeline comes at the end of March.
"What will most likely end up happening is that Lowe's will link its Pinterest activity to Facebook, but that might lose some of the ground they've
gained with this strategy," she says. "It takes away the interactive, cross-channel element once users can no longer look at Pinterest boards and pins
without actually being on Pinterest."
Holtz says he doesn't view the changeover as a major roadblock, though.
"They can simply pin the item to the top of the page and click the star feature to expand it over two columns," he says. "That allows for larger images
that will stand out and draw attention."
Pinned items expire after seven days, Holtz points out, but that's a good thing for Lowe's, because it means the brand can highlight a new pinboard
Matt Wilson is a staff writer for Ragan.com.