Curating for engagement: Identifying the nature and impact of organizational marketing strategies on Pinterest


  • Gregory D. Saxton University at Buffalo, SUNY
  • Amanda Ghosh



brand awareness, brand engagement, content curation, Pinterest, social curation, social media marketing, word of mouth


In an increasingly overloaded information environment sparked by the explosion of digital media, the ability to curate content has taken on greater importance. This study begins with the supposition that businesses that are able to adopt a content curation role and help consumers sort through the daily influx of information may be more successful in attracting, engaging, and retaining customers while fostering brand awareness and word of mouth. Accordingly, this study investigates organizational marketing strategies on Pinterest, the fifth most popular U.S. social media site and the largest social curation platform. Pinterest effectively offers a unique opportunity for businesses to engage customers through social curation strategies, and in this paper we set out to address two related questions. First, how are organizations communicating with current and potential customers on Pinterest? And second, how effective are these strategies? We address these questions by inductively analyzing 1,095 “pins” sent by 18 cosmetic surgery businesses. Undertaking analyses at the pin, board, and account levels, we ultimately identify three distinct pinning strategies: Lifestyle, Information Source, and Market Creator. These strategies are then related to the effectiveness of brand awareness and word of mouth, using the number of repins as the primary measure of “reach” of a marketing campaign. The Lifestyle strategy had the biggest impact, generating the largest number of repins. The implications of these social curation strategies for social media marketing are explored.

Author Biographies

Gregory D. Saxton, University at Buffalo, SUNY

Associate Professor, Department of Communication

University at Buffalo, SUNY

Amanda Ghosh

independent researcher




How to Cite

Saxton, G. D., & Ghosh, A. (2016). Curating for engagement: Identifying the nature and impact of organizational marketing strategies on Pinterest. First Monday, 21(9).