Whether you’re a small business owner or a Fortune 500 marketing manager, you’ve probably wondered about how to measure the return on investment on your social media platform. You probably authorized your budget because “everyone else is doing it,” but it’s not always clear how a service like Pinterest fits into your overall branding and marketing strategy. How you measure your ROI depends on the kind of business you’re running, the level of engagement you inspire to create with your customers, and the risks you’re willing to take to establish your company as a forward-thinking communicator.

Here are 3 online case studies of companies that have figured out how to blend a vibrant Pinterest community with the rest of their customer outreach activities.

1. Integrity Studio: Using Pinterest as a catalog.

Jason Falls profiled an entrepreneurial couple from New Hope, Pennsylvania who make art, jewelry, and photographs. They use Pinterest as an interactive catalog that they can update on the fly when they create new works. By encouraging repins, they can let their work speak for itself. In return, new customers flow from Pinterest boards back to their core websites. According to Ina and Carl Christensen, Pinterest now accounts for the second-largest source of web traffic to their e-commerce pages, behind Google. With few other marketing resources, the couple have grown their small business to over $60,000 per year in revenues.

2. Home Depot: Inspiring customers to do more themselves.

Home Depot has become a “powerhouse” on Pinterest, using the platform to build their brand by offering DIY guides and decorating advice via its collection of curated pinboards. As one of the first major retailers to add a Pinterest logo to its television ads, Home Depot reinforces a brand that already emphasizes education and inspiration over pure sales and discounts. This top of mind awareness leads its Pinterest followers to consider stopping by Home Depot first, rather than hunt for similar products at its competitors.

3. Whole Foods Market: Upholding brand philosophy.

Large companies often struggle to illustrate the good work they do through charitable giving programs and company-sponsored foundations. Pinterest makes this work easier for staffers at the Whole Planet Foundation, the grocer’s microfinance initiative. According to Mike Lewis, pinboards that appeal to both home cooks and environmentally conscious shoppers draw new viewers to the Foundation’s work. That message can inspire more customers to shop at Whole Foods, or to justify the cost of groceries that support social entrepreneurialism. Of course, the best way to understand your ROI is to actually measure how Pinterest boards drive traffic to your website or to your storefront. Curalate’s suite of visual analytics tools can help you understand precisely what images inspire sharing and, most importantly, purchasing. Contact us today to arrange a tour of the service.