Social media is the new norm. Social networks and related sites are all over the place.

A fairly recent addition to the social media genre is Pinterest, a site we’ve got a couple of boards on and wrote a guide for brands about last week.

The visual bookmarking platform debuted in 2008 and has since developed a loyal following of more than 11 million visitors per week.

Pinterest works by allowing members to “pin” things of “interest” to the site.

Pinterest asked us if we were interested to hear what companies they think are using the platform the best, so here’s a rundown of all the brands that Pinterest representatives have told us they believe are using their website most effectively.

Whole Foods

Representing a deliciously perfect blend of sweet confections with a nod to Mother Nature, Whole Foods gives customers the opportunity to indulge with dark chocolate while feeling good about themselves.

Whole Foods, the world’s largest retailer of natural and organic foods, offers commendable products such as cage-free eggs and recycling bins.

Pinterest boards feature shots of cheesecakes almost too good to eat (almost, but not quite!) next to boards for the Whole Foods’ charitable organization, the Whole Planet Foundation.

Martha Stewart

The queen of all things domestic is perfectly suited for Pinterest’s social boards.

Visitors usually post pictures of their attempts at baking something Stewart-inspiring, even offering suggestions on variations on recipes.

Stewart’s creations include everything from baking cups and cookie sheets to sheet sets designed with the perfect thread count, as well as trifles like throw pillows that are supposedly ‘ideal for perking up a dull room’.

You may have noticed that Pinterest is a site that is overwhelmingly used by females over males!

Better Homes and Gardens

Despite the fact that this magazine has been around since 1922, Better Homes and Gardens has proved to be well suited for the social media age.

Pinterest boards offer recipes, decorating tips and seasonal tips related to content from the magazine. The brand has since expanded into home decor products, reflected through a partnership with Home Interiors.

Real Simple

In addition to traditional boards focusing on recipes and decorating tips, Real Simple inspires user comments on the company’s unique selection of products, including oddities such as tennis racket mirrors.

Real Simple, a division of Time Inc., also inspires boards on childcare and general well-being, included in the magazine’s content.

The magazine’s uncluttered layout of photos serves as additional inspiration for board posts. Even more inspiration can be found from the magazine’s TV show extension, Real Simple Real Life, airing on TLC.

West Elm

From the same people who brought Pottery Barn to the world in the mid-1980s comes West Elm. The furniture store inspires boards on a variety of topics, including decorating ideas and creative ways to reuse furnishings to come up with a whole new look for a room.

Nothing inspires boards like ideas on how to arrange or rearrange furniture. West Elm’s stylish and functional designs work in just about any room.

Bergdorf Goodman

The New York-based retailer inspires boards with titles like ‘Shoes that make us swoon’. The store, a subsidiary of Neiman Marcus, was a favorite spot referenced in pop culture favorites such as Sex and the City and the movie Arthur.

The boards inspired by Bergdorf’s aren’t entirely about the products however; it is more about the lifestyle that the store’s products inspire.

Originally a men’s store, Bergdorf’s now offers exclusive designs for men and women. Boards offer fashion tips and offer suggestions on how to create a unique look based on designs found at the iconic store.

Today

The only non-lifestyle brand to make the list, NBC’s iconic Today show inspires boards commenting on show topics, events in the news and the ramblings of Kathie Lee Gifford and co-host Hoda Kotb from the show’s third hour.

The good thing about boards inspired by Today is that topics can change daily. Boards include reference to topics in the news ranging from the mainstream to the strangely random.

Travel Channel

Travel is a natural topic for Pinterest. Travel Channel boards include everything from spring break suggestions to details about fun, exotic vacation destinations.

Travel is always a popular topic with users wanting to share vacation photos and stories.

The channel’s reality shows, such as Ghost Adventures, provide additional inspiration for boards.

Pinterest is currently an invite-only social community. Getting an invite and having an account activated regularly takes a couple of days. Get a Pinterest Invite at www.pinterestinvite.org and you could have your account activated within 24 hours.