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I'd say you're right, that irrelevant followers aren't bad, but at the same time, should you spend too much time getting them? Probably not. If social media is going to have a solid ROI, you've got to focus your efforts on the followers that really matter.
Sounds like they handled it the best that they could considering the circumstances. Good for you BK!
You bring up a very good benefit that I didn't even mention, Alex. Google does regard pins pretty highly in image search results, and I've noticed the same thing as well. Looks like I'll have to write a follow up to this piece someday, haha.
As with most social networks, I'd say get on there and see what your friends and the industry leaders are pinning. Start repinning what you like, and organizing your boards. The nice thing about Pinterest is that you can login with Facebook and Twitter to add your friends from those networks right away.
Finally, experiment, and stay consistent. Good luck!