Put a Pin In It: The Nonprofit’s Guide to Pinterest

In March, Pinterest will be three years old. While it’s still the lovable toddler of the social media world, it’s created quite a stir in its short time online. Pinterest was the fastest site to ever get 10 million monthly viewers, and it’s quickly gaining on Twitter in terms of frequent users. That alone should tell you that you need to get pinning, and fast.
 
So what is Pinterest all about? Pinterest is a way for users to put their passions on display, and to be inspired by the content of others. The way photos, videos, and links are daisy chained through walls of pins can make sharing content more exciting than just posting on Facebook. Additionally, items that are repinned stay fresh in the pinner’s mind, since they’re interacting with the content, not just stumbling across it on a crowded news feed.
 
Chances are, your first baby steps on Pinterest will include repinning someone else’s content. When you do this, it gets seen by those following you, as well as shows up in searches, and under a list of those that have repinned that pin. Users can opt to follow a particular board, or an entire pinner. When you repin something, you should follow the user that created it. This can be a good way to not only get new, relevant content, but they may even follow you in return.
 
You should organize your pins into folders called “pinboards,” which break up content into different categories so you and your followers can quickly find what you need. What pinboards you create will depend on your organization, and what you’re trying to accomplish with Pinterest. Some organizations have chosen to use their Pinterest pages as directories of resources related to their cause. For example, the Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center has sorted their resources into pinboards of different subjects that parents might be interested in learning more about. Check out their page for some great inspiration.
 
You can also choose to “like” a pin, which can be a good choice for miscellaneous content that doesn’t fit in with any of your pinboards. When repining, you should create your own description to keep it relevant, but be sure to give credit to the original source. Pinterest makes this easy by allowing you to tag users in your pins with the @ symbol.
 
Eventually, you will want to upload your own content. The process of looking through Pinterest is highly visual, so pictures and videos seem to work best. It’s important to have the pin link back to your website, and to mind your marketing manners. The names of your pinboards, pin descriptions, and tags should be specific and SEO friendly. Pinterest can be a great way to drive traffic to your website, and increase search engine prominence, but only if you make your pins easy to search for. You can also add a “Pin it” widget to your website, so users can share your content on Pinterest just as easily as they can on Facebook and Twitter.
 
Posting your own links and photos can be great, but remember to keep repining related topics from other sources. This will keep your boards fresh and full of content, and drive new followers to you and your resources. People are more likely to follow boards dedicated to specific interests rather than broad ones. Developing a wide range of highly specified boards will require more work and time, but the investment can be a worthwhile one. With all social media, it’s better to use a few outlets well than to use many poorly.
 
You should add the “Pin It” button to your web browser, and get the Pinterest application for your mobile device. That way, anytime you see an image or link that speaks to you, it just takes one click to share it online. Additionally, you can use an application like Pingraphy, which allows you to store your content and disperse it on a schedule, cutting down on the amount of time needed to keep your followers engaged. You can also easily share your pins across Facebook and Twitter, so it’s a great idea to keep content flowing.

As with any social media investment, it’s important to get a feel for what your constituents are using, and where they want to see your content. Pinterest is currently mostly popular with women, but that is starting to shift as the site grows in popularity. It’s also popular with a slightly older demographic than you might expect, mostly 25-45, so those looking to get more engagement from teens through social media may wish to look elsewhere. All in all, Pinterest is a very unique and exciting tool with a lot of room for experimentation and growth. Given its popularity, it’s safe to say that Pinterest will be around for the foreseeable future. Adding Pinterest to your social media repertoire can be a rewarding and fun venture for organizations that are looking to branch out.

Be sure to check out Idealware's Pinterest. We currently have some links to great nonprofit infographics, and a few of our own resources, but are continuing to expand as the site gains momentum.

Comments

Love Using Pinterest

 We use Pinterest at ShopBidGive and absolutely love it. It's a great way to get in touch with a variety of supporters, get web traffic, and potential new auctioneers. We pin items from auctions, fundraising ideas, auction set-up decor, benefit themes, etc. There are so many ways to use Pinterest. It's been great for our business!