We talked about Pinterest last week when we discussed the fact that the social-media platform has been opened to the public, who no longer need to wait for an invitation. The incredible growth of the platform, already the fastest growing social network in the brief history of such networks, is likely only to continue over the next few years. The questions for nonprofits and small businesses should focus on as a tool to reach more donors, volunteers, and customers. In order to answer some of those questions − even to ask the right questions − one must appreciate what Pinterest ‘is’ and get a sense of what current users expect of each other and of the sharing that goes on. We’re here to help with just those questions.
Setting up a Pinterest account is no different from and no tricker than and just as free as setting up an account with most any other social network you are using. The only marginally advanced step in the process is to install a ‘Pin It’ button on your web browser’s toolbar to make sharing images, videos, and sites all that much easier. Here is a brief video that the Pinterest folks have shared to show how easy it is:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXOQ9LO627U
As for sharing, the most important thing to remember is that Pinterest is about images. If you try to share a website or blog post without images, tough luck. And that’s precisely where the marketing strategies need to come into play. First off, establish a few ‘Pin Boards’ within your organization’s account and label them with appropriate subjects. A Pinterest page can look a bit like a teenager’s school locker if you’re not careful: you want to direct your visitors to a fairly short list of Pin Boards relevant to your own work. Going forward, as you pin something from the web, your popup window will ask which board to post the page, and what description you want to give it.
As for some Dos and Don’ts, Brittany Fitzgerald presents an appropriately visual list on The Huffington Post. A couple of them probably are not surprising for those organizations already engaged in social networks: outright self-advertising is frowned upon, for example. But just because the platform is so so gloriously technicolor doesn’t mean you should ignore text. Copyrighted material must be accredited as such, according to the ‘Terms and Conditions’ you agreed to when you opened your account. And no one wants to click on one of your images only to be led to a Google Images search page! If the image were important enough to associate with your organization, then the info about the image is worth chasing down before pinning.
Finally, a picture might be worth a thousand words, but if you are marketing the great work of your staff or the super product your small business is bringing to market, you want to have a say in what those 1000 words are. Describe your image, even though its on its appropriate Board, and develop ways to inspire conversation to your pins. The pin might be about a peer group’s work, but anyone who clicks on the image will comment on your pin, and that’s the conversation you should be sparking.
It’s difficult to envision Pinterest’s growth plateauing in the near future, so your charity or business definitely wants to be involved during its ongoing expansion. You want to be seen, followed, and shared, so do some sharing yourself. Just be sure you have a strategy behind your boards and within your pins’ descriptions.