Pinterest is a relatively new kid on the block in terms of social media networks. Since migrating from an invitation only service back in August 2012, Pinterest has really taken the social media scene by storm. The trouble with Pinterest for many businesses and nonprofits is trying to figure out how to utilize it to its fullest potential.
Let’s take a moment to discuss exactly what Pinterest is and how to make the most of it for your nonprofit.
…a virtual scrapbook or pinboard which allows you to “pin” websites and images that you like and want to refer back to later. It’s akin to a public version your web browser’s bookmarks or favorites in that sense. It allows you to create niche specific categories or boards that organize your thoughts, images, and websites. Pinterest.com defines the site as follows, “Pinterest is a virtual pinboard. Pinterest allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.”
You can easily link to your website or to an event registration page to drive traffic back to your website. Each time you pin a link to one of your pinboards, Pinterest automatically pulls all images from that specific page and allows you to select the image which you would like to represent the link on your board.
It’s important to remember that you don’t want to drive traffic just to your website alone. If you happen to find an article or website that you like and also think your followers would enjoy, go ahead and pin it. Pinterest allows you to follow other users and for other users to follow you on the site as well. Pinterest is afterall a social network, so be sure to interact with your followers by repining or commenting on their pins too!
Here are 5 top tips for nonprofits:
1. “Pin” your personality
Pinterest separates itself from the other social media sites out there by being one of the few which is visually focused. One of the best ways to showcase your volunteers/employees and your cause is through imagery. “As humans, we connect emotionally to images more than video, audio or text. People make decisions and take action quicker when prompted by images, rather than by reading a lot of text”, according to Social Media Examiner.
The best way to show your personality while also increasing web traffic is to write a blog post on your website. Once you publish the post, hop on over to Pinterest, pin that specific post from your website, and select the image you want to show your audience (you did add a great photo to your blog post didn’t you?).
Here is a simple example of how a nonprofit animal shelter might work:
- Create a board called “Adoptable Pets”
- Write a quick post about a new pet on your blog and include a photo
- Go to Pinterest and add a new pin to the “Adoptable Pets” board which links back to the post on your blog
You may even do the same for volunteers working with the animals, them interacting with the public at an outreach project, or some behind the scenes photos.
2. Follow in the shadow of others
There is something to be said of those who follow the footsteps of other like-minded people. Don’t forget to follow the like-minded pinners and follow back the like-minded pinners who follow you! Remember, its all about being social in social media. It’s a give and take relationship. Pinterest can easily provide you a lot of inspiration from other nonprofits who also use Pinterest.
The easiest way to begin to grow those relationships is by sharing (or repining) their pins in the appropriate boards.
3. Share your knowledge
I think the Dalai Lama said it best “Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.” You’re an expert in your field…grab it by the horns and embrace it! Create a board all about your field.
Let’s continue the nonprofit pet shelter from above. Create some boards such as these:
- How to groom your pet
- How to make homemade treats
- Best way to house train your new pet
- Links to tips on how to groom your pet
Its often best to pin links to these boards when they link to articles, websites and other pins from sources other than your own.
4. Get creative – let your hair down
Pinterest is an amazing network to let loose a little.
Do you love quotes? Hint: Most people do. Myself included! Begin by creating a Pinterest board with your favorite quotes and sayings that best represent your nonprofit’s mission.
Did you capture photos of a fun field trip or a retreat you just attended? Upload the images you took and show your followers the fun side of your nonprofit. It doesn’t have to be serious all of the time. This also goes to further point 1 of sharing your personality.
5. Spread the love
As a nonprofit you know that building your relationships is arguably one of the most important parts of being a nonprofit. Pinterest allows you to easily spread your knowledge, images, blog posts and website pages with others all in one place.
Simply begin by creating a board called “Nonprofits Doing it Right” or perhaps “Nonprofit Tips & Best Practices”, and then begin to pin information you find from other nonprofits. These could be pins about an upcoming event another nonprofit is holding or a page all about their volunteers.
A great way to get started is to see how other nonprofits are using Pinterest. Do a quick search on Pinterest for some of the other nonprofits which you may already have a relationship with. There are so many ways to effectively use this fantastic tool! At the end of the day, why wouldn’t you want to use a tool that will help build relationships and drive traffic to your website? Take action and get out there! Begin by following some great new pinners, and get your feet wet.
If you have questions about Pinterest Tips for Nonprofits, let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.