This is Part One in a three-post series on the social content curation site Pinterest.
There’s a new kid on the social media block.
What Exactly Is Pinterest?
Basically, Pinterest is an invitation-only site that lets you organize images and share things you love in an easy-to-manage, ridiculously good looking online space. You can ‘pin’ and ‘re-pin’ images you find on the net — or images you upload yourself — to different boards, and organize them to your heart’s content.
Right now, most users are female between the ages off 25 and 44. Naturally, most pinning focuses on food, art, crafts, interior design, fashion and other things women love.
And that’s exactly the demographic many nonprofits are after: moms who make household buying decisions — including charitable giving — and are looking for ways to teach their children how to help others and give back.
Should Your Nonprofit Be On Pinterest?
It’ll ultimately depend on what kind of story you have to tell and what resources are available to you.
The first thought running through my mind after playing around with Pinterest for a bit was if brands should even be allowed on the site? See, Pinterest has a real cool, DIY feel to it. Brands might have a tough time find finding their footing on the organically-driven platform.
Still in its Beta phase, and being funded by venture capital firms, Pinterest has yet to reveal how it will make money. Chances are it will rely on some form or advertising, but already users are reeling at the notion that brands may crowd the clean, aesthetically-pleasing space they have come to love.
Even though she pins about brands like Starbucks, my friend recently told me she would hate to see brands overtake the social site.
“I don’t want to see brands pollute my Pinterest boards. I want to visually explore, find cool things on my own,” she said.
And while big brands may struggle to tap into the cool, organic culture, nonprofits have a real opportunity to connect with people’s hearts. That’s because most of what happens on Pinterest is sharing images, and few things evoke human empathy and emotions more than pictures.
So, is Pinterest right for YOUR nonprofit?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your nonprofit have a social media presence already? Pinterest is a great add-on if you’re already on Facebook, Twitter and/or blogging, but it’s not a great place to start growing your online following.
- Do you have the resources to pour into Pinterest? In other words, do you have a staff member passionate about social media and aesthetics that you can empower to “run with it?” Like all other social media sites, Pinterest is time-intensive and requires lots of attention to do right.
- Are you doing it just ’cause it’s cool? Then don’t. Pinterest users are cool, trendy and savvy. They’ll sniff you out pretty quickly if you’re not. Know your audience, identify what you want achieve and figure out how to best go about it.
- Do you have rich image content to share? Chances are you do, even if it’s not obvious to you. I believe every nonprofit has a great story to tell through images, but finding a creative way to do it is often time-consuming and frustrating.
- Do you place value on SEO? Every image posted on Pinterest is a link to a real web page. And because Pinterest is populated by real people posting real links — not spammers, black hat marketers or bots – pinning can greatly boost your SEO and help your cause be found online.
These are only a few questions meant to get you started.
Of course, Not every cause has a visually-appealing story, and not every nonprofit has the time and resources to invest into yet another social network. We have yet to see how Pinterest will continue to grow and if it will sacrifice user experience for a revenue model.
In my next post, I will explore different kinds of nonprofits that could benefit from Pinterest.
Your turn. Is your nonprofit on Pinterest? Why or why not?