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Social Media 101: Using Pinterest for Your Nonprofit

Community & Social Media

This post is part of TechBoomer’s Social Media 101 blog series. Check out the intro, Facebook, and Twitter blogs to learn more about social media and how it can benefit your nonprofit.

By: Corbin Hartwick, Techboomers.com

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest.com is a website that lets you create and manage collections of information that you find on Pinterest or the Internet at large, or that you upload to Pinterest yourself.  The catch is that everything on Pinterest has to have a visual attached to it: a photo, drawing, animation, or video.  Individual pieces of information on Pinterest are called "pins", which are organized into custom categories that you create called "boards".  For a more detailed explanation of Pinterest and how people use it, check out this Pinterest article.

Why should I use Pinterest for my nonprofit?

1. It's absolutely free for everyone!

Many social networks are free to use for individual people, but cost money if you want to use them as a business.  But that's not the case with Pinterest!  Setting up a Business Account on Pinterest is not only free, but you get some extra goodies to boot (see our next point).

2. Built-in promotion and analytics tools

With a Pinterest Business Account, you get to use additional helpful features built right into the website.  For example, you can easily place links that will take users from your website to your Pinterest page and vice versa.  You can track how much web traffic is flowing in either direction and  which of your pins on Pinterest people are visiting, re-pinning, or marking as a favourite most frequently.  You can also use "Rich Pins" to give your visitors on Pinterest extra features - like checking out your product,service details, or finding your location on a map.  And, as we mentioned, they're all free to use!

3. Harness the power of visuals

Everything you post on Pinterest has to be, or be accompanied, by a picture, animation, or video. This means that Pinterest is perfect for showing off your products, services, staff... anything!  Research shows that the right visuals give businesses and nonprofits alike more customer engagements than no use of visuals at all, so instead of just telling people what your nonprofit does, go ahead and show them!

For more information and ideas on using Pinterest, take a look this tutorial on Techboomers.com.

7 Tips on getting the most out of Pinterest for your nonprofit

1. Put a face to your brand

To show that there's a human side to your organization, make sure that you include pictures of and introduce your staff in at least some of your pins.  Better yet, create an entire board of pins dedicated to "Who We Are", so people can meet your team all in one spot.  If it's possible, an even better idea is to get pictures or videos of your team in action, so you can introduce them and show off what they do!

2. Make content that is useful or interesting to your audience

Your audience is only going to engage with your brand on Pinterest if you provide them with content that they can use in some way.  Consider creating pins with demonstrations on how to use your product or service, or ones that point users to resources from services that are partnered with or similar to your organization.  If possible, use "Rich Pins" to add articles, locations on a map, and more.  See this article for an overview of Rich Pins.

3. Get your audience involved in your boards

Your audience will appreciate that they're being given a chance to build and shape your brand right alongside your team.  You can invite other users to add to and edit your Pinterest boards;  you might use this to your advantage by, for example, inviting a trusted client or two to make a guest board of pins featuring them using your products or services, or adding other relevant information.  Or, you could hold a contest and invite your customers to submit pins of them showing off your brand, and then give a prize for the best one.
 
4. Remember to acknowledge your audience and respond to feedback

For starters, respond to people who comment on your pins, and try not to take more than 24 hours in doing so.  It might be a good idea to have a dedicated person on your staff who handles this.  Another good idea is to include "success story" pins about individual people that your organization has helped.  Again, this adds a more personal touch to your brand's image.

5. Re-pin content from relevant sources

You don't have to do your branding on Pinterest yourself, nor does it have to be all about you.  As was mentioned in tip #2, you can take content that you find elsewhere on Pinterest or the Internet in general and turn it into pins on your Pinterest boards, if it's relevant to your purposes.  Pinterest and several websites nowadays (see the next tip) have easy ways to re-share content while giving the original posters credit.

6. Optimize your own website to work better with Pinterest

If you're going to use Pinterest as a social marketing tool, a good idea is to integrate support for Pinterest right into your website with "Pin It" buttons.  These will let visitors to your website instantly turn anything on your site into pins for their boards on Pinterest, allowing your brand and message to spread quickly and easily!  See this help article to find out how.

7. You have free promotion and analytics tools, so use them!

Pinterest allows you to follow how often your page, boards, and pins on the website are engaged with by your audience.  Be sure to check this data frequently and adjust your content strategy accordingly.

If you'd like to learn more about how Pinterest works in preparation for using it for your nonprofit, click here for a course on how to use Pinterest!


About the Author:
Corbin Hartwick is the lead educational content writer at Techboomers.com, which is a free educational website that teaches older adults and others with limited computer skills how to use the most popular and trusted websites on the Internet.

About TechBoomers:
Techboomers.com is a free educational website that teaches older adults and others with limited computer skills how to use popular and trusted websites on the internet.