Monday, March 5, 2012

Is Your Nonprofit Pinterest-ing?

Have you ever heard of Pinterest?  If you haven't, it's time to get out from under that comfortable rock you've been living under, because it's the next big social media craze.  So what is it?  It's a pinboard style social photo sharing website.  Users are able to create boards and then decorate them with pictures that best represent their interests.  These photos can either be taken from the web or uploaded from your computer.  Once the picture is up, the user can link it to a website of their choosing.

Although it was launched back in March 2010, Pinterest has only recently gained steam.  As of January 2012, the site had 11.7 million unique visitors, the fastest any site has reached that mark.  It's clear the social networking site has reached the level of "phenomenon" so now the question is how can your nonprofit make use of it?

Mashable, a social media and tech website, recently published an article on the top 10 strategies for nonprofits when using Pinterest.  Here are five of the tips we like the best:

  • Know Your Audience: This is the standard rule for other social networking platforms and it still applies to Pinterest.  For example, did you know that of the site's 10 million plus users, 87 percent are women, and the average age spans between 25 and 54.  Keep this information in mind when deciding which pictures you want to pin.
  • Get Personal: It's true: People respond better when they think a real human being is behind the scenes of your social network.  Give your pins some life by personalizing your descriptions, and don't be afraid to show some humor from time to time.
  • Make It A Team Effort: Social media campaigns are most successful when you get multiple staff members involved.  Mashable gives the example of charity: water.  Sarah Cohen, the communications and development manager at the nonprofit, told the site that one of their recently added boards, "Products We Love," is comprised of the various nonprofit brands that the group's staff admires.
  • Fundraise: Pinterest has a feature that makes it extremely easy to raise money.  All you have to do is pin a picture of something (maybe a money jar, a fundraising sign, etc.) and enter the "$" sign and price in the description box.  This will create a banner in your image that will allow users to donate that amount of money into your Pinterest's Gifts tab.
  • Highlight Other Nonprofits: Pinterest is a great place to promote your nonprofit but you also don't want to go overboard self-promotion.  Other users get notifications when their pins have been "re-pinned," and this will help you get more followers and, who knows, maybe the nonprofit will re-pin one of your items.
You can read the full article on Mashable.com.  Make sure to visit NPT's Pinterest page, too!

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