Though not yet as popular as other forms of social media, Pinterest has grown drastically within the past couple of years. However, it has a very specific audience. According to Forbes, it is mostly composed of college-educated females 25-44 years old. But this narrow segment isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This demographic is known for its purchasing power, which is why many companies try to use Pinterest to market themselves, including nonprofit organizations.
Nonprofits market themselves to consumers in a variety of ways, but often through educational and emotive appeals. Pinterest is a great gateway when it comes to these two appeals. Firstly, the biggest difference between Pinterest and other social networks is that it uses pictures, not writing. This visual aspect allows users to connect to Pinterest in a different way. For nonprofits, this means they can post pictures that are inspiring, sad, helpful, informative, etc. Pictures often evoke more emotion than writing. For example,
The Humane Society might say that factory farming is bad because pigs (and other intelligent animals) are thrown into tiny pens where they don’t have enough space to turn around, suffering until they are led to slaughter, assuming they don’t first batter themselves to death against their pens.
That’s a brutal sentence, but you can’t quite see every detail. The picture on the right, however, might really make you think twice next time you’re craving bacon. And if that’s not bad enough, a pinned video of factory farms will probably push you over the edge. Another visual tool is known as infographics. WWF’s infographic on the left is a way of being informative in a visual way to get people to remember. Pinterest also allows for links back to websites or social media when clicking on a pin. This can be a great way to get people straight to an ‘action’ stage. PETA posts pictures of items in their store. When clicked on, these lead you straight to the item you were looking at. Click on the image of a tank-top below and it will take you to Pinterest. Click on it from Pinterest, and you will be taken to this product in their store.
Finally, I have also made a short list of tips that nonprofit organizations should implement in order to be more effective in Pinterest marketing. I referenced two blogs: John Hayden and Mashable when assembling this list and some items on the list are directly quoted from their blogs.
- Create boards with a purpose– for example “Rescued Animals”, a board of happy endings
- Have eye-catching images– this is common sense, but important
- Know your audience– it’s educated women, so don’t post Monty Python jokes
- Follow similar organizations– they might follow you too, giving you more presence
- Follow influential people (people who have lots of followers)- if they follow you back, their followers will see you
- Use keywords in pins and boards– great for SEO (search-engine optimization)
- Make sure people know where/how to donate– give them a clear call to action or there won’t be any