If you’re contemplating establishing a Pinterest presence for your organization, or are just getting started, the eight pointers in this post will help you develop a plan for managing your engagement both initially and over time. Individuals looking to use Pinterest for professional purposes can benefit from these tips as well. Additional suggestions are welcome.
Like many social media platforms, Pinterest can play a valuable role in an organization’s digital engagement strategy, and those that overlook its possible utility could be missing an important opportunity. Earlier this year, after we realized that other people were pinning our original content to their boards, we decided to put our own stake in the ground (or pin on the board, if you will).
Marci Stewart, an intern who became an Assistant Community Manager at SMinOrgs, did a great job of spearheading our initial efforts and developing our Pinterest presence. We learned a lot during the first six months and thought we would share the benefit of our experience with other people who are just getting started.
If you are a Pinterest maven and have additional tips to share, we’d love to hear from you.
- Courtney Shelton Hunt and Marci Stewart
To learn more about SMinOrgs’s Pinterest presence, check out the following:
- Pinterest for Professional Purposes? Not as Preposterous as it Sounds!
- Pinterest Optimization: The Value of a Pinventory
- Pinterest Optimization: Making Boards Work for You
This week our #SMOPIn posts highlight some of our favorite Pinners, who set great exampless of how to use Pinterest for professional purposes. We hope you'll check them out.
1 – Crawl, then Walk, then Run
Like any new social platform, Pinterest can seem daunting at first, especially if you have never used it. Fortunately, it’s very easy to set up a basic profile and some initial boards and add content (especially after you install the “Pin It” Button). Then as you get more comfortable (and “pinspired”) you can create more boards, modify existing boards, add more content and engage with other Pinners by following their boards, repinning their content, and commenting on their posts. There’s no need to try to tackle everything at once – approach it as a marathon, not a sprint.
2 – Start with the Obvious
Pinterest is all about images, so by all means find and share relevant images from other websites and social media platforms. For SMinOrgs, an obvious pinning choice was IT Infographics, which has become our most populated board by far (and one of the most popular too).
3 – Organize Resources
Like many established organizations, SMinOrgs has a lot of older content that is still valuable but can be hard for people to find via the website or other platforms. Pinterest offers a great way to organize all this content and aggregate it through a single portal. As long as your blasts or posts have one picture included, you’ve got both a unique graphic and a link, which is all Pinterest needs. Here are some of the boards we’ve set up so far (note: some are still being populated):
- SMinOrgs Email Archive
- Presentation Decks
- Social Media Primer
- S.M.A.R.T. Blog Posts
- S.MA.R.T. Resources
We also realized that it probably made sense to share resources developed by others, in addition to our own. Specifically, since we were collecting best practices and how-to material for leveraging Pinterest, we decided to establish a Pinterest Resources board, which is a great way to add platform-specific value.
4 – Tell Your Own Stories
Pinning images and established content from websites and social media platforms (your own and those of others) is relatively effortless. Don’t forget the value of creating and uploading original content too. Many of the images in the boards listed below are photos we have taken in our daily lives and through our travels, which we share with wry and witty commentary about how the world is changing thanks to new communication technologies:
We also share original images through photo essays posted to our Digital Era Photo Essays board. And of course we share SMinOrgs-unique images, including photos from events and other organization-specific items, via our SMinOrgs Images board.
5 – Have Fun
While Pinterest has plenty of professional potential, it doesn’t always have to be serious. One of our most popular boards is Technology Ticklers, a collection of comics with jokes about social media and other new technologies. While arguably not as useful as our past blog posts organized in chronological order, these comics show a lighter side of SMinOrgs while still remaining relevant. A similar point can be made about our Digital Era Images, THIS is Social Media, and Technology over Time boards, which have a very strong cheeky vibe.
6 – Think Outside the Box
How does your organization relate to the world outside of its usual activities? For SMinOrgs, we discovered a great pop culture link (no pun intended) via movies in which communication technology plays a pivotal role. Thanks to IMDb, movie posters are readily available and easy to pin to our Very Modern Media board. This is also another way in which we “have fun” (tip 5) with Pinterest.
7 – Engage and Reciprocate
Perhaps more than in other platforms, there’s a very strong correlation between what you give and what you get on Pinterest. The more you follow other boards, and like, repin and comment on content shared by others, the more followers, likers, and rePinners you’ll get in return. We recommend setting aside a few minutes each day (or at least a few times a week) to focus on finding and engaging with other Pinners and their content. Be careful of the potential time suck, though – set a timer!
Depending on your organization and goals, you may want to allow people outside your organization to pin to some of your boards (as we do with our Digital Era Images and THIS is Social Media boards). At a minimum, you can encourage them to tag you in their pins and/or email pin suggestions to you.(For the specific language we use to promote engagement, check out the "Come Pin with Us!" section at the end of the We’re SMOPin! SMinOrgs Pinterest Updates I post.)
8 – Don’t “Pin” Yourself In
Pinterest has unlimited potential outside of the boards, so don’t think your engagement has to begin and end there. Sharing and promoting your Pinterest activity on other platforms is a great way to engage followers with a tiny peek into your pins each day. It’s also useful in spreading the word to those who may not be familiar with Pinterest or your activity. For example, every weekday we schedule a Pinterest-focused update that we share via Twitter around 11 am ET (look for our #SMOPin hashtag), as well as via our Facebook and Google+ pages. We also cross-post and cross-promote our activity between Pinterest and our Tumblr blog regularly. And just recently we started collecting all our #SMOPin activity via Storify.
Come Pin with Us
There are many ways for people to engage with us on Pinterest and contribute to the ongoing evolution and success of our presence there:
- Follow one or more of our boards. We follow back! We check out every Pinner who follows us and follow any boards they have that are focused on social and digital technologies.
- Repin our content to your own boards. We’ll thank you with a like and/or a comment.
- Like/comment on our pins. It’s a great way to let us know what you think.
- Suggest pins for us by adding @SMinOrgs to your own pins.
- Tell us about some of your favorite Pinners by sending a message to email@example.com.
- Become an SMinOrgs Pinner by requesting access to our Community Pins board. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your request. We’d especially love people to share their own original images for our Digital Era Images and THIS is Social Media boards.