For individuals and organizations using Pinterest for professional purposes, creating and managing a “pinventory” is a recommended best practice that enables you to reduce unnecessary duplication, improve board focus and content, and better manage new pins going forward. This post provides suggested steps and related tips.
In mid-2012 we established a presence on Pinterest after realizing some of our original content was being shared by others on the platform. Since then we’ve come to view it as a vital part of our overall digital portfolio and engagement.
To help other organizations leverage Pinterest more effectively, we’re committed to sharing updates on how our presence is evolving and the lessons we’ve learned along the way, as well as best practices tips. Our efforts so far include:
- Pinterest for Professional Purposes? Not as Preposterous as it Sounds! helps people understand the ways in which it can be used by individuals as a professional development tool, as well as by organizations that aren’t focused on individual consumers (i.e., BtoB enterprises, nonprofit organizations, professional associations, public sector entities, etc.).
- Pinterest: 8 Pointers for Organizations provides tips for how to establish a presence and lay a foundation for future growth.
Now, Assistant Community Manager Sean Pearson, IOM shares recommendations on how to optimize boards by creating a (what else!) pinventory. He also provides the results of our recent restructuring efforts, with links and descriptions for our 8 new(!) and 2 revised boards.
Our goal with these posts is to inspire you think about how you can use Pinterest not just for fun, but for work too. We hope our pins – and our progress - provide some “pinspiration” for your own boards. If you’d like to stay abreast of our Pinterest updates, please follow our Pinterest Resources board. You can also subscribe to the SMinOrgs S.M.A.R.T. Blog to receive other great SMinOrgs content.
And as always we welcome feedback and other great examples of how individuals and organizations are leveraging Pinterest in professionally-oriented ways.
- Courtney Shelton Hunt
Coming Up: In our next few Pinterest related posts we’ll share the lessons we learned during our restructure including Content Management and Pinterest specific lessons. We’ll also share our thoughts as to how Pinterest can improve their platform to make it more analytical and user friendly.
After establishing our Pinterest presence back in the spring of 2012, our pin number grew to over 600. While there are many positives to this growth, it also brought some issues. Pins were being duplicated, there were inconsistent captions, and the boards’ purposes had become diluted due to the large number of pins in them. We also had some boards that only had a few pins.
To help alleviate these issues – and more importantly, to create a better foundation for future growth – we realized we needed to create an inventory of our pins (i.e., a “pinventory”), revise our boards to better reflect the content we were curating and sharing, and reallocate our pins to their “proper” homes.
This was a tedious and time-consuming task. Was it necessary? We think so. Although individuals using Pinterest for personal purposes may not have to be super-disciplined with their boards and pins, organizations that are using Pinterest as part of their digital outreach and engagement efforts need to be more vigilant about ensuring their presence and activity create a positive user experience. This is especially true if one of your major objectives for engaging on Pinterest is to curate content created by others.
Below we share are our recommendations, based on what we learned. Following that we share the results of our own restructuring efforts.
Creating a Pinventory & Restructuring
Ideally, you should be able to create a set of boards and a content pinning strategy in advance, but for most organizations that may not be practical. Sure, you can come up with a first-cut approximation, but after an initial period of engagement you’re likely to realize that your activities have caused you to deviate from your original plan (as we discovered). So, like us, you’ll probably need to regroup after about six months. Here are our suggested steps:
- Create an inventory of the content you've already shared. On an excel spreadsheet, for example, you can include a sheet for the board info, as well as a sheet for the detailed inventory, including each pin’s board, caption, and URL.* If you’d like our pinventory template, just send a message to email@example.com.
- Once the inventory is created, review each pin and determine group commonalities. Don’t be limited to your existing boards – think more broadly about the content reflected in the pins.
- Using the freshly-identified commonalities, assign pins either to boards that are already established or determine if new boards need to be created. You are also likely to realize that some boards should be deleted. Be prepared for an iterative process during this step. Depending on how many pins you’ve shared, it will probably take at least two passes through the pins to identify the boards that make the most sense and the pins that should be included in each board.
- To manage future messiness, it’s probably a good idea to create a single “Community Pins” board to allow others to share content directly rather than giving other pinners access to multiple boards. We’ll say more about that in an upcoming post on content management.
- Once the final home of each pin is decided, move them as needed. This is also a good time to clean up your captions, make sure you’re pinning from the original source, and delete any duplicates.
*Note: we focused our inventory primarily on content created by others, because managing our own original content (and related boards) was less challenging.
Managing the Pinventory
Managing the pinventory is an important part of maintaining a Pinterest presence. Since there is no easy way in Pinterest to list all your pins and boards, besides hitting the Pins tab and continually scrolling down until all your pins appear, your pinventory should be your first go-to in determining if you have pinned an item before. Having your pinventory in a spreadsheet allows you to sort by board or caption. This allows you to find pins quickly and enables you to keep a consistent captioning practice. Also, you can keep notes such as where an item has been repinned or when a dated pin should be deleted.
We have much more to say about managing your pinventory in our upcoming post on content management. Stay tuned…
New Year, New Boards
Without further ado, our new boards include:
- Career/Talent Mgmt - Focuses on Digital Era career and talent management resources for employers, employees, and job seekers.
- Digital Engagement - Addresses external social and digital strategies and tactics (e.g., blogging, content marketing, email, and mobile) that organizations of all types can employ to achieve their goals and objectives.
- Digital Era Education - Illustrates the impact of social and digital technologies on education, including usage by institutions, teachers, and students.
- Life in the Digital Era - Includes images illustrating how social and digital technologies have changed the everyday life of the individual. Most of these pins were originally in Digital Era Images.
- QR Codes - Shows examples of QR code usage and information related to the technology. Split from Digital Era Images.
- Social Media Info - Quick reference and statistical information related to social media and the platforms and technologies that drive it. This board houses the more basic pins related to social media.
- Social Media Resources - "How to" resources enabling people to successfully use specific social media platforms and tools for professional purposes. This board is meant to share more specific pins related to social media. Our goal is to eventually create more platform specific boards like our Pinterest Resources board from the pins in this board.
- Social/Digital Workplace - Addresses the internal uses and impacts of social and digital technologies in the workplace.
- Community Pins - We haven’t forgotten our community! To give our followers the ability to more fully engage with us, we’ve created this board to allow them to share pins focused on social and digital technologies directly with us and other followers. If you’d like to be a contributor, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll give you rights to the board.
Old Favorites, New Purpose
These boards have been rebranded or given a different purpose:
- IT Infographics - This board was our most popular board before we restructured, largely because infographics are both cool and provide valuable information (in our case about specific social and digital technology trends and topics). To honor its popularity, we've decided to continue to use this board as a staging area. All new infographics will initially be pinned here, then we'll periodically clear out it out and move the pins to specific topical boards.
- Very Modern Media – Originally Thoroughly Modern Movies, we realized that communication technologies play a pivotal roll in all forms of media, so we expanded this board to be all encompassing.
Also Check Out
To learn more about SMinOrgs’s Pinterest presence, check out the following: