I get really annoyed that my phone hasn’t accepted “Pinterest” as a word – it constantly autocorrects it, not unlike “nom,” “hai,” and other lolcat speak in my vernacular – even though Pinterest is a hugely popular social media platform.
So popular that, according to Pew Research Center, it was used by 28% of all adult internet users last year, up from 21% in 2013. And it gets even more widespread if you look just at online women, 42% of whom are ‘pinning.’
That’s a huge audience that a nonprofit organization can engage and inspire.
Don’t be like my phone. Make sure you have “Pinterest” in your vocabulary.
To help you be interesting while Pinterest-ing (sorry, I had to), here’s a guide on how to use Pinterest for nonprofits:
Pinterest accounts are quick and easy to set up, but you need to distinguish your organization from those of us using it to plan our weddings.
You should get started with a business account, and Pinterest has a great set up guides on how to do that, plus verify your website to show you’re a trusted source on the platform.
Accidentally started with a human profile? You can convert that to a business account, no sweat.
Next, you’ll need to set up your boards. This is your chance to be creative in organizing pins based on interest categories which, you should keep in mind, is also how users who are browsing by category discover your content.
Capterra’s Pinterest has boards for each of our software categories, but also boards for B2B Marketing and software silliness. The ASPCA has boards for dogs, cats, pets in Halloween costumes, pets in holiday finery, and adoptable animals. (We’ll take one of each, thank you.)
You’re not just planning your fall fashion shopping – Pinterest for nonprofits is about promoting your cause and building a deeper (or new) relationship with followers.
Pinterest is an incredibly visual experience, so you need eye-catching images to get there.
Since Pinterest is designed to link back to websites, take a good, hard look at your own. How powerful are these images? Do they stir emotion, or make you want to learn the story behind them?
If you’re still in the stock photo slump, consider how you can amp up your visual communication. A (good) picture is worth a thousand words, after all.
Vertical images look slightly better within Pinterest, and each pin appears small within a board, so keep them simple. Save those collages for elsewhere. Your photos should also be able to stretch nearly the full screen in high quality when users click to expand them.
Pinterest is also well-suited for sharing infographics, which are really just another visual form of storytelling. Nonprofit blogger and social media guru Beth Kantor has a whole board of nonprofit infographics, and it’s a prime example of how bright colors and snappy statistics draw users in.
Use your captions to add the information a photo can’t tell: How did this playground keep children off the streets? Did this older dog get a new lease on life?
This text is also an invitation for a user to click through to the site, where you have the chance to turn them into a donor or advocator. Make your text direct and actionable.
Make sure your site works well on devices, plenty of pinners are doing so from their phones or tablets. In a 2014 Business Insider study, Pinterest users accounted for nearly half, 48.2%, of all social media shares on iPads.
Pins are also searchable, so be sure to include keywords that will lead users to your items. That also mean your content might be found months, or even years, after you posted it, so stray away from using Pinterest for news value. Keep your content timeless.
- Pin a little, a lot: Pin daily if you can, but don’t flood your followers’ home feeds or they might be annoyed and unfollow you. One or two pins will keep you at top of mind (and feed), without overwhelming people.
- Make it easy for visitors to share pins directly from your site. Pinterest offers a widget builder and a Pin It button for images.
- As Pinterest is primarily used for leisurely browsing, the best times to post are later in the evening. Pinterest doesn’t have a scheduling function (yet), so you’ll have to try catch users after dinner.
- Don’t just pin your own content! Pinterest is a social sharing site, so it’s an opportunity to find and share other awesome pieces yourself. And, it’s a way to learn from other organizations.
- To make pinning content easier (whether it’s from your site or somewhere else), Pinterest has a button you can add to Chrome for one-click saving.
- If you have a partnership with another organization on Pinterest, or want to crowdsource your content, set up a group board. You choose who gets invited to add pins, and maintain control over deleting anything you don’t want included.
- Gauge your success using Pinterest Analytics, which keeps track of your top pins and boards, website stats, and audience demographics. Here’s a guide and a video tutorial to walk you through it.
If you have any more nonprofit-specific tips and tricks for Pinterest, please let us know in the comments!
Looking for Nonprofit software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Nonprofit software solutions.