Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 12 seconds

pinterestWe’ve talked a lot in the past about the importance of social media and networking. There have been plenty of Tech Tips about Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, for example. Well, there’s a new social media site on the block, and its popularity with women is making both businesses and nonprofits sit up and take notice.

Pinterest is basically a place where you can set up a series of virtual bulletin boards. When you come across something on the Internet that you’d like to remember, make, visit later, or share with others, you can use your bookmarklet app to “pin” a picture of it to the appropriate board. What you end up with is a visual representation of the things you find that speak to you visually.

Nonprofits can use Pinterest in a couple of different ways. First of all, you can create your own boards as sort of a clearing house for information and images relevant to your cause. Encouraging your constituents to “follow” your Pinterest account means that when they log in (and 32 million of them did last November alone), they will be greeted with visually appealing images that support your mission. If followers like them enough, they’ll probably go ahead and “repin” the images to their own boards, which then opens them up to be seen by each of that person’s followers.

Nonprofits can also gain traffic and exposure through Pinterest. While it is explicitly not a place for merely promoting oneself, it can certainly have some of those benefits. For example, if visitors to your organization’s web site come across something they love, they can pin it to their own board. This increased incoming links for you, and since it shares the pin with each person’s followers, it can increase exposure.

Some organizations and enterprising minds have also developed Pinterest contests. You can encourage your followers to create pictures around a particular theme or to find the best ideas to solve a particular problem.

Keep in mind that Pinterest is all about visual appeal. Those things that get pinned and repinned are the ones that have nice visual appeal. This means that you may want to bump up the quality of photos on your site or include some great infographics that you think will appeal to your followers.

Pinterest is growing, and has entered the top ten social media sites. The majority of users are exactly those who make household decisions – the moms. It’s a great new way to reach out, build brand identity and create relationships with people in a place where they’re already spending their online time.

Last modified on Sunday, 19 May 2013
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