How charities can get the most from Pinterest

How charities can get the most from Pinterest

The What, Why and How of Pinterest

Remember when you were a kid and you’d rip out pictures from magazines and spend hours sticking them in a scrapbook? Well Pinterest is the virtual equivalent; it’s a visual platform that allows you to ‘pin’ images you like or feel inspired by. Rather than being limited to one scrapbook however, you are able to create themes around your images by pinning them to titled boards. Pinterest isn’t just a fun tool for scouring nice images though; it is being harnessed as a powerful marketing tool and can help drive traffic to your website whilst really engaging your target audience.

Pinterest screen grab

As a marketing tool Pinterest is perfect for charities and not for profit organisations. It allows you to reinforce your key messages and campaigns using compelling images. After all – a picture tells a thousand words – and Pinterest allows you to create narrative through the use of images.

There are plenty of great resources online helping you get up to speed on how to use Pinterest, but how can you ensure your organisation really benefits from it?

In this blog post we explore how.

You might think Pinterest sounds great, but before you decide to start using it and include it in your social media strategy – stop and evaluate whether this is the right tool for your charity. Firstly, do you have the time and resources to dedicate to Pinterest? The tool itself might be free, but in order for it to be truly effective it will require regular time spent updating and managing it.

Secondly, you’ll need to consider whether your organisation lends itself to a visual platform. For example if you work with young people or ex-offenders you might struggle to take inspiring pictures of your work as most of your clients will want to remain anonymous. If after evaluating the tool you think it can add value to your organisation then there are some great ways that charities can engage with Pinterest to get the most from it.

Inspire & Engage

Aim to inspire your audience and encourage people to engage with your organisation.

You can do this by pinning eye-catching images that focus on the positives your charity has helped create. A great example of this is from Age UK who has a board entitled ‘People’. Rather than focusing on the stereotypes of the elderly – they’ve show another side, a more positive side. This image of two ladies laughing, for example, speaks loudly. It’s emotive and attention-grabbing and stands out on its own.

Smiling old women

Image Source: Age UK

Using powerful images that work independently is important with Pinterest. The majority of people will see your images on their own, not in the context of your boards. This means they are either viewing your image in their feed or it has been displayed for a search they have entered. Not every image has to have the wow factor – but it’s worth considering when choosing images to pin.

Create a Dialogue with Your Audience

Someone has liked and repinned your image – great! But the conversation doesn’t have to end there. Perhaps you could link your images to blog posts on your website? Or provide useful resource links in the description? Not only does this create another form of traffic generation but it continues to engage your audience and make them more likely to get involved and support your organisation. Rather than simply being a charity they support, you are now a resource of useful information.

Tell a Story

Narrative might not be as obvious with images, but it gives you the space to be creative and inventive. Perhaps you can use images to showcase the great work your charity does? Or help tell a specific story? Charity: Water does this really well by sharing a photo a day.

Image source: Charity: Water

Use Facts, Figures & Interesting Statistics

Infographics or simple data visualisations can really stand out on Pinterest and allow people to immediately understand the message you are trying to convey.

Image source: Mind

What’s more you don’t need to hire an expensive designer in order to create powerful infographics. There are now plenty of free infographic tools available online that will allow you to present your data in a visually appealing way.

Use it to Fundraise

Pinterest has a great feature that allows you to communicate an item is for sale by showing a $ or £ in the corner of your image. This could be a great piece of functionality to encourage people to click to donate.

Image source: Operation Smile

You could even create a specific fundraising board with custom made images that allow people to donate £5, £10, or £20 and that takes them through to your donation page.

Don’t forget you can also make use of the description box. Try asking provocative questions or statements such as “Save a Child’s Life Today. Donate Now.” Apply the same call to actions you would for your website copy.

Be Inventive!

You don’t have to be conventional with the images you choose to pin - so try and think outside of the box.

Inspiring quotes can be really powerful - either by editing an existing image or perhaps using interesting typography that stands out.

Image source: Save The Children

As well as images, PInterest also allows you to pin videos that can be played directly within Pinterest without the user having to click through to another page. Video is a great way of feeding your audience a little bit of extra content.

Use video in pinterest

Image source: Action Aid

Think About Context

Your Pinterest campaign doesn’t need to be thought of as a separate entity from the rest of your social media campaigns. Campaigns that work on Twitter for example, could also translate to Pinterest. A great example of this is Operation Smile’s campaign “ChangeForever”. In order to spread the words about the positive stories of the lives they have helped, they created the hashtag #changeforever. On Twitter this campaign focuses on the outcomes – how positive change made the children feel or act e.g. “Ngan can now walk down the street feeling confident #changeforever”. Pinterest, which also uses hashtags, can help reinforce this message using visuals and showing positive imagery. Using these two social platforms together makes the message Operation Smile want to convey much stronger.

Image source: Operation Smile

Don’t Just Push Content – Engage With People

Like any social media platform, in order to really engage your users you don’t just want to be pushing content out – you want to be engaging with your audience. On Pinterest, this is actually very simple. Like and repin other images you think are relevant to your audience. Follow other people or charities similar to yours and, if you can, leave comments. Not only does this help to create a sense of community on Pinterest, but it is also likely that those same people will like, repin and engage with your images.

Image source: Operation Smile

Measure, Analyse and Reassess

Once you’ve been up and running on Pinterest for a few months – have a review. Has it been effective? Are you getting repins and likes? Are your audience engaging with Pinterest as much as your other social media platforms. Above all else, using Pinterest for your charity should be giving you a return from your time and as a result it’s important you measure the success of using the tool. Tools like Pinreach can help you easily analyse the success of your campaigns.

Is your charity or not-for-profit organisation on Pinterest? Leave a link to your page in our comments box below so we can connect with you.

What tips have you found useful in helping to create a successful campaign? Or perhaps you’ve been apprehensive about joining Pinterest - what’s stopped you? We’d love to hear your comments.