A Guide to Pinterest for Charities

16.04.2015 | Charity. Marketing. Social Media.

  • Posted by Charlie AbbottCharlie Abbott
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    Donned the ‘visual discovery’ tool, Pinterest has enabled the sharing of pictorial ideas since 2010. The popular image-collecting site enables users to share future projects, discover ideas and make plans by virtually pinning things to ‘Boards’.


    To put it simply, imagine taking that good old fashioned cork board, scrapbook, or journal you had when you were younger, transforming it into a digital entity and plonking it on the internet. Ta-da! You have Pinterest!


    Drawings, infographics, graphs, videos and photographs are among some of the most popular offerings. Think recipes, travel destinations and dreams for the future. For charities, it can be a powerful marketing tool to connect people and communities based on their interests whilst also integrating existing campaigns. So, if you aren’t using Pinterest already then you probably should be.


    The popularity of sites like Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest firmly mark the importance of visuals within social media (Instagram is said to have as much as ten times greater engagement than other platforms). This means that if you want high brand engagement, then you’re going to need to convey your message through visual content.


    If Flickr and Facebook were to have a social media lovechild, Pinterest would be it. Taking the visual genes from Flickr and inheriting the shareability of Facebook, we are left with a very interesting tool. One that has a unique user demographic made up almost entirely of women (around 90% between the ages of 25 to 45). This particular group of people is often a great source of donations but one that is quite tricky to target with online campaigns on other platforms.



    Getting started…


    Before we start here are the basics. You’ll need to register and create boards on which to pin content.


    It’s worth getting started with a Business account‘ where you will be able to directly link to your website, use ‘Rich pins’ for more detailed posts and access analytics.


    Now that you’re all set up, let’s dive right in and start your Pinterest journey.  Like many of the other social media platforms, Pinterest can be great to raise awareness of your cause and how people can help.


    However, what makes Pinterest different, is the ability to take what may be more mundane and transform it into something that is entirely reliant on visuals.


    Take advantage of this virtual pinboard to get your message across quickly and immediately create an impact. Take the canine protectors Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. They have an entire board dedicated to animals that need rehoming. However their narrative doesn’t end there, they also photos of happy waggy doggies with their new families, a ‘Good Stuff’ board. Which brings me conveniently on to the next step on your Pinterest journey…







    Pinterest is a light-hearted platform, so the most effective tactic is to raise awareness of the positive things you are doing for your cause.


    The quickest way to lose followers and disengage with your audience is to bog down your boards with depressing content about the terrible things you are fighting. Aim instead to inspire your audience. Age UK does this perfectly with their board Age is just a Number.


    Focus on posting eye-catching images that reinforce the positive impact your charity has had. Remember, most people will see these images not in the context of your boards, so before your post ask yourself if they stand alone as an image.





    Go further than your own messages


    Just like the retweet function on Twitter, Pinterest’s own ‘repin’ tool is not one to be missed. To avoid inundating your audience with messages only about your charity or not for profit organisation, include other organisations that you admire, other products you think your audience would like to hear about or pins from your supporters and fundraisers.


    Not only this but they’ll get a notification everytime you interact. What better way to initiate a friendly ‘Hello’! Who knows, they may even repin you back.


    Pinterest is all about collaboration, so don’t forget it!



    Facts and images go hand in hand


    Tell a story. Post images with information and statistics about your charity, or why not combine the two and come up with some creative graphics incorporating both. Infographics are your friend!



    Pinterest offers you the chance to be creative, so put yourself in the shoes of those who support your charity. Macmillan Cancer has smartly included a board dedicated to recipes for people affected by cancer.


    Oxfam, on the other hand has a whopping 8 boards dedicated to food and recipes. This not only ties into their existing campaigns surrounding sustainable living but also cleverly piggybacks onto Pinterest’s most re-pinned theme, food.


    They key to great sharable pins is content and imagery, together!




    Mind your P’s and Q’s


    Why not create a board of thanks to show your appreciation of your supporters, fundraisers or advocates. Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and RNLI do this well with entire boards dedicated to photographs of their celebrity support.


    Scope, the national disability charity, also has a #ThankfulThursday board whilst WWF have pinned incredibly cute and sharable drawings their supporters have created




    Don’t forget to sell.


    One of the reasons Pinterest is great at converting traffic directly into sales in comparison to other platforms is that unlike Facebook, people don’t use it to socialise with friends.


    They use to find out about products, services and information. Your audience is therefore immediately more open to learning about your products and services.


    Pinterest is activiely encouraging e-commerce with their rich pin functionality where product information and price-tags can be added. Beth Hayden, author of Pinfluence, revealed that Pinterest drives more referral traffic that LinkedIn, Google + and YouTube combined.


    If that’s not a reason to use Pinterest to drive traffic to your site, then I don’t know what is!



    Utilise promotions and competitions

    A great way to increase engagement and create user-generated content is to invite your audience to get involved. Some charities choose to ask their advocates to pin and tag their fundraising efforts whilst others will request a photo of their product.



    With so many charities Vying for attention Pinterest offers you the medium to really get creative. So, what are you waiting for? Get pinning!

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