I’ve been pinning like a crazy, addicted fool to my personal pinboards and thinking how much FUN this is, but also wondering – like most people probably are – what could I possibly pin for my brand or for a nonprofit’s brand that would have any value? From what I can see, people on Pinterest love fashion, beauty, food, DIY & repurposing, home décor, anything vintage, humor and anything to do with color. The brands that seem to fit best with these categories are all the home, fashion, beauty, food etc. blogs, magazines and stores – or brands like Sony who can capitalize on their whole photo-taking thing in general.
We’ve seen reports showing that animal-related nonprofits are doing well with social media in general – they have great photo opportunities that many other nonprofits just don’t have. So what do nonprofit brands do when they aren’t as photo-centric? First you have to master the art of photo-centricity on your main website and Facebook, before you even think about Pinterest. (See: Photos Rule in Content Marketing for Your Nonprofit and the accompanying podcast How to Use Your Photos for Storytelling from the Nonprofit Spark radio show.)
If you are ready for Pinterest, we’ve peeked at the biggest brands on Pinterest to see what they were up to OTHER than pushing products to see if we could translate some of their board ideas into the nonprofit world. The goal isn’t to just slap up any photos and boards to create pinnable content – the content should tie into your mission in some way, provide resources or engage your constituents in some way.
1. The Gap has an entire array of TIY boards which I assume stands for Tee It Yourself – ideas to repurpose t-shirts into really interesting items; your nonprofit may be doing something with recycling or run a Thrift shop that could tie in with some repurposing pinboards. The idea is to gather you own photos plus other people’s photos while promoting your program (whatever it may be).
2. Better Homes and Gardens had a Grill & Chill Event 2012 and created a pinboard for it. Next time you have an event, take your usual photos but also add in some interesting décor/centerpiece photos, zoom in on some food and provide accompanying recipes (especially fun if it’s a potluck event)– anything you think your constituents might find interesting – and post them on your site as part of your site content and then pin them.
3. Whole Foods has an Earth Day pinboard with many other organizations and companies adding to the boards. Your nonprofit likely has some kind of annual “day” that pertains to your specific industry – if you are not participating in one, it’s a great time to start. Supplement your awareness campaign with a pinboard that relates to it. And nothing spreads the word faster than having others help you with it.
4. Marketing Profs has a pinboard called Things to Do & See in Boston (where they are located) now this is a practical board because they host an annual conference and the pinboard is great for people coming from out of town. But a lot of brands have location pinboards to show how much they love the city/area they are in and I can see nonprofits showing photos of their area plus even local businesses that support them. Staff can even get involved, each taking a photo of their favorite places to go – include your own office as well as some nice scenic photos. This falls under the “the more people connect with you, the more likely they are to become involved with you” concept.
5. The Today Show has a photo contest related to one of the topics they often have on the show – travel. This is a great way to get constituents involved and generate some interesting photos while showing what your nonprofit is all about. If you advocate education, independence, senior’s rights, whatever it is, it’s likely a photo contest would work. Other brands have board contests – encouraging pinners to create a board entirely related to their brand that can then be featured on the brand’s board.
6. Time Magazine has several boards they call “guides” like their “Social Media Guide”; they have lots of blog articles and most of these guides refer to reviews they have done. I just really love the title “Guide”. I think it would be great for nonprofits to put together their own “guides” on topics that are important to their mission – with links to both their own content and outside resources! How many nonprofits promote healthy living? LOTS. And that topic is a great pinboard opportunity.
7. Sony Electronics has a pinboard called “Old School Sony Ads” – which is perfect because it falls into the “vintage” category that is popular plus they are archiving their history – something they likely wouldn’t make room for on their main site so Pinterest becomes a place for supplemental, archived content. Nonprofits can line up anything they want archived like photos of all past presidents, annual contest winners, covers of their annual reports, pivotal photos representing the history of their organization.
8. Fossil has a great pinboard called “What We’re Into” that features staff and organizational interests and projects. It gives an interesting insight into the culture of the organization. Some brands also have photos of their staff members with links to their own personal Pinterest pages, photos that their staff members have taken, photos of staff member’s pets, all kinds of stuff that I think helps build a connection with the brand.
9. Whole Foods also has boards for their corporate foundations, like the Whole Kids Foundation. This board is a great example of how a nonprofit’s program board or campaign board could look. They include photos of program participants, infographics and other information related to the program, tips for parents, and announcements of significant achievements and results (stating amounts raised). Notice that the photos are nicely done!
10. The Nature Conservancy has a board called Art and Nature; if you think about it just about every nonprofit could probably come up with an art topic. Either art featuring the industry you are in (like nature art for the Nature Conservancy) or art created by people in the industry you are in (like art by people with disabilities or single moms) – not necessarily art created by your specific constituents although that is also a possibility. You could create an art gallery for sale and just link the photos back to your website with an order form…
11. AARP has a great board featuring “50+ Celebs: Movies for Grownups” – they tied it in with a popular Pinterest category “celebrities” and created something of interest to their constituents. The Humane Society of America also did this with a board called “Celebrities who love animals.” Hmmmm…possibly a checklist of donors to contact as well?
12. Quite a few of the colleges on Pinterest have also gotten together to create boards that they all can edit and that feature each other’s Pinterest boards like this one Education brands on Pinterest. You can group with other nonprofits in general, or nonprofits in your particular industry. Notice how the photos are not logos…