Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pinterest – it’s not just for individuals anymore

 Second Article in a Series

Pinterest is increasingly in the headlines, from the Huffington Post to The Chronicle of Philathropy.   In the recent 2012 Digital Marketer Report from Experian, Pinterest is cited as currently being the 3rd most popular Social Networking site.  Quickly, Pinterest is no longer just the realm of artists and odd-balls, many companies and organizations now have Pinterest boards.  There is even reliable speculation that the reason that Facebook bought Instagram is to directly compete with the increasingly omnipresent Pinterest.

You may ask, what does this have to do with me and my organization and our Social Media strategy? The answer to that is multi-dimensional:  you can run contests, increase your brand recognition, and even entice new audiences. And what about using Pinterest to communicate with your internal and external Social Media partners?  From large to small, from corporations to nonprofits, fairly soon not having a Pinterest presence will be like not having a Facebook presence.  Now, Pinterest is becoming the norm, and soon not pinning for your company will make you seem old-fashioned.

Here are examples of a few nonprofits, large and small, that have a Pinterest presence:

·         Heifer International -

·         Operation Smile-

·         Imagine a Way -

Not only do any number of nonprofits have Pinterest boards, but there is even a man named Noland Hoshino who has collected the boards of nonprofits on Pinterest and created one amalgam of all their boards:  Mr. Hoshino wrote in an article about Pinterest on, a website for discussing Social Media marketing for nonprofits, that “Pinterest can generate a lot of traffic to your website because pins link back to their original source. For example, if you pin an image of a product from your business’ website onto your Pinterest board and a person clicks on the image, they will be directed back to your website.

What we are seeing is a Pinterest revolution in the business world.  Organizations are learning to communicate with their existing audiences and build new audiences with pictures.  Some have just a few followers, some hundreds – but either way, they are tapping into a new Social Media audience. Pinterest is not even a broadcast outlet where you can just “sell your product” or “create a demand”, you can reveal your essence, your mission, even your core values, all via images.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Visual Language of Pinterest and the Three Things Game

I don't know about any of you, but since I was “invited” to join Pinterest, I have become obsessed with it. And it seems I am not alone.  Not only are most of my friends “pinning”, but according to the experts, so are more than 2 million people a day! So then we come to the question: “How can Pinterest  be used to anyone's advantage?”

When I was in college, my friends and I invented many games to keep us awake and distracted from our crazy art student hours.  But our favorite was Three Things.  It is a simple game that you can try yourself: all you do is next time you are at a grocery store, try to purchase the 3 most disparate items you can. For us, the winner was 2 knishes and a winter hat! Which still makes me laugh – and that was the point, to make each other laugh as hard as possible, extra points for liquids coming out of anyone's nose! So, you might ask, what does Three Things and nasal expulsions have to do with Pinterest? I will tell you – both are about creating a story by association. And that is why Pinterest can be any person or organizations best tool for anything from Marketing to talking to the dude across the hall.

The basic point here is visual literacy, meaning that, in general, people understand each other better when they see what the other person sees. And what better way to see what another person sees than pictures, literal, actual pictures. So whether you are trying to communicate with your Video Production Company, your Communications Director, or the guy in the next cubicle, if you compile a Pinterest Board of your creative influences, visual “thoughts”, or just stuff you like, you can be on the same page as another person/people. Then from those pictures, you can evolve a story – be it the story of your message, or the story of a particular idea you are trying to propagate.  And the culture of storytelling is a powerful tool for all of us to harness.

Three Things was funny and a shared experience not because of the three selected items, but because of the story they conveyed in relation to one another. The ideas communicated by the juxtaposition of three seemingly unrelated objects, the fact that all three had to be available at our local grocery store, and the absurdity of what each of us chose  for our three each time we played, was the story. And the story was unrelentingly comical no matter who or how often we played. So harness that idea of story, combine it with pictures, and let the creativity flow! I'll leave you with this story: a garden hose, a number 2 pencil, and a box of Ring Dings.