Charities winning at Pinterest

Kirsty Marrins
Digital communications specialist
08 May 2018

This blog post comes with a caveat. Whilst the heading implies that the charities below are ‘winning’ at Pinterest – meaning they are using it successfully – they are and they aren’t. Keep reading and I’ll explain why…

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is an online pinboard where you can create boards relevant to your interests (for example, Baking Ideas) and then save and ‘pin’ interesting content (for example, ‘The best chocolate brownie recipe’) to that board – either from other people’s boards or directly from their website or blog.

It launched in 2010 and started off as a community, much like Facebook and Twitter in the sense that it was about getting followers and following people and their boards, saving pins to your boards and commenting on pins that you liked. It became apparent that users weren’t using it as a community so the platform adapted to their user’s needs and now it is very much a search engine.

Why is it important for charities?

If you’re interested in driving more traffic to your website or charity blog then you should invest in Pinterest. “Yet another platform we need to be on?”, I hear you say… the good news is that Pinterest doesn’t require loads of effort because you’re not building a community. You don’t have to create pins on a daily basis and you don’t have to engage with any other Pinterest users (although do save relevant pins to your boards that are useful for your audience).

It doesn’t matter how many followers you have on the platform, it’s all about how you’ve optimised your Pinterest to drive traffic. I’ll give you an example: I have a personal food, travel and lifestyle blog. On Pinterest I have around 710 followers yet, in a set time period, (according to Google Analytics) 55% of all traffic to my blog is via social media referrals and here’s my social referrals broken down by platform:

Just look at how much traffic Pinterest drives to my blog.

A few facts about Pinterest

  • There are 200 million Pinterest users
  • 81% of Pinterest users are female
  • But 40% of new signups are male
  • Millenials use Pinterest as much as Instagram
  • 87% of Pinners have purchased a product because of Pinterest
  • Over 5% of referral traffic comes from Pinterest

Read more interesting Pinterest stats here. The keys stats for charities to take note of is that millenials use Pinterest as much as Instagram and that over 5% of referral traffic comes from Pinterest.

I’ve chosen two charities who are using Pinterest in these two keys ways:

  • Driving traffic to their website
  • Adding value to their audience

National Trust

National Trust also featured on Three Charities Winning At Twitter so they’re definitely doing a good job when it comes to understanding the different social media platforms and how to use them successfully.

On Pinterest, they have a staggering following – 102k followers with around 77k monthly views. Their boards range from Cats of The National Trust to Wildlife That We Protect, and Our Holiday Cottages.

The ones I want to talk about are the Our Holiday Cottages and National Trust Gardens boards because every pin takes people to the National Trust website. The Our Holiday Cottages board follows best practice by adding a description of what the board is about.

Now, I did say there was a caveat… and that is that whilst this is a good example, it’s not perfect. Not every board has a description, for example. Also, vertical images work best on Pinterest and all of these are landscape. The descriptions need some work too.

A case in point about how your number of followers has no impact at all… National Trust has 102k followers and 77k monthly views. I have around 710 follows and 61k monthly views. Why? Because all my pins are vertical, SEO-friendly and are Rich Pins (more on that in the Top Tips below).

British Heart Foundation

The British Heart Foundation has a number of boards that link directly back to their website or gift shop, therefore driving traffic. I particularly like the Heart Healthy Recipes board because it’s the perfect board for this platform as there are 1.7 billion recipe pins on Pinterest – meaning recipes are hugely popular. It also has a very SEO-friendly title and this board adds value by giving people something tangible (recipes) to help fight heart disease.

What could be improved? Each recipe pin should have an SEO-friendly description, such as ‘heart-healthy mackerel, packed with Omega 3, and low sodium mustard sauce’. Also, if they switch to a Business account, they can have Rich Pins, which would help drive even more traffic and also give detailed analytics. I couldn’t find any charities using Rich Pins so below is an example from my own blog.

I found a few charities who have (neglected) boards for their online shop. Having an Online Shop board is the perfect use of Pinterest – if you get it right! 87% of Pinners say they purchased a product because of Pinterest so perhaps it’s time to revive those old boards and put some love into Pinterest?

If you want to create or improve your Pinterest profile, follow our top tips.

Pinterest top tips

  • Sign up to a Pinterest Business account (it’s free).
  • If you’re already on Pinterest, do an audit of your current boards and pins – delete any old ones or ones with broken links.
  • Use Canva to create vertical pins.
  • Use Rich Pins.
  • Always add an SEO-friendly description to your profile, your boards and your pins.
  • Use hashtags to be discovered but not too many so they look like spam.

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