Pinterest As A Campaign Tool?

You can’t go anywhere online without hearing about Pinterest. On buzz alone, the new hit on the block is red hot. It hit over 10 million visitors faster than any other social network or website) before it. Yours truly is around as well. And some users are finding that referral traffic to blogs and websites is significant.

I won’t go into exactly what Pinterest is. Instead, the uninitiated can check out this handy guide. But in the world of online advocacy, you almost have an obligation to examine any kind of social network with this much activity. How can it be used in a political context?

Before we get into that, it is important to recognize the parameters of Pinterest. Like any other social media channel, Pinterest has its own characteristics. Before engaging within that community, it is vital to recognize these basic realities:

1. The vast majority of Pinterest users (some say as high as 95%) are female;
2. Pinterest is an inherently visual medium. Photos and images rule;
3. Sharing is the primary method of communicating, not broadcasting;

In some cases, those factors alone may decrease or eliminate the inherent usefulness Pinterest has within your organization’s social media activity. But sometimes, it is a case of finding creative ways to reach out to Pinterest users.

To get your thoughts moving, here are a few concepts that I came up with on how to use your Pinterest account within your campaign:

Creating an account or boards for conference/event attendees to share videos, pictures, presentations and other content;

Promote relevant videos from your YouTube or other video channels;

Use boards to tell a story about the history of the issue at hand and why it is important;

Create a more rounded portrait of your candidate by showcasing their likes, interests and personal side;

Showcase items for your latest fundraiser or swag collection (you can even set prices for sale);

Link strong images for your platform/policy/announcement to your Pinterest account, with links back to relevant content;

Create multiple campaigns divided into boards that supporters and others can contribute to;

Use Pinterest for community outreach, asking your audience to “pin” ideas, concepts or suggestions to your board(s);

Curate your candidate’s TV appearances, photos, ad copy and news clips;

And those are just a few. As Pintrest matures, the audience expands, developers begin to create tools to manage your account and other good ideas/hacks begin to emerge, Pinterest could be a useful tool for your campaign arsenal. It is especially useful for non-profit associations, issue campaigns, events and any kind of initiative that particularly promotes visual content.

But the full utility of Pinterest in a political context should not be discounted. After all, when Twitter first came on the scene, it was widely dismissed by many in the political community. Now, it is an essential part of virtually every connected campaign.

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