Cause Marketing: Using Pinterest to Tell the Story

Pinterest has been seeing a lot of buzz lately. Traffic has grown very quickly, hitting 11 million visits in the week ending December 17, and catching the attention of brands such as Etsy, Lands End and Real Simple and others.  The service is a virtual pinboard:  users can create boards around different themes or topics and then pin images to those boards.  Other users can follow boards,  comment on pinned images or re-pin them to their own boards.  It’s highly addictive, fun and visually engaging.

Pinterest and Cause Marketing: The Anyone Can Get Lung Cancer board brings the story to life

Essentially, Pinterest is about visual content curation.  It’s the perfect place to tell an engaging story and get people involved in that story.  Which is why it’s a great platform for cause marketers.

Omaha-based PR & Social Media Strategist Jennifer Strauss Windrum has been using Pinterest to engage followers for the cause she founded,  WTF (Where’s the Funding) for Lung Cancer?, which is dedicated to raising awareness around lung cancer.  Jennifer has created a number of boards related to her cause, and she told me today that she’s been astounded by the level of interest and engagement she’s seen from other users.  Check out her boards here:  Faces of Lung Cancer (493 followers), WTF Lung Cancer Merchandise (486 followers), SMAC! Sock Monkeys Against Cancer (504 followers).  Jennifer personally has 366 followers on Pinterest, so her boards are being discovered and shared by a community that’s broader than that to which she’s personally connected, and she’s amazed at the comments and repins that her boards have generated.

Based on her experience with Pinterest, there are a number of ways that cause marketers can use Pinterest:

  1. Aggregate content and tools that empower your supporters to spread the word.  Jennifer shares resources with WTF? supporters through her blog and on Facebook — but Pinterest gives her the opportunity to collect all of those resources in one central location where supporters can easily find and re-share them.
  2. Keep the story alive.  As you add new pins to a board, those visuals appear in your followers’ streams, generating likes, comments and re-pins, and keeping followers engaged.
  3. Connect with people around their passion and build the community.  People find your content because it’s re-shared by their friends, or by searching on Pinterest around keywords or browsing content channels.  Visual images have a deep ability to inspire action and engage.
  4. Using Pinterest for product development and collaborationCollaboration and  product development.  Jennifer is working on launching a line of Sock Monkeys to raise money for lung cancer research.  She created her SMAC! Sock Monkeys Against Cancer board to share ideas and efficiently collaborate on a prototype with her seamstress; that board has now become one of her most popular boards.  Another board, Packaging Ideas, has generated helpful tips from other users.

Other cause marketers are catching on.  Cause Marketing for Dummies author Joe Waters has started a board collecting samples of different cause marketing campaigns, and Beth Kanter has curated a board of non-profit infographics.  Expect to see non-profits and associations of all types start to experiment with Pinterest generate passion for their causes.

Pinterest works for cause marketing because “cause marketing is all about stories,” Jennifer said.  “And if your story isn’t visual, you need to find a way to make it visual–and easy for people to share.”

  • jenniferwindrum

    It was wonderful talking with you today. As you can tell, I could talk about Pinterest all day!!! Thanks again tonia_ries

    • @jenniferwindrum thank *you*, Jennifer!

  • wtflungcancer

    @tonia_ries Thank YOU for the opp to chat about #Pinterest & #causemarketing. Uber appreciated! Obviously, I could talk about BOTH all day!

  • joewaters

    Nice post, Tonia. Really intersting. I have a contest on Pinterest – Cause I Love Contest – that wraps up tomorrow.

    • @joewaters great post, Joe, and I love your Causes I Love contest!

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  • AnneWeiskopf

    @tonia_ries I mean, it’s a great post either way. But, I ran out of characters!

    • tonia_ries

      @AnneWeiskopf thanks! :-)

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  • RebeccaPermack

    @604homesguy I’m already sad that marketers are catching on. Sigh, it’s just a matter of time before Realtors are ‘pinning’ listings. :(

    • kristiemarsden

      @RebeccaPermack @pinterest Noooo! It was the one place online to get crafty ideas and daydream! No bad listings during my downtime!

      • RebeccaPermack

        @kristiemarsden Exactly!!

    • tonia_ries

      @RebeccaPermack careful! don’t give the realtors any ideas!! :-)

      • RebeccaPermack

        @tonia_ries ugghh I know! When @604homesguy posted that link, my first instinct was to SHUSH him!! It’s our crafty foodie secret!!!

        • tonia_ries

          @RebeccaPermack @604homesguy not so secret any more – lots of people jumping in. :-)

        • RebeccaPermack

          @tonia_ries it’s true. I just hope that it doesn’t get turned into yet another sales tool like every other SM platform. @604homesguy

        • tonia_ries

          @RebeccaPermack @604homesguy if brands use it to sell, noone will follow or engage w that kind of content. we’ll see…

        • 604homesguy

          @tonia_ries @RebeccaPermack I am sure there will be those that use it to sell, but likely they will only b followed by others doing the same

        • RebeccaPermack

          @604homesguy unless it ends up like facebook, which used to be for friends…now it’s all business. #thetakeoverisalreadyhappening

        • sdd

          @604homesguy @tonia_ries @RebeccaPermack Then realize they are all trying to sell the same thing. #nobodywins

        • 7FmOrvin9121PYF

          @sdd Darn 18 people unfollowed me! View exactly who unfollowed you

  • meganstrand

    @matthixson Thank you!!

  • jenniferwindrum

    @allenmireles @ToniaRies Awww…..thanks a million Allen. Love that Pinterest thingy! #RLTM

  • johnbaloney

    @nwjerseyliz Are you a big pinterest user Liz? Do you like it?

    • nwjerseyliz

      @johnbaloney I joined a while back but I’ve only visited it occasionally. It seems like it would be a time-consuming site.

  • FrogSolution

    @newcommglobal Thank you for sharing this article with us :). It is great to see how businesses are already using #Pinterest!

  • cvegas21

    @Powerplayit @TheNecessiTeas we’ll be superstars cuz of Pinterest. Just found out they have videos too….eeeeee!!!

  • wtflungcancer

    @lisat2 Thanks a million, Lisa for the mention. Have an awesome day.

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