Why Pinterest?

I love being the campus Pinterest queen; I’m just saying that the crown is heavier than you think. No one ever believes it, but it’s not all spirit manicures and tailgate recipes. There are some definite downsides:

  1. No one remembers any other aspect of your job. Now you are only the Pinterest Queen. Forever.
  2. And no one takes Pinterest seriously.

So why would a university dedicate energy to Pinterest?

1. Influential audience

Year after year, the Pew Research Center reports that Pinterest users are among the nation’s most affluent females.[1] In its 2013 Internet Project tracking survey, Pew found that one-third of women use Pinterest. Of those users nearly half (48%) reported annual incomes of over $50,000.

I’m probably letting my feminist leanings show, but women are an incredibly powerful demographic: they are more likely to attend and graduate from college and return to graduate school.[2] There is also some evidence that they make more than their share of purchasing decisions in the household.[3] AND we like things that are pretty! Pinterest is a unique opportunity to build on that audience.

2. The way people use Pinterest

Pinterest is a great way to reach our audience on a deep and authentic level. Pinners spend an average of 98 minutes a month curating boards that reflect their inner aspirations. Blogger Melissa Megginson best captured how pinners use Pinterest when she explained:

  • Twitter=What I’m doing
  • Facebook= Who I am
  • Pinterest=Who I want to be[4]

Pretty heavy for a social media platform about quinoa, huh?  By reaching audiences on Pinterest, our brand becomes part of the users’ aspirational self-image. Marketing doesn’t get better than that.

3. Pinterest lets us show, not tell

Sure, we could say we have top-rated programs, but it’s much more memorable to provide our audience with the tangible, practical information derived from our deep knowledge base.

What’s better is that Pinterest’s system of repining and pinning means that we can easily reach an audience that knows nothing about CSU, but really likes, for example, chicken coops. Those people probably don’t want their news feeds clogged up with the content from our spirit boards, but they can easily elect to follow our Extension Service board. We get to communicate our brand to someone who otherwise would’ve never listened. As a land-grant institution, it’s part of our stated mission to dedicate ourselves to teaching, research, services, and extension. And oddly enough, Pinterest allows us to cover all of those bases and directly contribute to our University’s mission.

It’s good to be the queen.

[1] http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/12/30/social-media-update-2013/

[2] http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cwg/data-on-women#Education

[3] http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748703521304576278964279316994

[4] http://blog.tailwindapp.com/time-on-social-media/