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Aussie Not for Profits’ Lack of ‘Pinterest’


17 May 2012 at 10:46 am
Staff Reporter
As charities in the US and UK take on the new kid on the social media block, Pinterest, only a handful of Australian Not for Profits are jumping on the bandwagon.


Staff Reporter | 17 May 2012 at 10:46 am


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Aussie Not for Profits’ Lack of ‘Pinterest’
17 May 2012 at 10:46 am

As charities in the US and UK take on the new kid on the social media block, Pinterest, only a handful of Australian Not for Profits are jumping on the bandwagon.

Jackie Hanafie looks at at how Pinterest fits into the Australian charity social media scene.


Despite reports of soaring traffic, only a handful of Aussie charities are on pin-board photo sharing website, Pinterest.

In January 2012, global internet marketing research company, comScore, reported the pin-board style photo sharing website had 11.7 million unique US visitors, making it the fastest site ever to break through the 10 million unique visitor mark.

According to AppAppeal.com, 1.8 per cent of Pinterest users come from Australia compared with 45.3 per cent in the US. 

But while business is booming for people wanting to share recipes and ‘nice things for the home’ on Pinterest, it’s left the Not for Profit sector in Australia wondering where it fits in.

World Vision Australia’s social media manager Joy Toose said that while it’s relatively easy for charities to identify where they fit in established platforms like Facebook and Twitter, as new platforms emerge it's challenging to determine whether to invest the resources to try and make it work.

Toose said that while the charity doesn’t have a Pinterest presence at the moment, it is something they will be looking into over the next few months.

One of Australia’s largest advocacy organisations, Amnesty International, established itself on Pinterest a few months ago.

Amnesty’s online editor Tom Ganderton says that the recent reports showing soaring traffic to Pinterest encouraged the organisation to forge a presence.

“Some might consider Pinterest a strange choice for Not for Profits because it’s more about products. But from past experience we’ve found that it’s valuable to forge a presence in new territory rather than wait for it to get big and then jump on the bandwagon,“ he said.

Ganderton says that Amnesty’s Pinterest page is still in its early stages and that their team is initially using it to explore and see where they have traction.

He says that the content getting traction at the moment is the beautifully designed content or content that has an interesting point to make.

“Infographics also do really well,” Ganderton said. “And because they can be quite long, Pinterest is good because there’s no limit to how long posts can be on the page.”

“It also has a strong mobile platform – the mobile apps are well designed. For Amnesty, mobile engagement is growing rapidly, we’re getting more and more visitors via mobile so Pinterest in that sense will work very well.

“I think Pinterest will be useful in new and interesting ways, particularly the collaboration aspect of pin boards and what that could look like between contributors.

“Eventually collaborating on shared boards, building campaigns etc which is part of what Amnesty is all about,” Ganderton said.

SocialMediaNews.com.au’s April 2012 statistics revealed that the number of Pinterest users in Australia is 470,000 compared with 10,988,140 Facebook users, and 1,800,000 Twitter users. However it overtook MySpace, which currently has 460,000 users.

US social media trainer and founder of technology blog for Not for Profits, Nonprofit Tech 2.0, Heather Mansfield said: “When Mashable first started buzzing about Pinterest in December 2011, I took a quick look at the site and thought to myself, “Shopping, crafters, and foodies. Not relevant to the vast majority of nonprofits and (whew!) not another site I need to pay attention to.”

Now she says, she is “completely addicted” to pinning boards for social good on Pinterest.

But Australian digital expert and consultant to the Not for Profit sector Prarthana Bhatia cautioned against jumping on the Pinterest bandwagon without a good social media strategy.

“It is easy for charities to hastily jump onto the Pinterest bandwagon just to ensure a presence across every ‘good’ social network,” Bhatia said.

“The reality is that even though Pinterest does offer a great opportunity for charities to offer a window into their field work to the donor or prospective donor, an organisation needs to think through what the purpose of Pinterest is.

“That is, where does it sit in the online communication cycle? How will its content strategy be differentiated from other social channels such as Twitter? How will they manage Pinterest? And so forth.

“If this doesn’t happen, then it’s simply another charity sticking the same sad images on yet another social media network… and no one is going to listen or care.”

For Tom Ganderton though, he says that while it can be overwhelming because there’s so many social media platforms available in the long run it’s valuable to establish social networks.

“Pinterest is all about showing what our story is rather than telling, and that’s what’s new and different about Pinterest as opposed to other social media channels like Facebook and Twitter,” he said.  



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