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Pinterest for Politics: Not Just a Shiny New Toy

by Beth Becker @spedwybabs
This blog post is cross-posted at e.politics.

It’s all about the visual now: from Twitter’s embedding of photos and video to the new Facebook timelines for both profiles and pages, the online world is buzzing with the power of a photo.


If you’ve been paying any attention at all over the last few weeks, social media fans everywhere are raving about Pinterest, the newest platform that’s still in limited beta. But what is it? And, what are its implications for an organization in the political space? (The answer to the latter: endless.)

What is Pinterest? How does it work?

Pinterest is a platform that maximizes the potential of visual impact to move people to action. It’s organized by “boards” subdivided into “bulletin boards”. Each bulletin board is composed of pictures that a user can either “pin” from the web or upload from your desktop. Every picture can be commented on, and more importantly from a social perspective, re-pinned to other people’s bulletin boards. It also allows for shared curation, the ability to have multiple people pinning pictures to a particular board. Imagine the possibilities for engagement-building with your core supporters if you ask them to help them curate particular boards.

In just a few short months:

  • Pinterest is now generating as much web traffic referral as Twitter
  • Has over 10,000,000 (you read that right: TEN MILLION) users
  • 80% of the users are women, but I fully expect as Pinterest moves out of limited beta that the gender curve will even out a bit

Putting Pinterest to Work in Politics

So you work for an organization but aren’t quite sure what to do with Pinterest? Here are some general ideas, plus links to what other organizations are already doing:

1. Have multiple chapters across the country? Set up a master board for the organization and then bulletin boards (with the chapters sharing in the curation of their board) For an example, take a look at what Working America is doing.

2. Have multiple campaigns running? Set up a bulletin board for each individual campaign. (You can also have each campaign set up their own master board and then repin pictures to the master account to help drive traffic.) For example, check out New York Communities for Change.

3. Need to do some small-dollar (emphasis on small-dollar) fundraising? Why not run a Pinterest based online auction- or if you’re running an online auction of any kind, make sure to set up a bulletin board to post pictures of what’s being auctioned off. I’m doing this for a candidate fundraiser I’m co-hosting in a few weeks.

4. If you have an affiliate code for a particular site, make sure you use it!

5. Have an active you tube channel? Make sure you’ve dragged the bookmarklet to your browser toolbar and when on the youtube page for any video you can then pin a screen shot to your bulletin board like this NOI RootsCamp’s Shit Online Organizers Say

6. Set up an entire bulletin board to highlight television appearances the mention your organization, like the one by Rep. Raul Grijalva.

7. Does your organization do a big conference? The possibilities are endless- have a bulletin board dedicated to other people’s pictures, have conference speakers upload their powerpoint presentations to scribd or some other archive and then pin those to a dedicated bulletin board, ask speakers to turn the powerpoints to jpgs and pin the entire presentation to a dedicated bulletin board (like I did for a presentation I did at NOI Roots Camp on Social Media Trends.

I could go on for pages. but I hope you get the idea. As with any social media platform, experiment, have fun and don’t be afraid — the only failure in social media is not trying!

Topics: Marketing