Pinterest has a reputation as a platform women use to plan their next home renovation and learn to make mason jar salads. But hang in here with us for a minute or two as we make an argument for why your school should add Pinterest to your social media platforms.
If you’re unfamiliar with Pinterest, it’s a “visual discovery engine” where users find inspiration on topics from DIY projects to event planning and, yes, even recipes. In 2021, one of the most popular categories for Pinterest searches was education, with subcategory searches including subjects, education level, applied science, teacher resources, etc.
Let’s look at a few facts that should appeal to schools from Influencer Marketing’s “31 Mind-Blowing Pinterest Stats for 2022.”
- Pinterest has 444 million users.
- Pinterest is the fourth most popular social media site in the US, outranking LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter, and TikTok.
- Women are more likely to use Pinterest, and eight of ten moms use Pinterest.
Schools should definitely pay attention to that last point because women are more likely to be invested and actively engaged in their child’s education. The study indicates that one reason for the high number of women users is that the platform encourages users to form an emotional bond with Pinterest. Sounds a little weird, right? But a 2020 study of social media platforms looked at intimacy rankings, and Pinterest claimed second place. That means your school has an opportunity to connect emotionally with key stakeholders using Pinterest. So doesn’t it make sense for your school to have a presence there?
Best Practices for Pinterest
If your school is new to the world of Pinterest, here are five best practices you should be sure to follow:
Link to your Pinterest page from your website’s homepage with a graphic icon.
This will let people know they can find you on Pinterest and help drive traffic to your Pinterest page. For example, Region 9 Education Cooperative has all its social buttons listed prominently on its website’s homepage.
Link to your school’s website from your Pinterest page.
This “backlinking” to and from both pages helps your website with search engine optimization (SEO) and also makes it easy for people to find your school’s website, where they can find out more about who you are.
Fill out the profile section.
Make sure you highlight the most important features of your school in your school’s profile. This profile is visible to everyone who visits your Pinterest page.
Be sure to include where you are located, what type of school you are, and what grades you serve. Leaving this area blank or with a generic line like, “We are a public school,” leaves people with more questions than answers. Gadsden Independent School District is a good example.
Brand your Pinterest profile image.
Your Pinterest profile picture should be your school or district logo or mascot. The image you use should be the same or similar to what users will find on your website or other social pages. Willcox Unified Schools does an excellent job with this. Branding your school helps people to know they are in the right place.
Follow other schools and local businesses.
This not only lets you see what type of content others are pinning, but repinning content from other schools and local businesses will encourage them to repin your content. This is helpful if you are trying to spread the word about your school’s latest fundraiser, car wash, or canned food drive.
But it’s not just a great platform to reach parents; it’s also a great way to market your school. By following these five best Pinterest practices, your school is also engaging in good marketing.
Having a Pinterest presence helps more people find your school. By creating backlinks and optimizing your profile, you’re increasing your reach. And branding and networking are essential to good school marketing!
How to Create School-Centered Pinterest Content
Next, let’s take that marketing to the next level by following these five ways to create exceptional school Pinterest content:
- Create pinboards that highlight your school. Some examples are: Who We Are, Meet Our Teachers, Our School Facilities, School Events, In The Classroom, etc. Then pin pictures of these items onto each board so people new to your school (or potential students) can get a feel for the environment and what you offer.
Also, consider including a board for newsletters and messages—you can pin this type of content simply by creating a PDF image of your newsletters and uploading the content to Pinterest.
- Create pinboards that are beneficial for families. Including pinboards, like Healthy Lunch Options, Homework Help, Local Attractions, Learning with Technology, and Keep Your Kids Organized, can all provide beneficial information to parents that help strengthen the home-school connection.
Parents will love that they can get the information on your Pinterest page versus spending time finding pins on their own. Check out Region 9 Education Cooperative’s Pinterest account for some great examples.
- Change up the boards periodically with seasonal boards. The way to increase engagement on your Pinterest page is to keep it fresh with content. Stagnant boards are like stagnant bodies of water: they never attract people, only flies.
For each season, think about what types of information would be helpful for families and children. In winter, create boards about snow activities, DIY holiday projects and crafts, or indoor games and activities.
For summer, boards that highlight ways kids can keep skills sharp, fun outdoor games and activities, and recipes and meals to grill are all great ways to keep families visiting your Pinterest page.
- Change out the cover image on your boards periodically. This makes the board feel “new” and will encourage people to click through to it and see your pins.
- Increase engagement with games and contests. One way to get parents and students to visit your Pinterest page frequently is occasionally making a game out of it.
For example, hide a picture of your school mascot on one of your Pinterest boards, and the first 100 people to find it get entered into a drawing for a prize.
To start the school year off right, post a list of scavenger hunt items on your school’s website, and have them find those images (or answers to questions) on your school’s Pinterest board. Then offer a coupon of some sort (a great way to support local businesses) for people who submit their completed scavenger hunt form.
It’s a fact: people want to consume visual content. And if a picture is worth a thousand words, Pinterest allows you to have millions at your disposal—all without writing much of anything.
By harnessing the power of visual content on Pinterest, you can strengthen your school’s brand, provide helpful information to parents, encourage parent and community engagement, and help drive traffic back to your school website. All for free.
Katie Brooks, School Webmaster’s Social Media Director