Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pinterest: 6 Potential Uses for Association Management Professionals

Artwork from @JohnHaydon
Ok, I have to admit that I’m not a user of Pinterest. It’s hard enough for me to keep up with Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter not to mention 4Square, SlideShare and YouTube. (See my previous post on being Content Fried!)

But, a USA Today story called “Pinterest gives Businesses a Boost with Brand Awareness” grabbed my attention.

And, as always, I try to look at such business stories from the viewpoint of an association management professional and our organizations.

Here are key elements from the story:
  • Clothing retailers, wedding planners and graphic designers are among the swelling business crowd joining the popular social-media site, which lets users "pin" images of items that interest them to their profiles.
  • Pinterest's millions of users create digital scrapbooks that display images under themes such as favorite foods, wanted wedding gifts and coveted handbags. Some users simply catalog items they like, others use it to organize ideas for projects, such as redecorating a bedroom or creating a wedding reception menu.
  • As the site has grown in popularity, so has interest from firms that see it as a chance to boost brand awareness.
  • "Businesses are definitely taking notice," says Andrew Lipsman, analyst at research firm ComScore.
  • Pinterest's large user base -- and ease of use -- is appealing to mom-and-pop retailers and corporate giants alike, he says. It had 11.7 million unique visitors in January vs. 1 million in July.
  • The start-up's users, who are mostly female, are also highly engaged, Lipsman says. In January the average visitor spent 98 minutes on the site, up from 38 minutes in July.
  • Erik Oberholtzer co-owner of California restaurant chain Tender Greens says that Pinterest isn't just for reaching out to potential patrons. He also uses it to gather inspiration on what meals to serve, how to display food and what art would look good in restaurants.
  • "It's not only about what we are sharing," he says. "It gives us access to find people and organizations that can turn us on to ideas that otherwise we might not have considered."
Pinterest is still in invite-only mode. Many of your friends may already be using Pinterest and have invites to hand out. Just ask.

So, how might an association use Pinterest in building its audience (prospects) and connecting with its members? Here are six possibilities:
  1. Members post photos pinned to key industry/profession topics ... the association starts the categories.
  2. Invite members/attendees to post photos from the convention/conference.
  3. Invite members to showcase their use of best practices of your industry/profession.
  4. Showcase images (with links) of new products or services from your organization.
  5. Create a Pinterest board of member business cards.
  6. Hold a video contest and invite members to post/pin videos of their best practices or their best moments as a member of your organization.
If your organization already has a Pinterest account, please post your experience/uses (in the comments) so we can share your inspiration.

How would you use Pinterest for your association? What types of images would you post to your board? How are you pinteresting?

Here are some suggestions from Deidre Reid.  Pinterest for Associations: New Audience, New Addiction

PS.  Want more ideas on Pinterest?   Check out these 12 ideas from Noland Hoshino via John Haydon.  


  1. When I wrote that post about Pinterest, the only associations I could find on there were the Texas Apartment Association ( and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (, but a search now brings up many more. It's catching on!

    I see many people using Pinterest who aren't that active on other social media platforms, so that could be a plus for associations. But success may also depend on how visually appealing your content is.

  2. Thanks for the update Deirdre! And, thanks for letting me link to your original post about Pinterest and Associations.