Pinterest for Churches (Part 2: Strategy)

Yesterday, we looked at the basics of how to use Pinterest. At the end of 2011, it sprung into the top ten social media sites based on usage and it seems poised to see continued growth this year. The format is simple. You share the things (pictures and videos) you think are cool by pinning them to a virtual bulletin board. And since organizations and businesses are a part of people’s lives, brands are already starting to embrace Pinterest.

OPEN Forum recently wrote about how companies are currently using Pinterest well. For example, Whole Foods uses Pinterest to show their interest in living a healthy lifestyle by pinning things including recycling, healthy eating, exercise, art projects and non-profit giving. Tech company and computer chip maker AMD pins all sorts of things for techies like cool gadgets, computer bags and workstations. As a last example, furniture maker West Elm uses Pinterest to share pictures of well designed rooms as inspiration for your own interior decorating. The content may not feature their stuff, but they fit the company’s vibe. So you see the point to these examples, right? Pushing products doesn’t work all that well on Pinterest, but sharing inspiration, culture and cool does.

By looking at some of those best practices, here are some tips I think could be helpful for churches who may want to use Pinterest.

It’s not just about what your church is doing. Like other social media, Pinterest isn’t a place to broadcast everything you’re doing and nothing else. You could, but I don’t think you’ll get the followers or interaction you’re looking for. There are plenty of other sources for getting feeds of information and it seems like folks on Pinterest aren’t using it in that way. Instead they looking for pictures and videos they think are cool. That said, this doesn’t mean you don’t share things that are going on in you church. You just have to be more creative and visual with what you choose to pin.

It is about sharing your church culture. Your voice on Pinterest comes from what you’re sharing. You can say a lot about who you are and what you stand for as a church based on the things you find to pin. Not all the content has to come from you as the source, but it should look and feel like the personality of your church.

Help with spiritual growth. Use a board to post resources that are interesting or useful for discipleship. Maybe it’s a study Bible, daily devotional website, inspirational quotes or whatever.

Create various boards for different interests in your church. Think of the various ministry groups in your church and create boards that are interesting to them. Women’s groups, youth ministry, worship team, etc. I think the more specialized you are with the boards, the better chance you have of connecting with people who have similar interests.

Be a community resource. Pinterest is about niche interests. Can you find cool or interesting stuff happening in your community that you could put on a board? What kind of things can you pin that you community would find interesting? This could be an easy way to share your vision and reach out to your community in a non-confrontational way.

Learn more about your members and create boards for them. Your people help form your culture. As they engage and follow you on Pinterest, check out their boards and pins, too. See what they’re finding. It will be helpful for you to know what your audience likes.

By no means is this a comprehensive list, but just some initial thoughts that came to mind. Are you using Pinterest in your church? If so, what are you doing? If not, how could you envision using it?

(If you missed the first post in the series, “Pinterest for Churches (Part 1: The Basics),” you can read it here.)

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