Pinterest: Images Rule for Higher Ed. Believe the Hype.
I’ve written before on the blog about how we’re shifting our social media strategy toward a much more audio/visual method of storytelling, and I’ve already seen the results in the numbers on Facebook.
There’s also currently the Instagrammer Contest that we’re running. I’ve gotten quite a few submissions, which is really neat. We’ll still be accepting submissions (in the form of a Followgram.me, Tumblr or Flickr URL) through June 1, so get ‘em in!
But here’s the meat of this post: Pinterest. I’ve been on Pinterest for a while, but up until a few months ago, I was doing what pretty much everyone was doing on Pinterest: Dreaming about decorating/design/gardens/weddings/parties/wardrobes.
Then one day my personal inbox started blowing up with people following me on Pinterest. It was very confusing. Why on earth would anyone want to know what shoes I’m wearing for my wedding? And then came the articles: SHOULD YOUR BRAND BE ON PINTEREST? IS PINTEREST A FAD? IF YOU DON’T USE PINTEREST ARE YOU THE WORST SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER EVER?
So I put the U-M on Pinterest. (our username is universityofmichigan)
I started actually putting some work into it a week or so ago, and my umich inbox exploded with messages (see below — people following, repinning — it’s insane). I’ve hardly even started pinning and already we have hundreds of followers; each of our boards has at least 100 followers, some have 200 or more.
So what’s the deal?
It’s like they built Pinterest just for Higher Ed (and maybe Anthropologie).
Where else can you bring all of the divergent stakeholders in your university easily onto one platform, tell their stories and link back out to their individual sites? Where else can newly-admitted students go to see what their life will look like and share it with their friends and family? Where else can alumni go to remember what it felt like to be on campus, to reminisce about their time lounging on the grass or cramming for finals?
The best part is: It’s free and no one has to build it for you! No red tape, no budgets, nothing. Just time. And while that’s a valuable commodity, it’s worth it.
I’ve also started adding social media or marketing managers from various departments and units to help manage their own boards. It takes pressure off of me to do all of the work, and allows them to tell their own stories — a win-win.
There is, of course, a downside. The search really stinks. You can’t find us by searching University of Michigan. You have to type in universityofmichigan. And that may be a tagging issue that I have to figure out.
But even with the lousy search, and even if Pinterest is just a fad, it’s a fad that’ll get your message out there in exactly the way you want it. That’s a marketer’s dream. And if you add in the free part and the easy to organize part it’s a higher ed marketer’s dream come true.