Social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter have become a primary source of marketing for many museums and businesses. But few have started using Pinterest, one of the fastest growing social media sites on the internet.
Pinterest is a “virtual pin board.” Think of it as the digital version of flipping through a magazine, tearing out a recipe, and putting it up on your fridge. It’s the same idea, but you organize virtual “clippings.”
You can name your boards anything you want, such as “Museum Artifacts” or “Smith Gallery” or “Special Events.” Users “pin” images to these themed boards, just as you would organize a corkboard.
There are three ways to pin images to your boards:
1. By using the Pin Bookmarklet, users can pin any image from any website onto their boards in Pinterest. It is easy to install and is part of setting up your account with Pinterest.
2. You can upload photos from your computer by clicking on the “Add +” button. To drive traffic to your website, click “Edit” on the image you have uploaded and enter your website where it says “Link.” Otherwise it will say “Uploaded by user.”
3. You can “repin” content from other pinners. If you’re using it professionally, be sure to click on the image first to be sure that it doesn’t drive you to a questionable website. (Remember, if you can use the “Edit” button to change the source of the photo, so can anyone else!)
Use your current social media outlets to tell people to follow you on Pinterest. The more your images are repined, the more exposure you will get!
Be sure to use your name and location in each caption you pin. Of course, another pinner can change your caption when they repin your image. But at least when it goes out into the Pinterest world from you, it will be correctly identified.
You can use Pinterest to highlight the following at your museum:
* New donations to your collection
* Exhibit openings
* Museum events (be sure to put a year on anything you date so people will know when it’s over)
* Images from your archives (people LOVE old photos!)
* Your “signature” artifacts, galleries, features
* Items in your Museum Shoppe
* Behind-the-Scenes tours (storage areas, staff and volunteers working on projects, etc)
* Attractions close to you (Pinterest is used for travel and vacation planning, so show them that your area is worth more than just a day trip!)
You have to associate your Pinterest account with either Facebook or Twitter. There is no way to separate your personal Facebook account from any other pages for which you are an Admin. It is easier to set up a Twitter account for Pinterest instead.
If you are concerned about people “stealing” your images, you might want to consider placing a watermark on them before you pin them. Check this blog post for an easy tutorial on how to add a watermark: http://blog.ipiccy.com/2011/06/how-to-watermark-photos/
Follow other museums to see what they’re doing and get some ideas. There is no end to the possibilities with Pinterest! Get started today.
Special thanks to Barb and Megan Wise of Best Bib and Tucker in Hartville, Ohio for their very informative Pinterest workshop!