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FYI Corner: Pinning it all on Pinterest

by Amy Baroch, Station Products & Innovation

Just when I thought that I couldn’t have room in my heart for another social network - I have fallen in love. And this love is different than anything I’ve ever felt. From the lovely bright logo and visually beautiful layout, to the ease and simplicity of sharing, to the way I can get lost and find myself coming up for air an hour later having discovered so many new things. So here I pin my heart on my sleeve and open my arms to Pinterest.

By now you’ve probably heard about this new social network taking the internet by storm. Currently an invite-only network, Pinterest has grown exponentially since it’s launch last year and just last week, CNN Money reported that “Pinterest is now driving more referral traffic on the web than Google+, YouTube, Reddit, and LinkedIn — combined.” That is pretty amazing!

What exactly is Pinterest? Most simplistically, Pinterest let’s users create virtual bulletin boards containing links, videos, and photos of anything they find interesting. And this means ANYTHING. From wedding plans, to super bowl party recipes, to horror movies, to home décor ideas, users pin and repin and share their interests online. It’s this kind of sharing that has quickly made a huge impact on social commerce.

Pinterest’s demographic skews mostly 18-44 year old females but with nearly 4 million users and it’s rapid growth, Pinterest is attracting users of all ages and gender across the internet. PBS TeacherLine, PBS NewsHour, Sesame Street, and PBS Parents all have active Pinterest accounts. --> PBS Food recently launched an account and already has nearly 250 followers across 7 boards! Since January, Pinterest is PBS Food's fifth highest source of referral traffic – only exceeded by StumbleUpon, Facebook, and their food bloggers personal websites. The traffic has been growing as well, which the team has not seen with the PBS Food Twitter or Tumblr accounts.

Says PBS Food Web Producer, Ashley Carufel, "Since Pinterest is largely a lifestyle social network, PBS Food is a natural fit. We discovered in our research that the reported gender, age, education and salary demographics of Pinterest users were rather close to our own demographics; therefore, we felt Pinterest was a great opportunity to reach an audience who would arguably be interested in our content. We want to identify websites/platforms where our users already are, engage them on those platforms, and draw them back to PBS.org."


Local station WNET/Thirteen in New York City has a Pinterest account for their Kids Club that hosts several boards reaching out to their community beyond what kids can watch on TV or do online. Boards like NYC Culture for Kids and Just for Moms are ways to engage their fans in new ways.

As with any social network, there are guidelines to follow so that users get the best out of the experience. Something we always talk about here at PBS is that stations and producers shouldn’t do something if they can’t do it well. Stations don’t need to be everywhere – so Pinterest may not be for you. However, if you do decided to give it a try, Pinterest’s “Pin Etiquette” is very helpful. Especially rule #3: Avoid Self Promotion. “Pinterst is designed to curate and share things you love. If there’s a photo or project you’re proud of, pin away! However, try not to use Pinterest purely as tool for self-promotion.” Use Twitter or Facebook for that. And by the way, you can link Pinterest to your Twitter and Facebook accounts.

To see what content from your own station web site people are pinning, you can go to pinterest.com/source/pbs.org (supplement in your own root url for pbs.org).

What do you think about Pinterest? Are you or your station using it? If so, let us know in comments below. Interested in starting a new account but need an invitation? We can help with that too – just contact us and we’ll set you up.

4 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Apparently GSD&M is using pinterest to showcase a SXSW 2012 survival guide

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  3. You can follow witf on Pinterest, out of Harrisburg, PA, here: http://pinterest.com/witf/.

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