11.72 million! That’s how many unique U.S. visitors Pinterest experienced in January of this year. What’s more important, those users averaged nearly 98 minutes of time spent engaging with the website. As Mashable points out, that’s about the same amount of time as users spend with blog hosting platform Tumblr. Oh, and now Pinterest also generates more referral traffic than Twitter. Over the past few months, I’ve seen many college and universities begin to take advantage of the opportunity on Pinterest. Evidenced by some of the examples compiled below, institutions are quickly feeling their way through the site and identifying the most effective ways to use it for them.
Aaron Jaco, Digital Media Specialist at Drake University, states many reasons your institution should consider Pinterest, and in a follow-up post, shares several best practices for using the service. After you’ve looked through the examples below, I definitely recommend reading these posts if you have yet to do so.
Let’s get on to the examples!
There’s no better place to start than the account Aaron oversees at Drake University. With 14 Boards, 391 Pins, and 26 Likes at the time of this writing, Drake’s Pinterest presence is one of the most highly maintained and engaging I’ve seen.
The Boards are fun, creative, and clever, with names like, “Rad room decor,” “Adorbs bulldogs,” and “Ran out of Bulldog Bucks?”. If you’re up for shortening adorable to “adorbs” in a Board name, you’re definitely keeping things loose! I love it. On Pinterest, showing off some personality adds the always craved ‘human element’ to your content that helps your audience relate. Remember, you aren’t out to be a marketing voice here – you’re a participant.
There’s an excellent variety of content, too, which includes products, animals, photography, food, clothes, quotes, and sports, to name a few. Pinterest is a network that provides an opportunity to connect via a huge variety of interests (which really equals people), so the broader the content appeal the better. Most impressively, Drake understands how to involve its community. The “Drake Alumni: Pin Your Pride!” Board encourages alumni to contribute and offers clear instructions on how users can pin to the Board. And numbers don’t lie, as it has a whopping 1,802 followers! Overall, Drake University’s Pinterest account is a fantastic example to be inspired by if you’re looking to get your institution’s Pinterest presence off the ground.
With 228 followers, there are plenty of eyeballs on what Duke University is pinning. With 14 Boards, 139 Pins, and 29 Likes, the numbers suggest they’re doing a very respectable job. With Boards such as “Duke Faces,” “Duke’s Lemurs,” and “Sportsmanship,” Duke is creating an environment that represents themselves well, while still pinning interesting content. What’s this mean? Everyone wins.
Concordia College in Minnesota has amassed 79 followers and has created 16 Boards. My favorite of those are probably the “Why Liberal Arts Matter,” and “Concordia: Who We Are” Boards. The former Board offers an opportunity to pin a unique and very wide variety of content, which is an advantage since you can appeal to many different kinds of users. The latter is a fantastic way to show off what the brand stands for in an open, sometimes interpretive way. What’s pinned to the “Who We Are” Board can encompass many, many different aspects of Concordia College.
With 543 followers, Miami University is the most followed institution I found on Pinterest (if you have seen a larger following, let me know!). I wonder how they’ve been promoting it?
Currently, Emory University has chosen a different approach, and I’d say it’s a misstep. While they have 101 followers and 208 Pins, they only have 2 Boards – and 0 Likes. They have a primary, generic Board called “Emory University Pinboard” and another Board that simply contains other institutions on Pinterest, which multiple institutions are contributors of.
“School spirit” couldn’t come to mind any quicker than when I saw Texas A&M’s Pinterest account. Every Board, while unique in its own right, certainly looks the part! This is what the higher education community has come to expect from Texas A&M when it comes to social media.
Oberlin has created a significant amount of Boards: 21. And they’re very actively pinning to those Boards, with 505 Pins. Is this too many boards? I think it’s a fair question but I also think it’s too early in Pinterest’s existence to really tell. I definitely recommend checking this one out!
Leave it to the college of art and design to get fancy! (see above) Like Oberlin, SCAD has a large amount of Boards: 19. Topics range from fashion, to student work, to Kickstarter projects, to “Flat out interesting” – which has almost double the amount of followers as the main SCAD account. And these folks know how to pin, with 699! I wonder what their 700th pin will be?
22 Boards, 372 Pins, and 13 Likes. Seeing a trend? Certainly looks like at least a few institutions are comfortable creating many Boards. Marquette’s standout Boards include “Dear Marquette,” “100 things to do before graduation,” and “Marquette Weddings.”
“Creative Thought Matters,” is the perfect example of an open-minded Board where a variety of content can be pinned, while everything being in sync with what the College stands for.
Orange, orange, and more orange! In addition to the unique Boards, like “Citrus Dishes,” “Orange is the new pink,” and “Stress Relief,” what I like about Syracuse’s account is they invite people to send board and pin suggestions to @SyracuseU in their bio.
Like every institution’s Pinterest account, Nazareth College’s is still growing. At this time it only has 12 followers, but I’m not sure that’s the result of a lack of content. They are pinning a decent amount (144) and have a very fun selection of Boards.
How About a Directory?
I’ve tried to quickly put together an alphabetized list of colleges and universities on Pinterest. While most of the institutions below have been active on Pinterest, please note that some have not. Feel free to click through on the college or university you’re interested in! If I left your college or university out of this list, be sure to add it in a comment below.