Pinterest Attracts New Audience

Last week Pinterest revealed it was offering secret boards. As the email said, “Secret boards give you a place for things you’re not quite ready to share yet, like a surprise party, special gift ideas, or even planning for a new baby.”

Pinterest boardPinterest is testing the feature. For many, though, Pinterest itself is a secret. Pinterest is a virtual pinboard to organize and share the things you love. At a recent meeting focused on Pinterest many in the audience were only vaguely familiar with the social media platform. Others weren’t sure how to fit it into their communication strategy.

One way to measure the success of Pinterest is by how much traffic it drives to an organization’s website. Wendy Scherer, who oversees social media efforts for Cabot Cheese, a cooperative of 1,200 family-owned farms in New England, said huge volumes of website traffic come from Pinterest.

For Cabot, “The boards aren’t just about us. We wanted to be inclusive,” Scherer said. “We talk about Vermont. We talk about farms. We talk about cows.”

That leads more people to find Cabot Cheese because they are coming to the site, not for the company, but because of things they are interested in. “They find us through our content, like a recipe, rather than our brand.”

For the National Wildlife Federation, Pinterest is ideal for fun and inspiring messages, said Danielle Brigida, digital marketing manager for the NWF. “We’re trying to be fun about it.”

Loren Pritchett, who is a colleague of mine at ChildFund International, also served on the panel. She talked about how Pinterest targets other audiences. “We see this as a place where we are reaching out to the next generation of ChildFund supporters.”

She added, “Many are sharing because of social interest.”

As with all social media, determining the platform’s return on investment is tricky. Most are measuring through repins and which boards are most active. Referring traffic also is studied.

“Everyone is trying to track,” said Danielle. “It’s crazy, though. Pin shares often go farther than a Facebook share.”

How Will You Spend Leap Day?

How often have you said, “I don’t have enough time”?

Today is your chance to fix that. It’s Leap Day, which  means you get an extra day this year. How will you spend it?

You could spend it learning about a leap year. During Leap Years, we add a Leap Day, an extra – or intercalary – day on Feb. 29. Leap Years are needed to keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolutions around the sun.

Okay, so now you know about Leap Year and you still have almost your full 24 hours left. How to spend the day…

Rejuvenate yourself: Finally, you have time for you. A spa day may be in order. Or perhaps lunch with a friend you seldom get to see.

Donate time to charity. You could work at a soup kitchen. Drop off supplies at a woman’s shelter. You could change the life of a child in a developing country by sponsoring a child.

Take a vacation. Visit an area attraction. If you read this early enough, board the next plane to Disney World. For the first time in its history, the theme park will be open to guests for 24 consecutive hours for what the company calls “One More Disney Day.” The park will be open for 24 hours so guests can can advantage of every extra minute.

Do something from your bucket list.

Sleep. Too many of us say we don’t get enough sleep, so why not spend the day catching up?

If you’re still short of ideas, you could –

  • Leap to conclusions
  • Take off by leaps and bounds
  • Play leap frog

Happy Leap Day!

Making Messages Memorable

My organization recently changed its name from Christian Children’s Fund to ChildFund International. Messaging was critical and continues to be so as we work to raise our visibility.

I was fortunate last week to attend a session on messaging presented by Paula Otto, a former broadcast journalist and now Executive Director of the Virginia Lottery.

In this day of Twitter (140 characters or less) how do you get your message out? Paula suggested breaking the message into 3 parts –

1)      What’s the one thing I want people to remember? (47 characters or less)

2)      If I were calling someone to tell them about this, what would I say? (66 characters or less)

3)      What’s my headline? (19 characters or less)

Even after completing 1, 2 and 3, you still come in at less than 140 characters.

Numbers 1 and 2 resonated with me because I’d always been told, “Pretend you have to tell your story to your mother (or best friend). What would you tell them?” The point is that what you begin with is most likely your key message.

Paula’s take on that idea was to review your notes or research and then cover the notes. Now begin writing and put in everything you remember. Again, those are your key messages.

In short, be short.

Snail Mail Delivers

I don’t like federal holidays. Don’t get me wrong — I want the day off. But I also want my mail.

Yes, I know what I just wrote. And I know that in the day of instantaneous mail via e-mail, that sounds strange. But ever since I was a little girl, the mail carrier delivered. It began with my copies of “Highlights” magazine and then “Ranger Rick.” I graduated to the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew mystery book club.

And, of course, there were the pen pals I had around the world. I wrote to a few in Africa for a summer or two. But Andrew, who lived in Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia, and I corresponded for more than 10 years. Ironically, we lost touch soon after we both got email. His letters opened a whole new world to me. And I had fun sharing my life and culture through newspaper I created for him and through letters.

In college, my mother and I began a correspondence that continues to this day. There is nothing I enjoy more than coming home to find a letter waiting from her. She shares the daily stories of what she and dad had for dinner, when they walked the dog and what score she got in Pinchocle. Mundane, perhaps, but it’s the stuff of life.

Many of my friends send short little notes. I guess we’re still a bit old-fashioned that way.

And now I write to my sponsored child in Brazil. It’s part of sponsorship through ChildFund International. I enjoy hearing how Fabia is growing and what she is doing. Our correspondence reminds me of my childhood pen pals.

So while I love the ease and speed of email, I truly enjoy the deliveries to my mailbox. For me, snail mail delivers.

To Join Or Not To Join

In the past year I’ve become quite active on Facebook and LinkedIn. I have a blog, but I still don’t tweet. I’ve been part of conversations with NPFW members — young and old — about whether they should join and whether it’s a time waster.

At the least, any one in the communiations field needs to be familiar with the platforms. The only way to truly understand them is to participate, even if it’s only for a short time.

At the NFPW conference in San Antonio, Texas, blogger Nettie Hartsock described LinkedIn “as your corporate boardroom” and Facebook “as your playground.” It’s the distinction I’ve chosen to make, too. So if we networked professionally, please join me on LinkedIn. If you and I meet for dinner or talk on the phone in the evenings, please friend me.

The problem, though, is when co-workers ask you to be their friend on Facebook. It seems almost rude or antisocial to say no. Instead, I send a message and ask them to connect with me on LinkedIn.

When that didn’t work so well, I simply created a second Facebook account — this one for co-workers. I don’t post often to that one, but it does come in handy because I and my co-workers are able to share photos and videos. I work for ChildFund International, and employees travel frequently worldwide and capture video and photos of the children we serve. Facebook provides us with an easy-to-use platform to share what we’ve captured.

And ultimately, that’s the reason to join. If the platform offers you a benefit then join. If it doesn’t and is only hindering or aggravating you, then it’s okay not to join. There is another platform just waiting around the corner, and it may be exactly what you were looking for.