If you think Pinterest–the social media offering that brings the web to life via virtual corkboards customized with “pins” (graphics, illustrations, and images pulled straight from the web)–is just another way to waste minutes in a day, you are partially correct.
Like Twitter, Pinterest allows users to follow others as well as follow specific boards of interest. And like Facebook, a simple click is all it takes to like a pin.
But unlike any social media thus far, Pinterest capitalizes most on the way a majority of people learn or take in new information: visual.
Research for my master’s degree in education revealed that upward of 65 percent of people are visual learners, and this is where Pinterest is different. Instead of reading what people like, or being forced to have 140-character conversations, Pinterest is instant.
Maybe the wedding dress and shabby chic furniture makeovers aren’t your style, but once you find a few interesting boards and engaging pinners to follow, ideas for your own boards will come fast and furious.
But don’t let the fun of pinning remain sequestered to your personal life; use Pinterest as a camp social media tool.
Here are seven ways to get started:
1. Donations Board–Whether it’s a list of games, in-kind requests, arts and crafts supplies, or general wants and needs, a board for requesting camp donations gives browsers immediate ideas on how they can help. Be sure to include contact information in your profile, and as donations are provided, either remove the pins or thank the donor directly on the pin.
2. Blog Posts Board–If you maintain a camp blog, toot your own horn by pinning your posts to a board created specifically for collecting your blog posts. You could supplement this and add to the social aspect by pinning posts from other industry or similar-subject blogs to your board. Even better, include a relevant graphic or infograph on the topic you’re blogging about. Infographs–the marriage of factual statistics and graphics–are one of the most re-pinned items on all of Pinterest.
3. Staff Resource Board–Is there a particular leadership or inspirational book you’d like your staff to read? Maybe you’ve found an article or two you’d like to share with them. With a board solely dedicated to your staff, you can eliminate the need to send out emails and links. Simply make them aware of the board and keep it timely with relevant updates.
4. Camp Grounds/Project Management Board–Making changes to the camp grounds through new projects is exciting. Share photos and brief updates to keep campers, parents, and staff informed of what’s happening on camp grounds while they’re away.
5. Program Highlights Board–Does your camp offer unique programming choices? Do you cater to a special camper? Surf the web or cull through digital camp photos for images that illustrate your offerings so that those not familiar with your camp and your program offerings can get a quick idea of what makes your camp unique. Use the board as a cheap form of PR and share photos of campers and staff participating in those activities and enjoying camp.
6. Product Information Board–If you have a camp store and sell T-shirts and other camp items online, Pinterest can drive buyers in your direction. Every pin links back to the original source, so if one camper pins a camp shirt to their board, every subsequent pin links back to the item. If you’re affiliated with a non-profit or service organization and offer printed materials, this works the same way.
7. Social Interaction Board–Lest we forget, Pinterest is a social media tool. Despite the massive amount of fun we can have pinning and re-pinning, it brings together like-minded people who might not have the chance to meet face-to-face. To this board, pin other folks in roles similar to yours, industry leaders, and professionals who share your interests. It’s a good policy to keep personal and professional business separate, so create a second personal account (it’s free!) for all of your non-camp-related pins.
Beth Morrow is an author, educator and Senior Week program director for the Central Ohio Diabetes Association’s Camp Hamwi. She has recently discovered Pinterest (find her as buckeyebethm) and enjoys collecting project and programming ideas on her Camp! board for this summer’s session. Reach her at email@example.com.