This blog originally apeared in Mashable.
Lets face it; it’s hard to look away from Pinterest. The hottest new social media site has become a go-to source for the latest shopping tips, design advice and funny dog pictures. Who wouldn’t want to sit there all day and stare?
As Pinterest fans are discovering through the growing legion of companies that are marketing and selling products via the site, Pinterest also has great commerce potential. Nordstrom, Real Simple, Fresh Direct and even Major League Baseball, for example, have all developed active pages that encourage user interactivity.
But to take full advantage of Pinterest’s possibilities, businesses should also be thinking about the site as a way to highlight their philanthropic endeavors and promote corporate volunteerism. In so doing, companies can increase employee participation in volunteer and giving programs and earn the goodwill of other Pinterest users and potential customers.
How does Pinterest work as a tool for employee volunteer promotion?
Unlike Twitter and Facebook, images are key to Pinterest. This means that in order to successfully promote and encourage volunteering efforts, photos must be at the forefront of the initiative. Pinterest-interested businesses should thus encourage employees to take photos while they volunteer; use pictures in company handbooks to explain the company’s volunteering opportunities; and keep extra snapshots available so there is content in reserve to regularly update the Pinterest page.
Need more reasons to start “pinning” your corporate social responsibility initiatives? Here are four other ways that Pinterest can promote corporate volunteerism:
Employees often just need a trigger to pick up a cause, and sometimes this motivation comes from seeing others engaged in positive work. That’s why showing good work in action – or the results of that good work – can easily inspire others to do likewise. And don’t forget the potential of food for thought pieces; just posting motivational quotes can encourage employees to start volunteering.
Pinterest offers a compelling way to support those who are already volunteering. Say that one of your employees wants to raise funds for a particular nonprofit; why not post information about their mission on the company Pinterest page? Sharing these sorts of visual updates could encourage company-wide support while inspiring others to start their own fundraisers. Combine that with a company match of some sort and you’ve got a great way to help your employee reach his or her goal as fast as possible.
Gamification is a hot buzzword these days, and when this sort of competition is applied to corporate volunteer programs it can generate significant employee engagement. Through the use of solutions like Causecast’s Employee Impact Platform, companies can develop entire volunteer campaigns around a competitive goal, like prizes for those who raise the most funds. In this case, participants can use Pinterest as another tool to post updates about their progress and efforts. For instance, seeing Dan next to a photo of 100 canned foods may motivate Sue to bring in 110 the next day. With a prize that encourages participation, seeing the frontrunner in photos can go a long way towards firing up the competitive juices of other employees.
With visuals featured so prominently, Pinterest can also be used as a way to interact with employees around volunteering. A picture speaks a thousand words, so posting a photo of an animal shelter set to close down and asking how co-workers can help could lead to active brainstorming. Once ideas get rolling, who knows what’s possible? A charity drive may come together, or a Saturday for employee volunteering may form. But planting the seed can offer tremendous results, with little cost.
Besides the obvious goodwill generated, the final outcome of all of these ideas can be to create fantastic content for your company’s Pinterest page. And if Pinterest is used as a vehicle to promote your overall corporate volunteering efforts, these compelling photos and interactions can bode well for your company’s employee engagement levels.
So the next time you plan a company volunteer outing, just remember to “Pin it.”
What are some ways you think organizations can use Pinterest to promote their good work? Let us know what you think – comment below….