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« Doing it Different! | Main | A Letter to Credit Union Leaders (of all Ages) »
Tuesday
Feb142012

Pinterest and Credit Unions

By Theresa Witham

Suddenly, it seems, social bookmarking site Pinterest is everywhere. People are chatting about how companies can use the site. It even has a copycat competitor.

I signed up on the site about a year ago and I’ve been a fan since. I was attracted to the visual aspect of it. Pinterest is like an online bulletin board where you “pin” images. Most users have several boards by topic. For example, I have a “Yum” board for food to make, a “Create” board for crafts to try, gift boards for my husband and son, and so on.

While browsing the Internet, if I come across something I want to reference later, I add it to one of my Pinterest boards. While there are lots of bookmarking websites out there, Pinterest is strictly visual; you can only “pin” images. That really appeals to me. When I want to cook something new, I’d rather see a page of images than a page of text. The images then link back to the original webpage.

The social part comes by following other people’s boards and seeing what they “pin.” A quick peek at the site in the morning might give me five ideas for future dinner menus or present a truly excellent organizational or cleaning tip. The top categories of things I see on Pinterest are: food and recipes, travel destinations, clothing/makeup/shoes, crafts, home design and remodels, exercise and other general “better living” tips.

The site has been rapidly growing. Here are some demographics from the Ignite Social Media Blog:

  • The site has 4 million users.
  • 1.5 unique visitors daily spend 14 minutes on the site.
  • 30 percent of users are 25-34 years old.
  • 25 percent are 35-44.
  • 69 percent have an income between $25,000 and $75,000.
  • A huge majority (80 percent) of users are women.

So what does all of this mean to credit unions? Some companies, especially retailers, are able to leverage the popularity of the site. While credit unions are not selling watches and dresses, they do have content that could be shared on Pinterest.

Why couldn’t a credit union set up a home equity ideas board and pin images of great looking kitchens, or a lovely pool? You could also pin images of your marketing materials that would link back to your website. You could pin pictures of cars at the local dealer where you do indirect lending and promote an auto loan product.

A budgeting/money management board would be a great place to start. Do you have a newsletter with helpful articles? Pin it! If you are already linking to money management articles around the Web via your Twitter account, why not pin those articles on Pinterest, too? Since lots of people's pins tend to be of the fantasy or someday variety (someday, I’ll go to Maui; someday, I’ll buy these $500 shoes; someday, my kitchen will look like this), tips and tools (including the possibility of a small credit union loan) for actually getting to Maui would be awesome.

You could promote your Pinterest account in all the usual ways: in your newsletter, emails and, of course, on your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Pinterest is easily connected to Facebook and Twitter, making it very simple for credit unions who already use those sites.

What other ways can credit unions use Pinterest?

Theresa Witham is a CUES editor.

 

 

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Reader Comments (3)

Credit unions might consider pinning images that are specific to their unique history. E.g., The Air Force Federal Credit Union could post pictures of cool Air Force jets throughout history. The focus should definitely be on beautiful/interesting visuals.

Here's our set of boards that feature our unique cartoon characters (from Pulitzer nominated cartoonist Henry Payne) and visuals related to helping parents teach kids good money habits:
http://pinterest.com/famzoo/.

Oh, and here's our Valentine's Day pin: Pucker up!

Credit Unions with youth educational programs are welcome to borrow from our boards or our source images - most of which are on our flickr site at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/famzoo

February 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBill at FamZoo

I love this blog post! I blogged about Pinterest awhile back on our credit union blog, but didn't even think about using Pinterest for credit union marketing efforts. What a fantastic idea! We have a strong history with the Navy so we too have lots of memorabilia that we could share, not to mention financial tips and dreams. Here's where you can find my blog post that talks about how Pinterest can save you money: http://simplecentsblog.org/whats-pinterest.html

February 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJessica Jackson

Great post, Theresa. I’ve been wanting to create a Pinterest account for my credit union for a few months, and this article may just be the fuel I need to make my case in the marketing department.

I love what Fort Worth Community Credit Union has done across the social sphere with their virtual spokeswoman Gabby. (www.getyourworthon.com). This character allows them to have a lot of fun on Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/gabbyknows/) because, in addition to the boards that are relevant to financial/budgeting/saving, they also have fashion boards to express Gabby’s style, and holiday and craft ideas as well. Worth emulating!

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrooke B.

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