An Experian Hitwise report disclosed that Pinterest came third behind Facebook and Twitter in a study of web traffic to social media networks in the United States. Pinterest beat LinkedIn for third place having gained 104 million visits in March 2012, compared to Twitter’s 182 million and Facebook’s 7 billion visits for the same period. In addition, ComScore has listed Pinterest as its third top-gaining property.
Colleges and universities planning to expand their social media presence can join Pinterest because it offers a different platform for online interaction. They can use it as a virtual pinboard for their collections of images, videos, and other content revolving around travel, health as well as other topics.
The demographics of Pinterest’s user base are challenging for academic institutions. Oberlin College in Ohio has even considered the social network’s demographics as unsuitable for its marketing purposes. Females outnumber males on Pinterest, and nearly a third of Pinterest’s overall users are between 25 to 34 years old (traditionally alumni), about 17% of users have age 18 to 24 (the college group), and only 4% of users are 12 to 17 years old. Oberlin College might have a point in ruling out Pinterest as useful for promoting admissions.
Drake University uses Pinterest for connecting with current students, alumni, and prospective students. Drake has more than 1,500 followers and 500 pins on Pinterest making it one of the social network’s most active platform used by the academic users. It has created boards on cooking for college students, studying abroad, exploring its host city, etc., to foster interaction. Drake’s thrust in Pinterest is to familiarize people with the school and the community and to reflect consistently Drake’s brand and culture on Pinterest. Like Oberlin College, Drake is not using Pinterest for marketing.
Even students doubt Pinterest’s value as a platform for marketing their schools in social media, because its strength lies in allowing schools to collaborate with its followers into sharing its story through the voices and pins of its students, alumni, and other followers. However, it requires a lot of efforts to tell the school’s story in Pinterest. Pinning anything of interest will only bury the content that best reflects the school’s story told.
There is no one-stop shop for social media networking for individuals, businesses, and even schools. Pinterest is like one of those stores that sell things that other stores don’t.
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