Thursday, February 14, 2013

Advice for Parents | Pinner Common Sense Media

About Common Sense Media
If you are working with connected students, then you need to know this nonprofit organization. Common Sense Media offers comprehensive, research-based digital citizenship curriculum and recently unveiled their professional development resources. There is much to explore on their website, but a good place to begin is the About Us page where you can find their 10 Beliefs. We can't help but applaud numbers one and three, "We believe in media sanity, not censorship" and "We believe in teaching our kids to be savvy, respectful and responsible media interpreters, creators and communicators. We can't cover their eyes but we can teach them to see." 

What prompted Common Sense Media to begin pinning?
We realized from the get-go that Pinterest wasn’t just another social media tool to update and manage.  It was a great opportunity for Common Sense Media to appeal to a demographic of primarily women who were flocking to the site for lifestyle inspiration.   We wanted to meet our constituents exactly where they are online, and offer up something slightly different than the recipes, home design ideas and craft inspiration they expected to find there.  We also saw Pinterest as a great opportunity to share funny sentiments, graphics and articles that might not necessarily have an appropriate place to live on our website.  It’s a great way to share the traffic “love” with organizations and individuals you collaborate with in your work.

Your organization's website is full of resources. How does the use of Pinterest engage your various audiences differently?
We are lucky to have an active audience of parents and educators, many of whom have become strong ambassadors of our work on their own social channels.  They pin our content more often than we do, because they are enthusiastic sharers by nature.  We make it as simple as possible for them by placing a share bar on every page of our site, which includes a “Pin this!” button.  We find that our educator audience not only pins our content most frequently, but that those pins drive clicks back to our site more than some of the parent content that is shared.  This is based on the visual nature of some of our educator content (i.e. infographics), but also the opportunity Pinterest allows educators to collaborate with others, curate curriculum ideas, and even find inspiration for classroom d├ęcor!
Do you find that your visitors have a "favorite" board?
Our “In the classroom” and “Summer Fun and Learning” boards have been the most popular to date, but we find that the more time we spend curating a board (and the more creative we get), the more popular the board is.  We just recently launched a “LOL” board to curate more of the fun stuff, so we’re confident people will appreciate that one too!

Can you share any advice for new Pinners?
Just start pinning! There is so much to learn as you go, but just have fun with it.  In addition, here are some tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way:
  • Add the Pinterest bookmarklet to your Internet browser toolbar as a constant reminder to pin the great stuff you come across online, including your own website’s content.  It makes it so easy to pin from anywhere on the Web!
  • Pin images that capture the essence of your school or organization from a variety of places, not just the content hosted on your website.  You’ll build a community of followers who share the same interests and turn to you for inspiration.
  • Pinterest can be a great tool for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  You can help drive traffic back to your website by using keywords to name your Pinterest boards, and giving descriptions to your boards and pins based on what a user might be searching for.
  •  Let analytics guide your strategy.  There are a couple of steps we take to do this:
o   Aside from keeping an eye on metrics from AddThis (our social sharing tool that gives users options for which social network they want to share content on), we pay attention to what people are pinning using by using this link:  You can use that same link (swapping out with your own website) to see what’s being pinned from your site!
o   Taking into account the popularity of Pinterest and the traffic it drives to our website, we are currently revising our photo strategy to create more engaging images to accompany the content we post.  These newer photos are going to be more expressive of what lives behind a photo when it is pinned to Pinterest.  For example, if an educator pins our Digital Literacy and Citizenship curriculum right now, the Common Sense Media logo is the image their followers will see by default.  That doesn’t tell the full story of what you’re about to click through to, and it’s an opportunity for us to invest some resources into making sure we’re capturing an audience’s attention when they’re browsing the dizzying number of boards that live on Pinterest!  

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