US colleges weigh value of Pinterest as marketing tool

April 25, 2012

US institutions are excited enough about the potential of Pinterest -- an image-based social network that is one of the fastest-growing sites ever -- to keep their brand on the minds of potential students and alumni that many have scrambled to set up a "presence" there, even as Pinterest's value as a marketing tool remains hazy. The site's essential focus on visual storytelling might give it a trump card over the largely text-focused Facebook and Twitter, says a digital media specialist at Iowa-based Drake University, which has a Pinterest page. The site's asset as a marketing tool -- the opportunity to casually stimulate an audience with visual ideas without connecting it to an explicit message -- may also be its greatest liability. From an ROI perspective, the need to be "human" (Pinterest has no user category for organizations or companies, just "people") can be stifling. The Drake marketer notes that metrics such as "likes" and "re-pins" are "kind of foggy" in terms of providing insight into whether a college's Pinterest page is worth the time and labour that goes into curating it. Inside Higher Ed | Pinterest