Does Pinterest work for government outreach?

By The Mandarin

June 17, 2016

There isn’t the swell of examples where Pinterest is used to further government policy, not compared with social media communities like YouTube, Facebook or Twitter. So how do marketers in government know if it’s worth the efforting building a presence in the Pinterest community?

In the last six months of 2014, Pinterest increased its membership by 57%, while Facebook and Twitter only grew by 6% and 18%, respectively.

More than 60% of millennial mums use Pinterest, making it a platform perfect for agencies looking to communicate topics related to children and women’s health. And perhaps contrary to popular belief, it goes beyond a female audience.

Last summer, Kids.Gov — the United States’ web portal for younger Americans — revamped its presence on Pinterest in an attempt to find new ways to connect with its followers. Here’s what they found: is the front door for government information to teachers, parents and kids alike. We launched a Pinterest account for in 2013, but because of limited resources, we weren’t able to be as active and engaged on the platform as we would have liked to be. We know the target audience (parents and teachers) is very active on Pinterest, so about a month ago, we decided to take another look at our strategy. And now, we’re engaging on this platform in a more structured and strategic way.

We’ve focused our Pinterest account on sharing some of the best resources from across government on education, health and activities for children. We’re focusing on sharing a mix of original content, while re-pinning great content from other agencies.

The marketing team set out to learn more about our audiences and the kind of content they like. Despite being a difficult platform to navigate, we set lofty goals for ourselves and developed a timely strategy to pin every day.


A year in …

Twelve months later, our metrics are up and we correctly calculated that a shift to educational content would be key. However, Pinterest is still a challenge to predict. Unlike Twitter and Facebook, it’s difficult to identify trends. Despite all that, we have seen substantial growth in followers and content consumption, even taking into account our ambitious goals.

  • Average Daily Impressions on Profile

    • May 2015: 281
    • Goal: 500
    • May 2016: 1,864
    • Increase: 563%
  • Average Daily Views on Profile

    • May 2015: 157
    • Goal: 300
    • May 2016: 1,084
    • Increase: 590%
  • Average Monthly Views

    • May 2015: 36,000
    • Goal: 50,000
    • May 2016: 56,357
    • Increase: 56%
  • Followers

    • May 2015: 1,578
    • Goal: 2,500
    • May 2016: 2,240
    • Increase: 42%

Lessons learned

Perhaps the biggest lesson came from one of our early predictions. Like with other social media accounts, summer is the low season. Fewer teachers look for educational resources when there’s no school. By adapting our content by season, we were able to provide timely information to our followers. During summer break when kids were off from school, we focused on parents and caretakers. Once the fall arrived, we switched back to educational content for schools and teachers. This strategy was key to our success. Here are a few other things we picked up along the way:

  • Unlike other platforms all the action takes place at night, peaking around 9 PM.
  • Our primary audience (teachers) takes the summer off.
  • Infographics are more popular than on other platforms.
  • Vertical images perform much better than horizontal ones.
  • Health, history, and money related topics perform the best.
  • Posts have a longer lifespan compared to Twitter and Facebook.

Our hope moving forward is to learn more about the Pinterest audience and begin to predict certain topics and when they will be popular. Pinterest is still a challenge to our marketing team, but one we gladly approach and look forward to understanding.

Edgardo Morales and Phat Nguyen are members of the USAGov marketing team.

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