Insta-what? Pin it where? Why should arts and cultural organizations use Instagram and Pintrest? | npENGAGE

Insta-what? Pin it where? Why should arts and cultural organizations use Instagram and Pinterest?

By on Feb 19, 2014


I was having a conversation the other day about the ways in which Pinterest and Instagram can be used at nonprofit organizations. I realized many museums, zoos, and theatres still aren’t thinking about the tools as a means to expand their reach. Admittedly, when these social networks first launched, I thought these tools would never really catch on. Then, I started hearing more about them and seeing their purpose in action. They provide a way to share, instantly and on a large scale, insight into what is going on at your organization. Additionally, they provide a way to offer engagement to your constituents on a platform where they feel comfortable consuming it.

So how can you get the most out of these tools?

Here are three ways (with examples) you can use Instagram and Pinterest at your organization:

1. Picture of the Day

Arts and cultural organizations have an advantage over other nonprofit organizations: they have things to take pictures of. People come to visit your museum, aquarium, or theater to see things. Why not give them a sneak peak online or remind them what they are missing out on by not visiting regularly?

Check out this Instagram from the San Diego Zoo. It’s a cute picture of jaguar cubs. This picture got over 10,000 likes and lots of comments. Not only that, when someone sees this picture they will share it with their friends. This message can spread throughout the internet all because someone took the time to take a picture and post it.

San Diego Zoo Instagram

2. Campaign Updates

They say a picture is worth 1000 words, which is awesome considering very few people would ever sit down to read 1000 words in our “instant gratification” society. Use these tools to share your campaign status. If it’s a building project, show pictures of the construction. If it’s to bring in a new animal at the zoo, put pictures of the animal and say how close it is to arriving.

Check out Everyman Theatre’s “Moving to Fayette Street” campaign on Pinterest. They are in the process of building a new facility and are posting updates throughout the process to Pinterest. They have links to news articles, pictures of packing, and links to their donation page. They used Pinterest very well to compile all the news about their organization and share it with their constituents.

Pinterest Campaign

3. Behind the Scenes

Your constituents love to be “in the know.” They have a passion for your organization and like to keep up with the latest and greatest information. Historically, nonprofits have provided this information through newsletters either in direct mail or email. However, postage costs are increasing and email open rates are decreasing, so sharing this type of information via social media can sometimes provide the best response.

For example, the Brooklyn Museum showed this update of a new gallery coming in 2015. Simply posting this picture go 369 likes. That 369 people thinking about the Brooklyn Museum as they go about their day. If this was something that Brooklyn Museum was raising money for, they could have easily included a short link in their post for people to donate or learn more about the new exhibit.

Note: I also think this could be great for performing arts organizations. You could provide dress rehearsal and back stage pictures to get people excited about the show.

Brooklyn Museum's 2015 updated gallery

As with anything related to social media, it’s worth noting that you need to be consistent over time. You’re not going to have 10,000 followers the day you set up your Instagram or Pinterest account, it will take time and consistency. Make sure to plan how frequently you are going to use the tool to make sure you post something at least a few times a week.

Are you using Instagram or Pinterest at your arts and cultural organization? Are your constituents engaging with you on these social media platforms? I would love to hear your feedback below or you can reach out to me on Twitter @wryan_ki.


Ryan King is the Senior Channel Marketing Manager for Arts and Cultural Organizations. Ryan has over 5 years experience working with nonprofits to increase their revenues via fundraising, ticketing, and online marketing. Follow Ryan on Twitter for tips on fundraising and marketing: @wryan_ki


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