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Pinterest 101 Courtesy of the University of Virginia

As at many other things, the University of Virginia is pretty good at Pinterest. Thomas Jefferson’s university boasts 15 Pinterest boards that range from the practical (What’s New At UVA) to the creative (Wahoo Crafts & Decor)

Anyone looking to use Pinterest for business can learn a lot from UVa’s Pinterest page. In the spirit of Mr. Jefferson’s love of lifelong learning, we are pleased to present a few key Pinterest tips.

For more great Pinterest case studies, check out our Pinterest for Business guide!

Pinterest for Business 101: The University of Virginia

Lesson #1: Know Your Audience

UVA does a great job of anticipating what its audience will want to look at and delivering those images in abundance.

One of its most popular boards, “Around Grounds,” showcases beautiful photographs of the UVA campus. Given its over 1,000 followers, this board obviously touches a nerve within UVA students and alumni

Pinterest 101 Courtesy of the University of Virginia image uva2

Another board good-naturedly embraces UVa’s prepster reputation. From JCrew scarves to orange and blue Sperry boat shoes, the Wahoo Stylin‘ board is any preppy Wahoo’s dream.

Pinterest 101 Courtesy of the University of Virginia image uva3

The main take-away from this lesson? Pinterest is all about its users, so make sure you deliver what your users will want to see

Lesson #2: Embrace Whimsy

Pinterest is not an overly serious social media site- it loves the fun, the humorous, and the unusual. Any business looking to do well on Pinterest should not be afraid to think outside the box.

Our favorite “out of the box” board on UVa’s page is “Thomas Jefferson’s Interior Design,” showcasing various artifacts and images from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Incidentally, our favorite among these pins is the Monticello Dollhouse. (Yep, it exists).

Another favorite pin has to be a student-made video entitled “Gettin Drunk Off Books”, a rap celebration of UVA’s libraries.

Pinterest 101 Courtesy of the University of Virginia image uva5Scholarship at it’s finest, for sure.

These intriguing and light-hearted pins keep UVa’s board from feeling too serious, and keep visitors coming back for fun, interesting, and relevant content.

Lesson #3: Captions

Too many businesses Pinners neglect the potential that picture captions offer. UVA does a good job of developing some of its photo captions, packing information and personality into a quick sentence or two.

On Pinterest, users can search for pins by various keywords. So, if you have those keywords in your caption, your pin will automatically move to the top of the pile. It’s a lot like a simplfied version of SEO keywords- you want your captions to link you with viewers seeking your type of business.

The pin to the right is a great example of a strong caption using Pinterest for business.

The caption is brief, but it is informative and it gives users an option for further engagement- downloading U.Va. magazine on their iPad. It gives a glimpse of what readers can expect from the issue and essentially acts as a subtle call to action.

The is certainly some room for improvement within UVa’s captions. Some of them are a bit too generic, simply saying things like “Wahoowa!”. Captioning a photo of the football stadium with “wahoowa” does little to make that image more interesting or searchable. Captioning it with “Wahoowa! Football seasons starts in 4 weeks, get your tickets now to support the Virginia Cavaliers” opens up many search possibilites and provides a helpful call-to-action.

Your Pinterest For Business Homework: Take a look at your business Pinterest page. Are you catering to what your audience might want? Are you sharing creative, interesting, or humorous pins? Are you captioning your photos effectively? If not, it might be time to hit the books and make a few changes. And make sure to check out these other case studies in our Pinterest for Business Guide.

Class adjourned!

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  1. susan says:

    Pinterest is great! Especially for fashion. Our shoes look great with other companies items. Looking at a story board makes everyone look better together. Thanks to UVa one of our licensed schools for supporting us! Having fun pinning at so many schools. Orange and Blue is certainly one of our favorites Wahoo Stylin!

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