Using Pinterest to Promote Your Meetup or online group

Pinterest Logo

Pinterest, the visual social bookmarking site, seems to be everywhere in the blogs and industry articles. TechCrunch just reported that Pinterest has become the fastest independent site in the U.S. to hit 10 million unique visitors in one month.

But I’ve seen plenty of comments from my friends on Facebook such as “I don’t understand Pinterest. What’s the big deal?” I have to admit, I was scratching my head for several weeks after joining the beta, thinking it just a pretty scrapbook for girls.

Until…my friend Hippie Dave posted a message on Nashville Hiking Meetup’s discussion board saying “I think you should make a ‘best of NHM’ photo album so that people can stop by the site and see the most beautiful photos from time to time.” His point was, he loves looking at our event photos but doesn’t want to sit through an album of 250 photos taken at just one event (We average 5 events per week. Do the math.).

It’s a great idea, though, since I’ve said for years that our event photos and videos have likely been the second best promoter of Nashville Hiking Meetup behind word of mouth.

Yes, this could be accomplished on the Meetup site itself. Create a new photo album, call it “Best Of,” scour the thousands of photos that members have uploaded over the years, copy the image URLs or download the image file, and re-upload the images to my Best Of. Then monitor the uploads on a regular basis and repeat the process for each future event.

There are many issues with this model:

  • Duplicate files on the meetup site. Server space is cheap but not free. Somebody’s paying for it even if it’s not me directly.
  • How would visitors actually find this photo album? There’s no way to feature a specific photo album on the main page.
  • If I want to “own” the Best Of album, how do I keep members from accidentally adding photos?
  • How does an “internal” photo album promote the meetup to the outside world?
  • We have a lot of great videos. How can we feature those, too?
  • Yet another thing for me to manage? How much time is this going to take per week?

Enter Pinterest

In a matter of seconds, I created a Hiking Tennessee pinboard, and began adding content to it.

Pinterest board that indirectly promotes Nashville Hiking Meetup

Seconds after that, a few of my followers on Pinterest had re-pinned, or essentially shared (or liked), images and videos from my new board. This could catch on.

One of the most valuable features of pinning content is that the pins point back to your original post or source page. So if someone wants to click through, they are taken to our meetup page or to our YouTube page or Flickr page; wherever the original media is posted. Marketers love this feature because it ideally leads the visitor to a conversion page: make a purchase, become a member, sign up for an email newsletter, “like” my Facebook page, etc.

Pinterest is also so stripped down of features that it’s easy to get started. I love the “Pin it” button that you can drag to your browser’s tool bar to pin anything while you’re browsing the web. (Note, I’ve had some compatibility issues between the “Pin it” button and Chrome. It won’t find compatible media on some pages so I just switch over to Firefox temporarily.)

Instant “Best of” album

I’ll be very interested to see, in Google Analytics, how many referral visitors Pinterest ends up sending to Nashville Hiking Meetup. Just a handful so far, but stay tuned.

Create your own greatest hits pinboard and post a link to it in the comments section.

See Kelly Stewart’s Google+ profile.

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John Ellis says:


Great article.

I need to get moving quicker on Pinterest.


Dante says:

I’ll definitely have to try this with our group. Looks like a great tool for promotion.

Kelly Stewart says:

You can set up a board so contributors can also pin, so all your membership could potentially share photos and videos to your greatest hits.

Dave Delaney says:

This is a great idea of promoting a meet up. I may need to borrow it for Nashcocktail and Geek Breakfast too. 😉