Even though Pinterest is often used as a tool for collecting and organizing things you love, Azusa Pacific utilizes the online site to connect with both current and incoming students.
Ever since the launch of Pinterest in 2010, its popularity has exploded. According to the Internet marketing company Brandignity, Pinterest is one of the fastest-growing websites to date, with approximately 200,000 downloads per day of its iPhone app and more than 4 million daily visitors.
According to Brandignity, the average person spends about 14 minutes a day on the site.
University Relations social media specialist Allison Oster and her colleagues created APU’s official Pinterest account in February 2012. Oster is the primary manager of the board and tries to post things on it a few times a week.
She said their goal with Pinterest and other social media outlets is not marketing but engagement.
“Pinterest offers one more way we can connect with our audience to keep them in touch with [APU],” she said.
The primary audiences for many of the Azusa Pacific social media accounts are prospective students, parents and alumni, according to Oster.
“These audiences engage with us frequently and use these tools as a way to learn more about the university or stay connected with APU,” Oster said.
Oster said Azusa Pacific personnel follow and engage with boards from other colleges
and universities to share information that may be helpful to students.
Oster frequently posts verses, inspirational quotes and photos of campus along with images that link to stories or helpful articles.
“We also have a ‘For the Future Cougars’ board where we share college tips for prospective students and their families,” Oster said.
Other posts include athletic photos that link to articles about recent games and competitions, as well as alumni stories.
Oster said she would love to hear comments and suggestions from current students who are following the APU Pinterest board about how to better connect to the community.
Senior music business major Audra McLean found out about Pinterest through a friend’s
Facebook post and has had an account for about two years. McLean said she initially looked it up, thought it was brilliant and said, “I need to get one of these.”
McLean said she mainly uses it for dessert recipes and inspiration on new outfits.
“It’s a way for people to get ideas on how to do things,” McLean said. “It’s mindless and you don’t have to do much; you just look and gain ideas.”
She said that Pinterest is a lot like StumbleUpon except easier to use because you look at
many things at once. Users pin what they are most interested in and then others can see what they like, which McLean said “says a lot” about a particular user.
McLean was previously unaware that APU consistently pins things on Pinterest but said it
is a good marketing tool for the school.
Alumna Lindsay Parkes is the creative media specialist for the University Bookstore and posts items on the bookstore’s Pinterest several times a week, depending on the
time of year.
“We post what other people are posting, so it’s a way of keeping updated with what other
students are interested in,” Parkes said.
The bookstore has boards for inspirational Bible verses, new fall apparel, football
gear, dorm decoration ideas, promotions and more.
Of course, the bookstore also has boards that align with what Pinterest is famous for: recipes and outfits. The “Whats cookin’?” board has college-friendly recipes like microwave macaroni and cheese in a mug, while the “Cougar fashion” board gives students ideas on how to wear their team gear.
“We try to keep
in tune with what the students are posting as well and try to piggyback off of that,” Parkes said. “We have our followers so we can see what they post, and we follow other bookstores too and see what they’re doing.”
According to Parkes, the main purpose of the bookstore’s Pinterest is to stay connected
with the students.
“We are always trying to see what they’re interested in so we know what we can bring into the store,” Parkes said. “We like to see what they would enjoy and like, and just staying connected to the students is really important to us.”