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Using Pinterest as a tool for evangelism

Using Pinterest as a tool for evangelism

Now that your parish is on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Yelp, should you add Pinterest to your evangelism mix as well? Or have you already? Consider these tips for parishes from Kingswood Communications:

Pinterest is about promoting excellent information on the web. Therefore, most pins should not be self-promoting. Pins should be carefully chosen third-party pages geared for church leaders, congregants and community members. Though you can promote some of your own “best-of” events and happenings, these should not be the main focus. …

Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Pretend you’re the city’s curator of “cool” and create a “Your Town Guidebook” board that includes your favorite parks, restaurants and entertainment around your community. Provide short summaries of why each place is excellent. Link to this board on your visitor page on your website while repeating the mantra “Pinterest is welcoming.” The Gathering UMC in St. Louis has done this for “Our Neck of the Woods.”

2. Create a “Books for Spiritual Reading” board. This could be a “best-of” church library or bookstore. If you link to an Amazon associate account, the church could even make some money.

3. Collect a library of articles around the Internet that cover a local or national news issue.

4. Encourage the congregation to share your website’s wedding page on their “community board.”

5. Create a “Wedding Planning” board that highlights local resources, wedding planners, florists and so forth. Include excellent photos of weddings from your church as well.

6. Use “shared” boards to collect ideas for church events such as vacation Bible school and special dinners. These can come in handy when decorating or designing a space for that event.

7. Chronicle your church’s community missions happening around the area. This way, members can plug into and share these missions with their networks of friends.

8. Create resource areas for your programs, such as a youth ministry, missions or children’s ministry.

9. If you have a WordPress-based website, you can use the Pinterest RSS widget to plug your boards into your website to share this collection of selective content. This great visual on your website gives visitors not only an idea of what is happening at the church, but also a glimpse into some of the interests and passions that drive the congregation.

Kingswood’s post includes instructions for how a parish can get started on Pinterest and how to optimize its Web site to make the most of its Pinterest presence. If your church is ahead of the curve on this one, please share how Pinterest is working for you.

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Toepferblue

I’m just getting the hang of Pinterest for our organization, which is religious but not a church. (Our page, if you’re interested: http://pinterest.com/iconfirm/) Bearing that in mind, here are some things I’m discovering:

First of all, Pinterest is visually-based while at the same time linking to other sites. I generally focus on whether something will work visually before using Pinterest. If it’s a lengthy or text-based article, I am more likely to use Twitter or Facebook. You can turn text into images through sites like Quozio (http://www.quozio.com/), which quickly turns quotes (Bible verses, spiritual sayings, etc.) into pinnable resources. I’d be curious to hear what other people use to put words/texts on images. You can also use Picasa or another photo editor to add texts to images.

One thing this article doesn’t seem to mention is following others. If you follow members of your parish who are on Pinterest, you might find areas of expertise that can be useful — or simply build community by connecting with one another and supporting each other’s work. Or if your focus is evangelism, why not follow other pinners in your community, see what they are up to and if what they are pinning speaks to needs in the community?

I’m using Pinterest to simply explore what’s out there, what speaks to me and inspires me and that I think would inspire/interest/amuse others. “Re-pin from others, even if they do not re-pin you.” It seems like the golden rule of Social Media generally.

Laura Toepfer

AmberBelldene

These are great suggestions. I’ve been hearing similar tips about using Pinterest to promote one’s self as an author. Especially interesting given that Pinterest’s users are primarily women. 97% according to an article I saw back in February.

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