Pinterest drives 33% more traffic to websites than Facebook, yet it’s often overlooked by churches. People turn to it for inspiration and a respite from the bad news or trolling of other social media. What better place for the church to be?!
Pinterest is visual storytelling. Images are shared to an online board accompanied with titles, remarks (or descriptions) and links leading to related articles, lists or other media. (More than 50% of Pinterest users since 2018 are male, breaking the women-only myth. It’s not just for recipes, hairstyles and home decor anymore.)
To use Pinterest effectively, build a library of images. Add photographs or memes from the United Methodist media library or The United Methodist Church’s Instagram to highlight your church’s connection to the global church.
Here are some ideas of photos to take around your church (whenever, include people in action in the photos of rooms):
|Exterior of building, grounds and playground||People in classes|
|Nursery||People using fellowship hall|
|Close-ups of features such as stained glass windows, pews or flower arrangements||Sanctuary|
|Scripture quotes||Audio booth|
|Close-ups of musical instruments or mics||Posed and casual pictures of staff|
|Holiday decorations||Worship services|
Recruit members to take or share their digital photos from services or other special church events. Create a Dropbox account where the pictures can be uploaded.
All submitted photos must credit the photographer and identify people seen in the pictures. Especially when using photos of children and youth, you may want to use group rather than individual names (example: The third-grade class rather than names of children.) To avoid unwanted fame, secure permission slips from everyone. If you don’t have full permission, it’s better to delete the photo.
Promote other social media accounts associated with your church in your Pinterest profile: church website, Facebook account, Twitter account, pastor’s blog, etc.
Create your account
Once you have built a photo library, it’s time to create a free Business Account.
While there are opportunities for paid advertising on Pinterest, the free options are robust. To use Pinterest for your church, the profile should include all of the church information, including the specific name and logo or brand that you want to appear on all your pins.
Connect with friends of your church Facebook page (or other social media). Make sure to publicize that your church is on Pinterest and ask members to connect. Once you have your account set up, it’s time to start pinning.
Mastering Pinterest is relatively easy once you get the hang of it.
Upload a picture, draft a title, brief description and add a destination link. Remember, the link is critical because this is how Pinterest users find out more about your church or service.
There isn’t a formula for how often you should pin, but typically more is better. Some experts recommend between five to 10 times a day. If you’ve already done the hard work of building a photo library (with appropriate permissions), this may be an area where a trusted, social media-savvy volunteer can help.
Use Pinterest to promote activities (services, VBS, women’s gatherings, special holiday presentations, etc.), highlight community involvement, encourage volunteerism and even recommend books and other resources for spiritual growth and development.
There are many ways to use Pinterest to connect with your congregation, your community or beyond. Here are a few specific ideas to get you started:
- Introduce your church. Use a picture of the building. Link to your website where visitors can find out more about you. (Remember, people check out your church online before ever visiting.)
- Introduce your staff. Highlight one person at a time. Again, link to your church website or Facebook page for more information.
- Invite people to your services. Pin a picture of your sanctuary or one of your worship services. Link to a listing of service times.
- Introduce or promote a new song for the choir or worship. Pin a picture of musical instruments or your worship band. Link to a Youtube video or Spotify list featuring the new song(s).
- Promote a new sermon series. Pin a picture related to the series (for example, a sling for David and Goliath or a cross for Easter). Link to your pastor’s blog, sermon notes or service information.
- Share inspirational quotes or scriptures. Pin a meme (created with a free online meme maker). Link it to an article that gives more detail or link back to your website. If using a quote from your pastor, link it to the digital file of the sermon.
- Share craft ideas for children’s classes. Pin a picture of a special craft your children created. Link it to your website where you can post a free downloadable template or directions.
Of course, Pinterest is also a way for your church to gain new ideas and information. The United Methodist Church can be found on Pinterest, as can many individual UM churches. Don’t forget to repin ideas, resources and information that your staff, teachers and congregation might also enjoy.
With approximately 320 million users every month, Pinterest has the potential to be the most far-reaching marketing tool your church employs. And because it’s free, it’s even better than a billboard!
Tricia K. Brown is a writer, editor, keynote speaker and Bible teacher. In addition to being a wife and mother of four sons, she is the sole proprietor of The Girls Get Together, where she and her team provide women's event programs for churches and other organizations.