Pinterest used for marketing

The Students’ Union has started using Pinterest for marketing. (Photo by Kate Turner)

The Students’ Union has started using Pinterest for marketing. (Photo by Kate Turner)

This year, as part of their communications strategy, the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union has added Pinterest to the list of online platforms being used to reach out to students. According to Ryan Sweeney, marketing and content coordinator at the union, over the past ten years, the marketing team has been integrating most social media platforms into their strategy.

In terms of content marketing, the Students’ Union also makes use of their website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Tumblr.

“With marketing, consistency is key with putting out content and being able to use all of your resources to effectively communicate one message,” said Annie Constantinescu, president and CEO of the Students’ Union. “Our entire content for Facebook, any social media platforms and also the website are very integrated with one another.”

She explained that each day has its own topic, where content is created to go up on all platforms.

“They are also trying to get more personal with the type of content they put up,” she continued.

On Mondays, for example, members of the union are introduced to students through a blog post in an attempt, as Constantinescu described, to make the union more relatable to students.

Now, The Students’ Union and Clubs and Associations – which is run through the union – have their own boards on Pinterest.

“There’s different ways to attract students to interest them and then have them take action,” said Constantinescu. “Pinterest is really good at doing that initial interest and capturing people’s initial attention.”

She explained that the reason for this is that Pinterest is more image-based rather than containing a lot of content.

“Students can easily click on it if there’s even a little bit of interest without the expectation of them having to engage with a lot of content afterwards,” she continued. “It’s kind of a doorway into hopefully them taking the initiative to find out more about it.”

However, Hayleigh Shwertfeger, a third-year communications student, feels that Facebook and Twitter are better ways to reach out to students than Pinterest.

“I think most people use it for fashion or recipes or do-it-yourself projects,” said Shwertfeger. “So I think it’s kind of weird, personally, to re-pin something about the school. I understand they want different platforms to advertise, but I don’t think Pinterest is probably the most useful one to get their message across.”

In her own use, she said she most often comes across information from the Students’ Union on Facebook.

Though the union has increased their use of free social media sites such as Pinterest, they have also been investing funds into their website.

In August 2011, the new Students’ Union website was launched, which cost $40,000. This included a new social network for exclusive Laurier student use. Many aspects of this are similar to social networks such as Facebook as it gives students the ability to create a profile, upload photos and join groups and discussions.

This year, the volunteer hiring and application system, which was previously a separate system, was integrated into the main Students; Union website. Recently, their service provider could no longer support the site and ended the contract, and so rather than build a new system, they incorporated it into the existing website.

“More or less we tried to make it a more unified and collaborative resource,” explained Constantinescu.

With all of these changes to the website, however, she noted that her goal for this year is to use as many platforms as possible to engage students.

“It won’t ever be done,” Constantinescu said. “It’s something we’ll have to keep on working with because student needs tend to change quickly and something else is always coming out.”

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