Applying Youtility to Pinterest

April 16, 2015

A previous post by Stephanie Leishman and the overall discussion on Youtility inspired us at MIT Recreation to ask ourselves the question “How can our social media be more useful to our audience?” 

What better place to start answering this question than with Pinterest, a platform designed for exploration and unearthing of ideas. There, millions use the search function to look for useful information. In contrast, much useful information is discovered by timeliness and chance on channels like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. There, you wait for something to come down the stream; you are more likely to be entertained than informed. This is why creating original content to be sought after and re-pinned is your gateway to Youtility.

After establishing your brand, narrowing your audience and finding those who want your perspective or expertise, how can you be more useful through Pinterest?

MIT Recreation Pinterest board


Your audience wants something specific and it is your job to know what that is. With Pinterest, much like a Google search, it is easy for users to get to the content that relates directly to their current desires. Know what your audience is searching for and create your content accordingly. This is where industry trends become increasingly important. Keep an updated list of emerging trends and let that be your guide to Pinterest success.


Planning goes a lot further than just choosing the concept of your next pin. Pinterest users spend hours seeking useful information, “how-to” tips and unique inspiration. In the same capacity your competitors are investing time in creating great content. For your efforts to be successful, take the time to plan everything out from concept to competition. Develop a strategy for knowing the what, who, when and how of your original content. You already know why you are pinning to your audience, so tie everything to that idea and create consistent, gold-star pins.


It is no secret that a large part of Pinterest’s appeal for exploration is visual. The platform allows users to scroll through seemingly endless images that tell stories. Along with your concept and plan come the finer details of design. This could be a single image that represents and links through to more content. We’ve also tried animated GIFs like our pin on plank variations. We’ve also found success with infographics such as “Foam Rolling 101." Explore Pinterest yourself and make a list of options that are already successful as well as new ideas you’d like to execute.

Posted By
Esther Wallace

Esther Wallace

Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications
MIT Recreational Sports

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