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Pinterest and Instagram – Why They’re the New Darlings of Social Media

Now that we’re a solid month into 2012, it’s time to move past all the “what’s hot in the new year” posts and start considering who the real trendsetters are. When it comes to social media networks, it appears the burgeoning sites Pinterest and Instagram are in the winner’s circle. Those sites have achieved social stardom for at least the following two reasons – simplicity and content. Specifically, visual content.

A few innovative, early-adopting nonprofits are already staking their claim on Instagram

Instagram: If you haven’t yet started an Instagram account (unfortunately, it’s currently only available to iPhone users) here’s what you’re missing – an easy-to-use mobile app built on sharing snapshots of life’s fleeting moments. You see something cool, take a picture of it, add a few tags to make it more searchable, and post. Be sure to “like” and comment on other users’ – or Instagrammers’ – photos to earn your way into a community and you’re on your way. As one blogger put it, Instagram is all the good aspects of social networking minus the “punditry” you’ll find in spaces like Twitter, Facebook or blogs.

Pinterest: “Bookmarking” websites are nothing new, but few bookmarking sites are as visual and engaging as Pinterest. Find something you like online, put a “pin” in it and add it to one of you “boards” on Pinterest. What you end up with are groups of images that link to websites you want to remember. Post as many “pins” to as many “boards” as you like. Connect with other Pinterest users to discover everything from recipes to home decorating ideas to fashion to pictures of puppies.

In both cases, these new and rapidly growing social sites (click here for some recent and stunning numbers on Pinterest) are reflecting a back-to-basics trend in new media. Users are saying “make it pretty and easy to use and we’re in.” While Facebook, YouTube and other leading sites continue to get crowded with noise in the form of constant political rants, games and applications from users you barely know, Pinterest and Instagram take users through a mostly upbeat and calming experience.

Mobile is the Key

With Instagram, “ease of use” means a social network that does everything in just a few easy steps via your mobile phone. As a result, Instagram is one of the few successful social networks that can only be accessed via your mobile device (only via Mac iOS devices, for now) and it works because it’s visually pleasing, simple and, above all else, fun. And enough can’t be said about the importance of “fun.” If you want your social media strategy to work, it has to have value or online surfers will move on to the next thing quicker than you can say “MySpace.” Instagram and Pinterest have figured this out in more ways than one.

For nonprofit organizations

So how do you make these new sites work for your nonprofit organization? The following links will take you to separate posts on each network…

To learn more about Pinterest for nonprofits, click here.

To learn more about Instagram for nonprofits, click here.

As always, learn more about social media in fundraising by vising out site, BWF.com.

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