Drake University was one of the first universities to jump on the Pinterest bandwagon. If you haven’t already started following Drake, its boards contain everything from study inspiration to rad room décor to ultimate fan boards and everything in between. The feedback regarding the pinterest account has been overwhelming with mentions from blogs like Likeable Media, The Next Web and Genius Recruiter.
With over 1400 followers and 500 pins, I couldn’t help but wonder who was behind the innovative Drake University Pinterest. I did some investigating (albeit, not difficult investigating) and found that it was Aaron Jaco, the Digital Media Specialist at Drake. Below is our email interview.
Danielle: What gave you the idea for creating the Drake pinterest?
Aaron: We actively seek out new social media platforms, watch them grow, evaluate their value for engaging our audiences and–when they really capture our attention–we give them a try. The Drake University Pinterest presence started as an experiment by the Office of Marketing & Communications staff, many of whom had been using Pinterest on a personal basis. We noticed that several of the students who intern for our office were avid users, so we began to assess potential uses for the University. It didn’t take long before we realized that Pinterest presented an incredible opportunity to share the Drake culture with students, alumni, prospective students and community members.
D: How did you decide on the different boards? Do you plan on adding more boards?
A: Each of our pin boards is designed specifically to peak the interest of one or more of our key audiences: students, alumni, prospective students and community members. We’ve had many, many ideas for new boards, but we only pursue those that will most consistently and effectively represent an aspect of the University culture. Further, boards should not only be relevant and interesting, but also useful: We want to share ideas that our viewers can incorporate into their every day lives, whether they are at home, in the office, in class, in the office or even studying abroad.
We’re also considering new and interesting ways to allow our visitors to share content with us. “Drake Alumni: Pin Your Pride” is a forum for alumni to share their pins. Our newest board, “Drake Relays: Fan Board,” launched earlier this week; fans are invited to share their favorite images from Drake Relays Week.
D: How many people work on it? If there are several, how do you split it up?
A: A small team of 3-5 interns within the marketing office do most of the pinning, with close oversight and strategic direction from full-time Digital Media Specialist Aaron Jaco [aka the interviewee]. Our interns pin a few items per day, particularly while they are working, and are careful to not pin too much or too little. We try to provide at least one new pin per board, per day, to keep things fresh and interesting.
D: What kind of feedback have you received about the Pinterest? From students? From alumnae? Have you been surprised by the feedback?
A: Response from alumni and students has been overwhelmingly positive. Their enthusiasm and feedback has been our primary incentive for continuing to develop the Pinterest boards. We are very pleased to have this opportunity to share content with our students and alumni–we love to see what they pin, too!
D: What kind of different access to your audience have you received since creating the pinterest? Have you seen a lot of engagement with alums vs students? Prospective students?
A: We have seen a great deal of engagement from alumni. Our graduates have been the most vocal in their praise and word-of-mouth promotion. But we are hearing, increasingly, that current students enjoy our boards as well, and that is great to hear. Pinterest gives us a chance to share what’s going on at Drake through images, rather than words, which is a refreshing change from text-heavy (and sometimes cluttered) platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
D: You’ve gotten a lot of press about Drake’s pinterest. Were you surprised?
A: The extensive press coverage of our Pinterest presence has been an encouraging indicator that Drake University is emerging as a social media thought leader, particularly in the field of higher education. Drake’s vision is to be–and be recognized as–one of the very finest institutions of higher education in the United States. Those of us who market the university via social media pursue that vision by trying to make exceptional use of social media platforms to reach our many audiences and build trust, affinity and loyalty.
You can reach Aaron Jaco at firstname.lastname@example.org and Danielle Cristal at email@example.com.