Why Pinterest Should Be Part of Your Adoption Networking Strategy

The social web is getting more social by the day. What’s a hopeful adoptive parent to do?

It used to be that if you wanted to get the message out about your quest to adopt, you needed to be on Facebook. (Actually, before Facebook, it was MySpace. And before MySpace, it was Friendster. And before Friendster, it was… But that’s another story).

Nowadays, if you’re hoping to connect with prospective birth parents online, there’s more than just Facebook to choose from. A short list of places includes: YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Meetup, Foursquare, Instagram and Flickr. And that’s just the short list.

There are dozens of other internet platforms. And now, there’s one more: Pinterest.

Pinterest is a social bookmarking website for bookmarking, organizing and sharing things. What’s different about it–and makes it so appealing–is that it’s based on images, not text.

To say Pinterest is a hit is like saying Adele is a singer. People have already recognized its benefits for design, fashion, beauty, cooking and other lifestyle categories.

But after playing around on our Pinterest account over the last little while, I think it has some wonderful benefits for couples and singles who are hoping to adopt, too. In fact, I think it should be part of any waiting parent’s open adoption networking strategy. Here’s why:

Pinterest is popular

How popular? In just over a year, the site has grown by nearly 12 million visitors. Popularity alone shouldn’t be a reason to join a new social network. But with that kind of momentum, it’s safe to say that Pinterest is doing something right and, unlike other new social media websites, it’s here to stay.

It has the right audience

According to the latest reports, 87 percent of Pinterest visitors are women and the average age is between 25 and 64–exactly the demographic you want to reach out to and connect with.

It drives traffic

According to another report, Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined and is now one of the top 10 social networking websites.

It’s easy to use

Once you’ve joined, sharing, following and “liking” others couldn’t be easier. Just create a board and start pinning.

It lets you show the “real” you

When it comes to telling your story, “authenticity” is the name of the game. Conveying it with words can be a challenge. Doing it in pictures is a lot simpler.

It has emotional impact

Because Pinterest is all about telling your story through photos and images, it gives you the chance to connect with prospective birth parents on a visceral level, allowing you to create deeper, more intimate relationships.

Its potential is still untapped

Pinterest may be taking the web by storm, but it’s still far away from Facebook’s 800+ million users. And that’s good news for you: it means there’s still lots of room and opportunity to find the right people–and for them to find you.

It’s inspirational and aspirational

I can’t take credit for this one. Melinda, who made the YouTube video I featured the other week, mentioned this point in an email. And I totally agree. For anyone who is going through the long, sometimes arduous (but always rewarding) slog that is adoption, Pinterest’s beauty, messages of hope, and celebration of everyday items can be a huge pick-me-up.

It’s fun

This is something I should have mentioned off the top. It’s been said that if you love scrapbooking, you’ll love Pinterest. But even if you don’t love scrapbooking, you’ll still love Pinterest as an outlet for your creativity. If you’ve got a good eye and a gift for visual storytelling, this is the place for you.

So what should you do with Pinterest?

Ah, Pinteresting question. (Sorry, couldn’t resist). That’s really up to you. Like all social media sites, what you get out of Pinterest really depends on what you put in. Don’t expect immediate results. As with any site, it takes time to make your mark.

The more engaged you are, the more followers and influence you’ll have. And don’t even think about spamming. That’s something that Pinterest and its community frowns upon. Besides being a great creative outlet, Pinterest is also good for search engine optimization, something I’ll discuss in more detail in future posts.

Some people have compared Pinterest to Facebook before Facebook’s popularity exploded. As for us, we use it mostly to talk about our passions: books we’re reading, to share inspirational or interesting quotes, and, of course, to celebrate open adoption and the open adoption circle.

How waiting adoptive parents can use Pinterest

If we were a little less camera-shy, we’d be leveraging Pinterest to the hilt by showing pictures of us working behind the scenes. For waiting parents, that’s probably the best way to use Pinterest–to showcase your personality and share all the bits and pieces of your life that didn’t make it into your profile.

Show the everyday kinds of things you like to do: relaxing at home, mucking around in the garden, hanging out by a barbeque, cycling around the block, going for a walk, playing with the dog, or just goofing around.

Depending on your interests, you can also use it to pin: your favorite recipes. Photos from the holidays. Places you’re planning to visit (or would like to visit). People you admire. Charities you support. TV shows you watch. Movies you love. Things you do in your spare time. And products you can’t live without.

Pinterest is on the brink of wide-scale adoption. For instance, I noticed that when Tuesday’s guest blogger, Michelle Erich, needed a home for her post, she pinned it to her Pinterest board. Clearly, Pinterest isn’t going away any time soon.

Examples of great Pinterest adoption pages

Here are some adoption-related pages that have caught our eye:

Ready To Adopt

The R House

Meghan Tucker

The last we heard Pinterest was still in the beta stage, so you’ll need an invitation to join. If you want to sign up, you can request an invite directly from Pinterest or send us an email and we’ll be happy to forward you one.

As you can see, the adoption networking possibilities are endless. And perhaps that’s Pinterest’s biggest shortcoming. It’s addictive. Once you start pinning, it’s hard to stop. So, if you don’t mind, I think I’ll end this post here and get back to my pins. See you on Pinterest!

Are you on Pinterest? What boards are you following? How are you using it as part of your adoption outreach plan? Share your comments in the section below.