How Pinterest works to be a positive social network
Social media networks can often feel like organizations with no social purpose. They spread misinformation, promote toxicity among users, and overall can make you feel bad about yourself and the world.
Pinterest is trying to buck this trend and be a force for positivity.
They banned advertising on political topics and weight loss, prohibited climate misinformation in ads or posts, and rolled out “compassionate search” that connects people to resources based on their searches on Pinterest.
But the organization’s commitment to purpose extends beyond the user experience and extends to the employee experience as well.
Dr. LeMia Jenkins Thompson, Pinterest Director of Communications, delivered the keynote at Ragan and PR Daily’s social media conference with her presentation “A Platform for Purposes: How Pinterest Leads with Its Value” . Here’s how the pinning platform tries to buck the trend of negativity and become a force for good.
A safe space for inspiration
Unlike many other social networks, Pinterest does not monetize search results or election advertising. However, they direct users to reliable information on registering to vote and other crucial resources.
“You can come to the platform and feel like you’re getting the right information,” Jenkins Thompson said.
Along the same lines, during the pandemic, Pinterest also chose to ban weight loss ads. They realized that women are disproportionately targeted by these ads, but they don’t make us healthier and happier. After the ban, searches around weight loss dropped by 20%, but users started looking for things like “healthy recipes” that will help them build a better life that isn’t based on appearances. , but on real and lasting change.
A business turning down lucrative advertisers like weight loss and politics might sound crazy for a business. But that’s what it’s all about. Advertisers and users responded. Users got the positive, assertive, and safe space they wanted, while advertisers gained access to happier users with an organized, personalized path to purchase.
Happier employees, better work
At Pinterest, inclusivity runs deep. For example, Jenkins Thompson lives in Mississippi, far from Silicon Valley. Living outside of this tech bubble allows her to bring another kind of diversity to the organization, while allowing her to live the life she chooses.
“Diversity of places is just as important as diversity of thoughts,” explained Jenkins Thompson.
They’ve also thought about the journey for parents and others raising families, offering employees up to 26 weeks of paid leave for parents giving birth, and extra time off if a baby is in the NICU or even in the event of a pregnancy loss.
“We want to make sure they feel like it’s a great place to raise a family,” she said. And once employees return from leave, they’re happier and able to focus on their work while learning how to be a new parent.
Still, Jenkins Thompson acknowledges that Pinterest hasn’t got it all figured out.
“We’re not perfect,” Jenkins Thompson said. “You’re going to find trouble.”
But by being intentional in how they serve both customers and advertisers, they can get more people to travel with them.
“We help people build the life they love.”
Allison Carter is the editor of PR Daily. Follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.