What’s the health interest with Pinterest?


When I was in high school and college, I remember when my friends and I pinned our favorite celebrities, hairstyles, musicians, logos and even cool quotes and/or sayings. It gave us a sense of togetherness, creativity and promoted self expression. It seems that same concept and/or behavior is sweeping the digital world with the new image-heavy social site called Pinterst.com.

But why is Pinterest becoming a great marketing platform for brands?

When thinking about brands on Pinterest, I immediately thought of Etsy. For those of you who pin, I’m sure you’re familiar with Etsy, an online site with over 800,000 individual shops and over 15 million unique handmade and/or vintage items. Etsy channels into some of the most popular categories on Pinterest such as crafts, jewelry, home goods, do-it-yourself ideas and clothing. The company has over 80 boards, with over 300,000 followers, each pin well stocked with colorful, detailed images of unique things that reflect Etsy’s brand. The real creativity of Etsy’s Pinterest presence comes from the community that Etsy has built. Etsy’s guest pinners on the company’s profile show that.

The truth is, if you ask any marketer, you’ll likely hear the same thing: Pinterest matters. What’s less clear, however, is exactly how. Is it to drive traffic, reinforces brand, build consumer and/or patient interest and increase community? While Pinterest use is a no-brainer for retail companies, does it really make sense for health care orgs to have a presence on Pinterest?

Here’s a few facts to consider:

  • Pinterest hit 10 million unique monthly views faster than any site in U.S. history.
  • On average, each time a person visits the site spends 58.8 minutes “pinning.” Facebook has an average visit time of 12.1 minutes.
  • Almost 70 percent are female. (Keep in mind, women control 90 percent of household health care decisions.)
  • The largest demographic on the site are ages 25 to 34. Fifty percent of users have children.

BerylHealth marketing pros say 80 percent of Internet users are still searching the web at some point for health care information. “Hospitals have built-in audience members just waiting for something out of the ordinary to catch their eye.”

According to BerylHealth, before you start a Pinterest page, you have to do your research. Here are three rules of thumb:

  • Just as you’d do on other social networks, make sure your Pinterest board doesn’t focus too much on self-promotion. Pinterest is not meant to be used to aggressively advertise your hospital’s brand—it’s a forum for sharing, interaction and conversation.
  • Raise awareness of your Pinterest page by adding a Pinterest button on your website, and by announcing it through your blog, Facebook and Twitter pages.
  • Include compelling teasers along with your pins to drive more click-throughs.

Fort HealthCare in Fort Atkinson uses Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/forthealthcare/

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to showcase things that are perfect for parents, especially mothers. Since they target parents as their primary audience, their pinboards feature parent-friendly content such as fun arts and crafts, recipes, fitness, inspirational quotes and infographics. These positive images reinforce Fort HealthCare’s brand, giving parents a good reason to doctor with Fort HealthCare.

In my research, I found a few other Wisconsin health orgs who have similar strategies such as Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and American Family Insurance, based in Madison. To view their Pinterest pages, click on the hyperlinks above.

Still not convinced? Here are a few other ways you can use Pinterest for your brand:

  • Share visuals that explain the organization
  • Share community info
  • Share upcoming events
  • Share health and wellness educational infographics
  • Share inspirational health quotes
  • Provide insight into the workplace culture
  • Showcase accomplishments of employees
  • Promote the hospital’s blog

As with any new communication strategy, you need to monitor and make adjustments as you go.

Will your health care organization start a Pinterest page? What other health care organizations in Wisconsin should be listed on this blog? Let us know in the comments!

This post was written by Trish Skram, blogger and research content specialist for WHPRMS. Trish also manages Mercy Health System’s public relations and social media efforts. To read more about Trish, CLICK HERE.

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