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Posted on 07.19.2012

A pinteresting approach to healthcare marketing

This blog post was written by Lovell Communications Intern, Channing Jones.

With social media sites rapidly expanding, virtual pinning site, Pinterest, has recently been crowned the third most popular social network behind Facebook and Twitter. The wildly successful site serves as a curation tool for users to organize virtual "boards" and "pin" images and videos that they find on the Web. And now that Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined, marketers are scrambling for ways to leverage the digital scrapbooking site to engage consumers online.

The visually-driven network presents a host of opportunities, particularly for healthcare marketers seeking to connect with consumers on an emotional level through the use of powerful imagery. Pinterest's female-skewed demographic also allows healthcare providers and hospitals to tap into the lives of women, the primary healthcare decision makers, many of whom who spend time "pinning." Average monthly use per American user hovers around one hour and seventeen minutes on the site, according to a recent study by Statista.

For healthcare marketers looking to embrace this popular social medium, consider these methods for engaging women and building a meaningful relationship via Pinterest:

Stay relevant. Create boards that will resonate with your audience and serve as a guide and resource for health-related information. Pinterest boards could include: Health & Exercise, Healthy Recipes, Inspirational Quotes, Recommended Healthcare Blogs, Patient Stories, and Miracles. By becoming a valued healthcare resource, marketers can generate traffic to their websites as users pin and re-pin healthcare content because it is useful and personally applicable to their daily lives.

A picture is worth a thousand re-pins. Because Pinterest is primarily image-based, photos must be of the highest quality to merit a re-pin by today's tech-savvy consumers. Keep descriptions on uploaded photos to a minimum of key words relating to the image, and take advantage of online resources for helpful tips on optimizing every pin you post and best practices for selecting, sizing, and linking images. Refer to the official Pinterest blog for expert tips and advice on furthering your intermediate pinning skills.

Pin it to win it. Allow your audience to pin your written content to their boards by embedding the "Pin It" button on your website. The Pin It button resembles other social media sharing plug-ins, displaying the number of re-pins beside the familiar red "Pin It" icon. Company blogs and online newsletters should include the Pin It button on posts or articles with compelling images that are likely to strike a responsive chord in their audience - and spur the desire to share it with others.

Humanize the healthcare experience. Aside from providing relevant content as a resource hub for patients and consumers, utilizing Pinterest for healthcare marketing requires a human-centric approach in the social media space. Pinterest boards should cater solely to the wants and needs of your target audience by providing a platform where individuals can interact with other users based on shared goals, common interests, and life experiences. Connecting with consumers through imagery and storytelling adds an element of empathy to the interaction and helps with relationship-building that's needed to develop trust between a provider and a patient.

A 2011 Pew Research Center Health Topics Report finds that 80 percent of internet users search for health information online. Pinterest can be a valuable website traffic builder and successfully reach the all important female target for healthcare marketers. These attributes add up to tremendous potential within the social media vehicle mix. In other words, it's time to start pinning!

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