Since its launch in 2010, Pinterest has become one of the fastest growing social media channels out there. Pinterest currently boasts 70 million+ users and over 30 billion pins. In 2013 alone, Pinterest experienced a 58 percent growth, according to a recent report by ShareThis, and outpaced the growth of Twitter and Facebook in Q4.
Many digital marketers may assume their retail and hospitality clients are the only ones that will find success on Pinterest, but hospitals and other healthcare-focused brands can also thrive.
Here are six tips for hospital digital marketers that are totally pin-worthy:
Think about image choices carefully
Pinterest, at heart, is a visual platform. Being selective with what images your hospital uses is vital. It can be quick and easy to use stock photography when pinning, but it leaves your hospital looking inauthentic to users. We’ve all seen the photo of the older gentleman in the green polo smiling with his physician on countless hospital websites. Why pin it? Taking your own pictures of hospital staff and patients, creating infographics and adding a text overlay to existing images will help your pins stand out.
Pay attention to your audience
Women account for over half of Pinterest’s users, and topics like recipes, fitness and parenting are common boards and pins. Many of the pins are also focused on simple tips and easy fixes. Bogging down your boards with overly medical content may not be the best idea.
You will also want to keep in mind the time of day your followers and other pinners are on this social channel. According to the ShareThis report, pinners are the most active between 8 and 9 p.m.
Keep in mind SEO keywords
On April 24, Pinterest announced its new Guided Search update, which will help pinners better find what they’re looking for. Using the targeted keywords your service-line marketers use for landing pages, blog posts and microsites will help your content be seen by the right pinners.
SEO keywords should be incorporated in the descriptions of your pins and they should be used when titling the images you’ll be uploading. It may help your team organize the images you use by saving them as “2014-05-01-676799.jpg” or something to that extent, but uploading an image file titled “ground-turkey-taco-recipe.jpg” will allow your pins to be reached by a larger audience.
Use rich pins
Pinterest provides a rich pin feature for businesses to use. This tool allows for your pins to be more useful for pinners, and it’s easy to implement on your blog or website.
There are many different types of rich pins from which to choose. The most useful for hospitals are article and recipe pins. Article pins allow for the headline, author and meta description to appear with the image and link, while recipe pins will provide the ingredients, serving sizes and cook time for users.
Engage with fellow Pinners
Not repinning, liking or commenting on other users’ pins is commonplace for hospitals on Pinterest. It’s understandable that you want to protect your brand and not appear to be endorsing particular advice or certain competitors, but engaging with other users is a part of the game.
Creating a list of profiles and boards that are approved for your hospital to interact with will help your marketing team stay on the same page. When engaging with fellow pinners, reading through the pinned content and checking for credibility and other red flags will also help you protect your hospital’s authority while also keeping your Pinterest account active.
You may even want to consider creating accounts for some of your physicians, nurses and dieticians with whom your hospital’s Pinterest account can then repin.
Promote your boards elsewhere
Encouraging your current patients to visit and follow your hospital’s boards will help your Pinterest account succeed. Adding the Pinterest follow and “Pin It” buttons to your blog and website is a common way to do this. Pins can also be included within your hospital’s email newsletters, and you can even include specific boards on pages of your site. For example, adding a widget of your “Parenting Tips” board to the pages of your website dedicated to the children’s hospital will allow
With these tips in mind, your hospital will have a healthy presence on Pinterest. Happy pinning!
Check out the marketer’s guide to hospital acquisition to take the headache out of rebranding: