With an average of over 12 million unique monthly visitors users and counting, Pinterest (www.Pinterest.com) has become the latest social media darling. In fact, according to Lemon.ly, a visual marketing firm, Pinterest was the fastest independent website to reach 10 million unique monthly visitors—faster than Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
So what’s all the fuss about the site? And more importantly, how can medical practices take advantage of it?
Basics of Pinterest
First, let’s discuss what Pinterest is. Simply put, the social networking site is a virtual pinboard. Members register for free and upload their own photos or post links to photos of products or images they want to share with their followers. This is called “pinning.”
When you pin an image on Pinterest, you can embed a link to the site where you found that particular image. As a result of allowing users to embed website links, a Shareholic study found that Pinterest is now generating more referral traffic to websites than YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn combined.
Get Involved and Be Engaging
As with any social media site, the more engaged you are, the more beneficial it is for your brand. This means commenting on images posted by your Pinterest followers and sharing their images with your own followers. In order to establish your presence on Pinterest, become engaged.
As we mentioned in a previous column, think of social media as a big party. The more you interact with others, the more exposure you’ll receive. If you’re not participating, you won’t get noticed.
Pinning your Images
Whatever images you decide to pin to your board, just be sure it’s visually appealing. You want to give your followers a reason to comment on your images or share your images. For example, you may want to pin some of your recent technologies you implemented at your business. Write a brief caption of what that piece of technology is for and maybe what makes it unique.
Do you run a fitness center and want to share some healthy tips with your readers? Create a visually-appealing image with some tips and pin it to your board. Since you are driving people back to your website or blog with some of your pins, I also highly recommend that you have an interesting site or blog to entice people to want to come back. If you just have a static, boring website, you run the risk that people will stop following you.
Promote More than Just Your Services
You don’t necessarily have to pin images related to your practice of course. Did you snap a photo of that tree now blooming in the front of your office? Pin it under the “Outdoors” category on Pinterest. Took photos of a cool office party to celebrate a holiday? Pin it under “Holiday.”
The beauty of Pinterest is that you can categorize your images under several topics such as architecture, art, people, photography, products, sports, and technology. Not sure where your image fits? There’s an “Other” category.
If all you are doing is pinning your own images and refuse to share other images, you’ll appear to be too self-serving. That defeats the purpose of any social media site. The goal is to share so don’t be afraid to post images from other sites, even if they may be from another organization.
Allow Others to Pin Photos
Pinterest allows you to let other contributors post images to your pinboards. If you’re part of a medical practice, your pinboard can contain photos from your patients and employees. Invite your followers to pin pictures of themselves or their favorite things on your pinboards. Some great photos are patients coming home from the hospital.
You can even hold contests on your pinboard and each month select the best photo pinned to your pinboard. The goal here is to just get your fans involved and help spread the word about your products.
So what do you think of Pinterest? Are you using it? If so, share with us some of the creative ways you have used it in the comments below? Want me to research and write about a new social media application? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.