Pinterest & Healthy Branding for Hospitals
While Facebook’s $1 billion acquisition of Instagram appears to be having a polarizing effect on users, another photo-based social networking site, Pinterest, is having a galvanizing audience effect—especially on brands and businesses.
Described by one blogger as “Facebook without the whining,” Pinterest is not only powering significant traffic and impacting sales across a number of sectors, but it is also driving content marketing and publishing talk of focusing on your “image strategy” and the rapid evolution of a “visual culture.”
Having reportedly soared to some five million users, Pinterest attracts nearly 1.5 million daily unique visitors, who spend an average of 15 minutes on the site. Shareaholic reports that in January 2012, Pinterest drove greater traffic to websites than LinkedIn, Google Plus and YouTube — combined.
As many bloggers and industry observers have noted, Pinterest’s appeal lies in its ease, fun and beauty. Serving as a “virtual pinboard,” the site allows users to create, share and browse photo collages online. It’s made to measure for aggregating and curating content—which in turn makes Pinterest a valuable new tool for hospital and healthcare marketers.
Hospital Marketing Journal makes a compelling and “pinteresting case” for how the site’s content aggregation utility can effectively help educate and engage patients. The Summit Health Group in Berkeley Heights, NJ, for example, uses Pinterest to demonstrate rehabilitative exercises for patients in recovery.
A few blogs back, I wrote how St. Jude Children’s Hospital uses online “Patient of the Month” profiles as part of its content strategy. As part its own rich online content platform, which includes blogs, e-newsletters and videos, Dayton Children’s Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio uses its “Miracle Stories” Pinterest board to direct users to its website.
That’s not all: the social-media loving hospital, which treats over 265,000 kids every year, has created another 21 Pinterest boards including Celebrating Childhood, Safety First! and Child Abuse Awareness. There’s even a Healthcare Brands board, which takes you to the Pinterest sites of a number of hospitals around the country, including St. Jude and Baylor Health Care System.
“One of our marketing goals is to connect to moms,” writes Grace Rodney, marketing communication specialist at the hospital in a February 2012 story for Health Care Communication News. “Adding Pinterest to our social media toolkit seemed like the best way to do this.” Continuing, Rodney writes that, “We wanted to create boards that we thought moms would find interesting and want to repin. We try to have a balance between pins from our own website, as well as other kid-related pins that we repin from those that we follow. By having pins that come from the Dayton Children’s website and blog, it helps to cross promote our different online marketing tools and drive traffic to our sites.”
As Hospital Marketing Journal notes, it’s still early days for widespread adoption of Pinterest by hospital marketers—but it seems a clearly written prescription for success.
Jeff Heilman covers business, marketing, law and travel for a range of custom and trade publications. Also an award-winning photographer and copywriter, he ghostwrote Courageous Counsel, a book on the history of women general counsel in the Fortune 500, published September 2011.