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7 Best Practices for Pinterest Patient Education

Pinterest patient education leverages visuals and a powerful sharing network

Pinterest is a great medium for healthcare brands to communicate visually and reach a large audience of patients. New data from ShareThis reveals Pinterest was the fastest growing sharing channel in 2013 and thirst most popular sharing channel overall (beating email). The data reveals that women dominate Pinterest, accounting for 6.76 percent of social shares across all channels and 57.63 percent of shares to Pinterest. With women leading the activity on Pinterest, it's an important channel for healthcare marketers, who, as we discussed, can no longer afford to be antisocial and must find ways to connect with female consumers who plan an important role in the healthcare decision making process. According to the United States Department For Labor, "Women make approximately 80 percent of healthcare decisions for their families and are more likely to be the care givers when a family member falls ill.”

To take advantage of this channel and reach the female healthcare consumer, healthcare brands must understand what kind of content works well on Pinterest and how healthcare content fits into the Pinterest ecosystem. To succeed on Pinterest, like in any other channel, healthcare marketers must create content that gets noticed and provides value.


Here are 7 best practices for Pinterest patient education to help healthcare marketers:

1. Images should be able to live on Pinterest.

Pins should be interesting and compelling on Pinterest without relying on the user to click through to get value. Pins that live on Pinterest communicate something important or provide value in the image and caption alone. This doesn't mean you have to provide everything in the pin, but you need to provide enough value so it's meaningful in the context of Pinterest. It's a good idea to think of the pin as a "breadcrumb” leading users to your website. Try to create visuals and captions that will get users interested and engaged but also leave them wanting more. If you can get users to your website, you have the opportunity to gain more awareness for your company/product and potentially capture more information for lead nurturing.

2. Look through the eyes of the patient.

Pins should be focused on providing benefit to the patient. Ideally content should always be created based on established patient personas. This helps you to understand what's important to the patient, what their hopes and fears are, and what they're interested in, so you can create appropriate content. For example, for a patient persona who is about to have knee surgery and is nervous about the recovery, I would plan for a mix of patient education and lifestyle content. Patient education could include imagery that makes it easy to understand how the knee works and what the surgery procedure will be like. Lifestyle content could be created to provide comfort and reassurance, and may even include comedic relief. Imagine the power of a pin that says, "I had knee surgery and I made it!” that's been repinned 100 times.  It's social proof for a nervous patient and a big dose of encouragement. Many healthcare patients are no longer taking passive roles in their healthcare and are empowered patients who want to take an active role – give them the opportunity to do so by equipping them with the right information.

3. Make your website Pinterest-friendly.

There should be integration between Pinterest and your other online properties. As we've written before, make it easy for people to pin from your website and blog by making sure you always use compelling imagery and that images are large enough to be pinned. Use "Pin It” buttons to facilitate the process. If you're using Pinterest for referral traffic, make sure your website doesn't fail patients once they get there.

4. Make your content easy to discover.

When people are looking for something specific, they are more likely to find it if you categorize your boards (presumably under "Health and Fitness”) and use hashtags in your pin descriptions.

5. Create visuals based on what's proven popular on Pinterest.

Hubspot has lots of information about what works best on Pinterest. Experiment with tall images – statistics show they get pinned more. Descriptions should be between 100 and 200 characters. Create aspirational content. Reddish-orange pins get pinned 2x more than blue ones. Think brighter images vs. darker.

6. Resist the temptation to make it all about yourself.

Pinning images of just your product with nothing else is basically giving Pinterest users a sleeping pill. It's not only boring, but also egocentric and a turnoff to consumers. Think of product pins as selfies. It's (kind of) okay to share one every once in a while, but anything more frequently and you'll become that girl. You know, the one everyone's rolling their eyes at and sick and tired of hearing from.

7. Verify your website.

This is an opportunity to bolster your credibility by showing users you are the certified owner of the website. Click here to learn how to verify your website. Once you have verified your website, your website will be displayed on your Pinterest profile with a checkmark to show other users it's verified. This also allows you to access Pinterest Web Analytics, which provides information about site metrics and your most recent, most repinned, and most clicked pins.

The possibilities with Pinterest are truly endless and there's an exciting opportunity to reach patients in a non-threatening manner. If Pinterest is just one element of your direct-to-patient campaign, be sure to read these 5 Tactics for Better Direct-to-Patient Campaigns.

If your healthcare brand is already on Pinterest, be sure to leave a link to your profile in the comment section so I can follow you and see how your brand utilizes Pinterest for patient education. To help you out, we have a Patient Education board on Pinterest for more inspiration as well!

Follow ParkerWhite Brand Interactive's board Patient Education on Pinterest.

7 Best Practices for Pinterest Patient Education