When Pinterest was first launched in March 2010, it was widely regarded as a feminine space for sharing cute ideas such as recipes, crafts and home decor.
Today, it is the highest growth social network on the Internet! And it’s not just women who are pinning stuff! Well known brands such as Starbucks, University of Virginia, Dr. Oz, The Bone Marrow Foundation, Bissell and Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge are using Pinterest for content marketing.
Consider these compelling statistics.
- TechCrunch announced recently that Pinterest hit 11.7 million uniques per month, “crossing the 10 million mark faster than any other standalone site in history.”
- An average Pinterest user spends 98 minutes per month on the site according to comScore. Remarkable considering the stats for other social giants: 2.5 hours onTumblr, and 7 hours on Facebook.
- Core users appear to be 18-34 year old upper income women, hailing from America’s heartland.
Advantages of Pinterest for hospitals
- Pinterest fits naturally when a brand has visually interesting elements (pictures or videos) tied to it. Hospitals could experiment with visual resources that point to healthy living, disease fighting foods, miracle stories, YouTube videos, health books, and other compelling content. Check out MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Pinterest profile.
- Pinterest is generating more referral traffic to websites than YouTube, Reddit, Google+ and LinkedIn combined. Hospitals (which have traditionally lagged behind in social media) could benefit tremendously from social-media induced traffic. Images speak a thousand words and if users like the image, they’re able to double-click on it to proceed to the hospital’s website.
- Then there’s the size of Pinterest’s audience – almost 12 million unique visitors per month which has to be attractive to healthcare marketers.
- Also consider that those 12 million pairs of eyeballs belong to mostly upper-income women – the same ones who make the healthcare decisions in American households. That’s another compelling reason for hospitals to consider Pinterest.
Limitations of Pinterest for Hospitals
- The downside to all this is that hospitals that have invested a ton of time and resources developing other social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare may find the challenge of managing a brand new social site to be quite daunting.
- Another limitation is that images pinned on Pinterest Boards can only go so far. Unless a user really likes the image and proceeds to click through to the source site, the hospital’s ability to communicate its message is lost.
- Pinterest was not originally designed for marketing purposes so there are no analytics features to measure a brand’s performance. This is a problem for hospitals whose resources are tight and where any additional marketing efforts must be well justified.
Whether or not Pinterest has staying power remains to be seen. However because it is so radically different from other social sites, it does show a lot of potential and might turn out to be the picture powerhouse of social media. Hospitals should certainly keep an eye on it, and then make the best decision for themselves and their audiences.
Over to you: Do you think Pinterest is beneficial to hospitals? Why or why not? Please share your comments in the box below.