Taking an interest in Pinterest
If you haven’t heard of it, Pinterest is a social media website that lets you create digital bulletin boards and pin content to them. It’s incredibly easy to use and reportedly somewhat addictive, leading one Washington Post columnist to dub it “digital crack.”
The site’s membership is still relatively small compared to Facebook. Recent numbers show its membership is between 10 and 11 million users. Facebook has more than 800 million. The site is still by invitation only, which may be one reason more people have yet to join. You need a friend who is already using it to send you an invitation.
Even with that hurdle, Pinterest’s membership is rising fast. Below is a chart from Techcrunch that shows the rise in unique visitors to the site month over month.
Statistics show that about 97 percent of all Pinterest users are women. A recent article from Ragan.com shows Missouri is among the top states for Pinterest users in the country. Statistics also showed that in January of this year, users were spending an average of 97.8 minutes a month on the site.
BJC and Pinterest
BJC HealthCare started using Pinterest more than a month ago, although at first in a limited capacity. I kept hearing it come in conversations about social media with female colleagues. The word “addicted” was used more than once. The proverbial light bulb above my head began to glow.
Working with BJC Today, I had already been involved in planning healthy cooking segments for BJCnet with Morrison HealthCare and some of our dietitians. With food making up a large portion of Pinterest content, the videos are a perfect fit.
We’ve only shot two cooking videos so far, but we’ve received a lot of positive feedback from them and plan to do more. We have also been working with the WellAware Center to produce some new exercise videos that may be of interest to a female audience.
Boone Hospital Center also started using Pinterest in early February. Communications coordinator Shannon Whitney tells me they thought it was a great way to reach women, especially moms.
Boone plans to pin things like recipes, parenting tips and exercises. “Lots of businesses are joining Pinterest and we found some ways to incorporate our mission of improving the health of the communities we serve, so we joined as well,” she said. “We’re slowly gaining followers and we’re excited to see some response to our pins!”
A Few Examples Outside BJC
Dayton Children’s Medical Center offers one example of how a hospital can use Pinterest for marketing. As of this writing, the hospital has 241 followers. Its pin boards include topics ranging from kid recipes and nutrition tips, to pictures of newborns to kid-friendly crafts.
Mayo Clinic is also getting into Pinterest, although its page is still relatively small in followers. Like us and Dayton Children’s, Mayo is also posting healthy recipes.
If you want to check out Pinterest but don’t have an invitation, send me an email and I’ll get you one. It’s worth exploring a bit before you try to come up with ideas on how your hospital or service line can use it.