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New Uses for Pinterest by Pharma

Jennifer Starr

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As discussed in a prior post, images are fast becoming the preferred method of message delivery on the Internet. No doubt the dramatic rise in surfing the Web via smartphone has contributed to the popularity of bite-sized visual content.

Pinterest, a virtual “dreamboard,” debuted in May 2011 and has grown exponentially. Pinterest allows users to visually share and discover images or videos by posting (or “pinning”) to online boards. Even as far back as 2012, Pinterest was on our radar, and in 2013 we expanded our viewpoint as we explained that pharma companies have the potential to provide amazing visual content. Lately, we have been identifying more opportunities and have been seeing more pharma clients become genuinely interested in Pinterest as a channel. This observation is further solidified by the amount of large pharma brands that have already jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon.

Pinterest for Businesses
Pinterest now offers a “Join as a Business” option or allows current users to convert their existing accounts to a more business-friendly model.  Business accounts have access to advanced tools and analytics to take the success of a Pinterest page to a new level.

There is also a new “Follow” button feature that businesses can add on their website. Once clicked, a pop-up appears with a preview of the account’s latest pins. Potential new followers won’t even need to leave the website to start following boards. This is likely just the beginning of Pinterest advancements as the platform is now serving over 60 million monthly users.

Pharma on Pinterest Today
While some pharma companies, like AstraZeneca, have at least secured a Pinterest URL, others have taken it a step further by developing their page and posting relevant content and infographics relating to their brand or health in general. Following are a few examples of how pharma is using Pinterest today:

Boards: 9
Followers: 547
Noteworthy: Reportedly the first pharma company to join Pinterest in April 2012, Bayer uses it to share images and information about its activities. Bayer One A Day® pledged to donate $10 for every breast cancer and prostate cancer Pin to Donate image that was re-pinned to the Breast Cancer Society of Canada and Prostate Cancer Canada.

Boehringer Ingelheim
Followers: 669
Noteworthy: Out of all these pharma accounts analyzed, they have the highest following and the most pins. Its visual focus on lung cancer and COPD is a good example of how pharmas can use the platform to highlight disease awareness, education and management.

Boards: 22
Followers: 548
Noteworthy:  One of their boards is referred to as “We ♥ Science” and includes a “Hey Science” series of infographics and the hashtag #nerdlove.

Boards: 7
Followers: 667
Noteworthy: They have an entire board with 49 pins, all containing interesting infographics, including details of various diseases. They also use hashtags frequently like #infographic and #raredisease.

Boards: 12
Followers: 190
Noteworthy: “Under the Microscope” is a unique board they use to convey diseases from a different perspective, with colorful images of microscopic views.

Considering Pinterest in Your Mix
Pinterest is second only to Facebook for traffic referrals, so it’s only logical for pharma companies to consider this platform in their social marketing strategy. Pinterest can help increase a brand’s exposure and reach a wider audience with high-quality, easily digestible and shareable snippets.  But, as with all social media platforms, there are certain limitations that pharma must understand about this channel, such as the fact that comments from users cannot be moderated (although they can be deleted after a comment is already posted). This can post extra risk for brand discussions in this space.

So is Pinterest right for pharma? Intouch experts were invited to weigh in on the debate in this article from Pharmaceutical Executive:

“… I’ll give the final word on Pinterest to Jim Dayton and Linda O’Neill at pharma marketing agency Intouch Solutions. Big believers in the power of the ‘visual web’ the team at Intouch encourages Pharma marketers to make it easier to share images from their websites on Pinterest and to look hard at complimenting existing content with visually appealing, shareable content like videos and infographics.

However, they don’t advise Pharma companies to launch a Pinterest channel because the network, like most others, has no facility for moderating user content before it is published. ‘Anyone can comment on a pinned image. And, as we all know, there is an inherent risk in publishing content on the internet without the ability to moderate any third-party content that may get attached by users,’ they write.

Third parties. Inherent risk. That’s social media for you.”



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By Christine on 08/20/2014 @ 17:14:00 PM

Great article but it's missing one key example - the only branded one I've seen: It doesn't have a large following yet but shows pharma stepping into the branded Pinterest space.

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