Since its launch in March of 2010, Pinterest has captured the hearts and minds of social media users around the world. For those of you unfamiliar with Pinterest, there are a lot of analogies that can be made… the natural connection is, of course, that of a bulletin, or pin, board where you collect all of your favorite ideas, recipes, articles, images, and inspirations you find across the internet into one easy-to-use and easy-to-find place. You could also liken Pinterest to an online scrapbook of sorts, or a visual bookmarking system for your best-of-the-Web. However you categorize it in your own mind, the concept is simple: Pinterest is the social site that is all about discovery. But before we discover how Pinterest can work for a veterinary practice, let’s discover who is on Pinterest and why that matters.
The most recent Social Media statistics from Pew research shows, that of Pinterest’s 70 Million Active Users with an average of 5 Million Pins per-day Of those pinning. 68% are women and 32% are men Pinterest users are overwhelmingly between the ages of 25-54—the target ages for your business Hold a Bachelors degree or higher Pinterest users have above-average incomes, meaning that they have the money to invest in excellent veterinary care In short, Pinterest users are ideally suited to the target market for most veterinary practices, and are looking for inspiration on how to spend their time and money.
So how should your veterinary practice use Pinterest to its advantage and engage with the Pinterest community? The first step is to remember that Pinterest is, in fact, a community. And as such, you need to keep in mind that you are, first and foremost, a member of that community looking to connect with your fellow community members. Pinterest is not the social media platform to place targeted ads—that’s more the realm of Facebook—but instead to share your knowledge, humor, ideas, and wisdom with other pet owners from the perspective of a trusted expert on their fuzzy family members. That’s not to say that you can’t place business content on Pinterest, people are using Pinterest as a means to make their spending decisions, but that spending and those decisions are slightly more abstract on Pinterest for a brick and mortar professional service. Instead of traditional ads, try engaging Pinners in Pin It-to-Win It campaigns, offering Pinterest-only giveaways and discounts. Ultimately, the savvy vet will utilize Pinterest to inspire their clients and potential clients to take better care of their pets and to build confidence in their know-how so that when the time comes to call for an appointment, that they’re more inclined to call you.
The first thing your practice will need is a Pinterest business account. Note this is different than a personal account, although you will likely want one of those too. Setting up your account is easy and free. You’ll want to use a clinic-specific email address (not tied to an employee, just in case) and keep your password in an easy-to-remember place. Be certain to use your practice’s public info, so that it’s easy for your potential clients to find. Beyond that, you’ll want your branded logo as your profile picture, and a very short description of your business, meaning 200 characters, max. Once you’ve set-up your account, you’re ready to start pinning!
But where to start? The best Pinterest Profiles have a little bit of everything. You may want to start with an “About Us” board. You can pin your practice’s home web page, Contact info, Google Map, and even your staff’s bios with a short who-is and some stats, kind of like a Baseball card for your employees. From there, paint your Pinterest picture with broad strokes. Create a list of categories and topics that are relevant and sue those as your Pin Board themes. Keep the names of your categories broad and easily searchable: Cats, Dogs, Rabbits, Birds, DIY Pet Treats, DIY Pet Care, Fleas and Ticks, Pet Dental Care, Pets at Home… categories like these will match the topic searches of Pinners and will make your pins more accessible to your audience.
Once you know what you’re looking for, start looking. Search the categories that you’ve mapped out and start Pinning the Pins that are appropriate for your practice, you may need to vet the information as credible, but as an expert you should know fairly quickly what pins you’ll want to put your name on and what pins you will want to avoid. Likewise, go to the pet-related websites you love, and Pin your favorites there, too. Do you have a favorite go-to website for cool pet gear, cat condos or pet treat recipes? Pin it and share it with your Pinterest community. And don’t forget to Pin content from your own website too. Pinning your internal web pages on veterinary acupuncture,
And remember, like a book, you can’t judge a Pin by its cover. Once you click on a Pin to expand it, click on it again and see where it takes you. The majority of Pins link back to websites with the content that is actually being shared. Don’t just look at the Pin’s picture and description, follow the link home and make sure it meets your muster.
Getting Found… Once you’ve established a fairly active and robust profile, somewhere in the neighborhood of 5-6 Pin Boards with no less than 5 Pins each, it’s time to go public. The first step is to invite your staff to follow your profile. And in return follow theirs. You all have a common professional interest, and chances are that your staff will find great material for you to pin to your practice’s pin boards. Likewise, promote your Pinterest account in-house. Let your clients know you’re on Pinterest in your waiting rooms, at the front counter, and even in the exam rooms…. And by all means, follow your clients too. What better way to know what interests them when it comes to pet care and the pet-owner lifestyle? This is the symbiotic relationship that makes social media work, and that makes it fun. And, of course, promote your Pinterest page on your Facebook page and other social media profiles too. Add a quick announcement into your eNewsletters with a link to your Pinterest profile, and be certain to add the Pinterest button to your social media roster so that your clients and potential clients can find your Pinterest page with a single click. And don’t forget to add the Pin It button to your internal web pages and blog so that viewers can easily Pin your content to their Pin Boards too. Once your Pin Boards are up and running, and you’ve amassed a few dozen loyal followers, your next task is to keep your profile active. . This is a must for your hard work to pay off and your content to be found. With 5 Million Pins-per-day, there’s a lot of content feeding through Pinterest and your brilliant and carefully-planned pinning can get lost in the fray if it’s not kept current. So, in order to keep your followers eyes on you, you must keep Pinning. Ultimately there are two great ways to make this happen in-house: Make Pinning a part of your daily routine. When you’re on the web, be it for business or pleasure, if something catches your eye professionally and you think your clients would like it, Pin it. Pinterest will allow you to install a handy-dandy plug-in on your browers so that you can Pin a site quickly and easily from wherever you are on the web… just like a bookmark, but often easier. Enlist your staff’s help. You can either encourage your staff to do this on or off the clock by making them an “authorized pinner” on your business account. This new feature is great for making your Pin Boards a team effort and getting the goods from your colleagues, vet techs, nurses, groomers, and perhaps even a few select clients. And, of course, you can always enlist the help of a social media professional to keep your PinBoards up and running too… a service we offer at Beyond Indigo to our Premier marketing clients….
Is Your Veterinary Practice
Presented by Kate Matthews
Beyond Indigo Pets Social Media Account Manager
Pinterest is All About Discovery…
70 Million Active Users
5 Million Pins-Per-Day
68% Women / 32% Men
Hold a Bachelor’s Degree
Higher Than Average
Pinterest is a Community
Pin With a Plan
Pin Content That is Fun and Relevant
Pin With Expertise
Interact with Fellow Pinners by Liking,
Sharing, and Commenting on Their
Don’t Over Promote Your Own Site
(a good rule-of-thumb is 20%)
Cross Promote Businesses You Believe
Pin Beautiful Images
Enjoy the Process
…Is For Pinterest
Pin – The Object Being Shared on Pinterest
Pinners – The User
Pin It – Pinterest’s Call to Action
Pinning – Adding Content
Re-Pinning – Sharing Content
Pin Board – A Collection of Thematic Pins
Followers – Your Audience
Following – Pinners You Watch
Make it Easy for Your Pinterest Profile to Be Found, and For
Others to Pin Your Content…
Part of Your
Enlist Your Staff
and Clients to
Help Grow Your