Mar 22, 2012

Pinning It: Using Pinterest to Drive Deeper Patient Engagement

Pinterest Landscape
Like “Linsanity,” Pinterest, the newest darling of the social media space, has come, seemingly from out of nowhere, to sweep the imagination of millions of women and quite a few men.  Pinterest allows users to virtually pin images to self-styled “boards,” everything froPharma-Bytes Pinterest Post Graphic 1m favorite books and places you’d love to visit to home makeover ideas. 

And, as with any trend, there are marketers trying to figure out how to capitalize on it.  Much has been written about the fact that Pinterest has driven more traffic to online publishers than Twitter.  And for retailers, the opportunities seem endless, whether it’s Etsy driving traffic to their site from pins of their handcrafted goods or Kate Spade re-pinning images that customers post featuring products from the brand that they love.

What About Healthcare? 
In October, we wrote a post about applying what we call The 3Ps to creating acceptance — an integral part of moving patients from awareness to action.

  1. Personalization acknowledges their condition, provides empathy and emulates
    the “loved-one connection” as defined in the Edelman Health Engagement Barometer.
  2. Personification uses life moments to allow patients to see themselves, painting a realisticpicture of the potential problem and solutions.
  3. Projection provides a ‘roadmap’ for action and empowers patients to take responsibility for their health/well-being.
Storytelling is one way that the 3Ps can be incorporated into messaging so that brand communications can be incorporate personalization (in look and feel to a particular patient ‘type’)personification (allowing patients to “see themselves”), and projection (giving patients hope for their future, even when they are uncertain about their long-term prognosis).
Absent clear-cut guidance from the FDA, many brands have shied away from engaging with patients in the social media space, preferring to post patient stories on websites, instead of going to where groups of patients are likely to be found, which many agree is a missed opportunity.

So, although medical/legal/regulatory pharma challenges and copyright infringement issues relative to images will need to be addressed, Pinterest may well be the vehicle to drive the 3Ps to another level. I propose that patient ambassadors contracted to speak on behalf of the brand may use images pinned to Pinterest to represent more of the essence of who they are, what they believe in and, by proxy, what the brand represents.

Consider the examples below which were pulled from various Pinterest pages.

Personalization How are you feeling words and images relevant to people who are fighting depression.Roska-Healthcare-How-You-Feeling-PinterestPersonification I Fight Like a Girl showcases images from a photo-essay project of the same name created to support breast cancer survivors. 
Projection Inspired Healing contains “images that remind me that while we may not be cured, we can always be healed.”
Key Takeaway
Even if patient ambassadors do not directly speak about a product, they do represent your brand, which means they should be trained like anyone else you contract to speak on the company’s behalf.  And in this virtual space, the company becomes responsible for re-pins, comments, etc.  So while this has the power to drive patient engagement to a deeper level, consider whether, ultimately, the effort is worth the reward. 

What do you think about the risk/benefit equation of Pinterest and pharma?  Comment below or contact me directly.

By Kimberly Clotman, VP, Group Account Director Roska Healthcare Advertising

1 comment:

  1. I think given more time, pinterest is set to capture a bigger, more professional demographic who utilize social media not just for social advocacies but for more responsible social engagements as well.


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