Smart Practices | February 2014 Plastic Surgery Practice

Pin It to Win It

10 tips for using Pinterest  to promote your services

By Wendy Lewis   Wendy Lewis

Pinterest is proving to be an effective tool for business of all sizes and sectors. Due to some recent upgrades, Pinterest has positioned itself as a viable platform for increasing visibility among the audiences that matter and driving traffic to your website and other social networks.

At its most basic, Pinterest is a format for spreading joy and sharing inspiration. The concept is simple: you see something that strikes your fancy, you like it, and pin it, so that your network of followers can enjoy it, too. While it may seem that Pinterest has a casual, friendly, and social feel to it, don’t lost sight of the opportunity to create boards and add pins that have to do with your practice and its services. Social consumption sites like Pinterest are excellent marketing avenues for reaching consumers and promoting products. Businesses establish presences on these platforms and use the unique properties of each to highlight who they are and what they do. Individuals can like or follow businesses they are interested in.

The good news for beauty brands, cosmetic surgeons, and dermatologists is that Pinterest skews female. Women are engaging on Pinterest much more than men in general, which is true of most social platforms, including Facebook and Twitter. The very nature of Pinterest as an aggregate board of everyone’s pins allows users to follow friends’ interests, which tends to resonate with the
female mind-set.

WARNING: Before you read on, Pinterest is highly addictive. Like most social avenues, it is also very time-consuming.

1 JOIN PINTEREST AS A BUSINESS OR CONVERT YOUR ACCOUNT

Last year, Pinterest added business pages. Although business pages essentially look the same as personal pages, there are additional features, benefits, and analytics that personal pages do not offer. If you already have a personal Pinterest page, you can also convert it to a business page with just a few clicks. Some of the tools that business pages have include calculations of number of unique users, number of repins, impressions and visits to your site, and content that gets the most repins. Pinterest analytics can help you learn what and when to pin to get the most traction for your efforts. Pinterest also allows you to verify your business or URL. You will see a check mark next to businesses that have been verified.

Even if you do not yet plan to get active on Pinterest, it is a good idea to at least join as a business and reserve your name for the future.

2 INCLUDE PINTEREST BUTTONS ON YOUR BLOG POSTS

To drive referral traffic from Pinterest, your blog images have to make it to Pinterest. Pinterest offers an easy-to-install Pin It button that encourages readers and visitors to share your images.

Like Instagram, the most attractive and visually appealing images tend to get liked and repinned the most. For example, infographics rate high on the repinned content list because they contain interesting facts. Beautiful photography from top magazines will also tend to get repinned rather often. Stock images of doctors in scrubs and before-and-after photos of real patients are clearly not the best strategy.

3 PIN WELL-ROUNDED CONTENT TO CAST A WIDER NET

Purely self-promotional content will often be overlooked on Pinterest. You should include boards that are not entirely related to your practice as well to open engagement with a wider range of audiences.

For example, best practices for using Pinterest for business purposes center around pinning from various sources, rather than just your own site or a handful of specific sites. Pinning from within Pinterest—repinning other Pinterest users’ content—is the way to engage with others and to build an engaged network of followers.

For businesses, pinning can be a great way to highlight unique aspects of your brand that may not immediately come to mind. Pinterest can also be a great tool to learn what your audience/patients/customers want and like. By testing various types of pins and content, you will know quickly what appeals to your followers by paying close attention to the analytics.

4 DESIGNATE BOARDS TO REPRESENT ALL ASPECTS OF YOUR BUSINESS

Similar to how you share content on other social networking platforms, it’s best to strike a balance on Pinterest. Curate boards that share information of interest to your target audience, as well as boards that relate to your practice. Create at least a few boards that cover a broad range of interests, rather than maintaining a single board devoted to one topic (like laser resurfacing or rhinoplasty) or your practice. Start with a handful of themes and add boards aligned with some or all of them, and pin images that are attractive and dovetail with the board theme. For example, don’t just show your place of business on Pinterest. Tell users where and how they can find you. Include a board for a charity you may be active in, or an event that your practice is participating in.

Pinterest traffic is also affected by seasons and holidays. Celebrate the seasons with weather-themed boards and lifestyle topics, such as vacations, weddings, sports, the beach, etc. Colors are another tactic frequently used on Pinterest that are perennials.

5 BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH INDUSTRY INFLUENCERS

Relationships with influencers across medical aesthetics can help your Pinterest get noticed. Use Pinterest to locate online influencers who already have the attention of your target audience. Start by following them and repinning the content you like. Like their pins, and make comments to start a dialogue. As with most social platforms, liking someone’s pins will encourage them to like you back. Engaging with other commenters is another important aspect of Pinterest. Make sure your social media community managers respond to any comments and questions users post on pins. Take the time to share meaningful comments on other influencers’ boards to increase your Pinterest footprint. When your comments are seen, more pinners will notice you and follow your boards.

6 FOLLOW RELATED BUSINESSES AND BRANDS

Many businesses share content on Pinterest that they don’t share elsewhere. It is important to understand and respect the nuances of each social platform you invest time in. Facebook content doesn’t usually work on Pinterest; there is an inherent difference in the user experience as well as the best formats and strategies for each social network you invest time in to grow your presence.

For example, find out if businesses you work with or blogs you follow are on Pinterest by searching for them through Pinterest search. Connect with them on Pinterest to see what else they have to offer that is relevant to your audience.

7 MAKE YOUR PINS LOOK BEAUTIFUL

To make sure your boards and pins look as appealing as possible, pay attention to the size of your images. Long, skinny pins tend to be the most clicked-on images because they require you to click on them so you can see the full size to read. (Pinterest has a “Cheat Sheet” for its image sizes that can be helpful.)

Pinterest makes you think more visually. Take a look at the content inventory you already have access to, including logos, photos, graphics, web pages, charts, blogs, etc. Pinterest essentially allows you to tell the story of your brand or practice through images. For example, many brands use the strategy of charting the history of the brand through a robust archive of images.

8 KEEP YOUR PINS INSPIRING

Inspiration on Pinterest comes in many forms with pins that share quotes, art, movies, books, actors, celebs, special events, and more. Quotes are a particularly rich source of repins. Images of children and animals also inspire attention and sharing. Travel images of great places can work in the same way. Pin images that will capture, amuse, and dazzle your followers. Develop your own library of inspirational pins by using famous quotes or creating your own, and add your logo to make them uniquely yours. Keep in mind that the real goal of Pinterest is not to sell. Rather, it is to inspire.

9 MAKE YOUR IMAGE NAMES SEARCH-FRIENDLY

An aspect of standing out on Pinterest is to make sure your website images are found when users are searching the web for pins. Name your images with keywords so search engines will recognize the image name, and incorporate hashtags such as #plasticsurgery into your pins for added visibility. For Pinterest purposes, most of the boards that you create which are practice-related will fall under the category of hair & beauty, health & fitness, products, and quotes.

10 OPTIMIZE PINTEREST FOR SEO

Content and SEO go hand in hand on Pinterest. A quick search for “facial plastic surgery” or “cosmetic surgery” on Pinterest will reveal a wave of aggressive SEO strategies that mimic Google+ and other search-driven modalities. This won’t fly on Pinterest. It defies what Pinterest is all about, and pinners can see right through it.

For starters, choose an optimized company username, and optimize the “About” section for your Business page. Include links back to your website or blog. Pinterest boards will also be more discoverable via search when the board name contains keywords. Use descriptions of your pins strategically to increase optimization. You want to ensure that your pins are findable, and include a reference link back to your website to drive traffic where relevant, without overdoing it.

Wendy Lewis is president of Wendy Lewis & Co Ltd, Global Aesthetics Consultancy, ?www.wendylewisco.com, founder/editor in chief of beautyinthebag.com, and a contributing editor to Plastic Surgery Practice. She can be reached at wl@wlbeauty.com.

Original citation for this article: Lewis, W. Pin it to win it: 10 tips for using pinterest to promote your services, Plastic Surgery Practice. 2014; February: 30