Can Pinterest Be Used By Those In Private Practice And Non-Profits?
I was initially interested in Pinterest for private practice because of the articles I read which indicated Pinterest was becoming a great tool for businesses, helping to drive traffic to their websites in record numbers. As I started reading more about how businesses were using Pinterest, and helping to coach my clients on how to use it, I saw why this is becoming the ultimate social media tool and have tried to distill how private practitioners and non-profits can use it to brand their practices and increases visibility.
What is Pinterest?
Although the social media site Pinterest has been around since December of 2009, it is getting a lot of attention recently. Pinterest is a visual bookmarking platform that has become very popular and developed a loyal following of over 11 million visitors per week. Pinterest, managed by Cold Brew Labs of Palo Alto, California, is best described as a pinboard-styled social photo sharing website. Pinterest enables members to “pin” things of interest to the site by managing theme-based collections of images. The site’s stated mission is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.” People frequently use the Pinterest site to look for, organize and share recipes, ideas on decorating their homes, and to choose clothing for special events such as weddings.
How Popular is Pinterest?
The popularity of the site has grown exponentially over the years, especially among women, and in December 2011, the site was rated in the top 10 social networks, according to Hitwise data, with 11 million total visits per week. The next month, Mashable.com reported that Pinterest drove more referral traffic to retailers than Linkedin, Youtube, and Google+. That same month, the company was named the best new startup of 2011 by TechCrunch. The recent addition of the Pinterest app for iPhone in February 2012 has added to the site’s ease of use and popularity, which should enable Pinterest to see continued growth in the future by allowing people to connect socially over shared interests.
Why I am Addicted to Pinterest?
Maybe it is because I am a collector and love how easy it is to find and collect stuff and engage with other, like-minded “curators”(notice I didn’t use the word hoarders). Or maybe it’s because Pinterest forces me to be organized. Or maybe, it’s because Pinterest embodies, for me, an ideal society where there is an unspoken communal reciprocity, collegiality, a “give and take.” Or it could be because the site allows me to visualize and collect, images and links to information about places, people, things, and concepts that inspire me. I’m not exactly sure, but I wanted to tell you more about Pinterest and show you how you might be able to both enjoy it, and use it to help build a practice or non-profit.
How Can Pinterest Be Used to Help Those in Private Practice and Non-Profits?
Private Practitioners and Non-Profits can use Pinterest to:
- Build visibility online
- Network with colleagues
- Stay in contact with referral sources
- Educate others
- Learn treatment skills and professional development
- Attract new clients
Pinterest has built in social network sharing functionality enabling users to easily integrate their Pinterest accounts with Facebook and Twitter. This is an incredible way to reach a large audience. By using this feature, social workers and non-profits are able to get their message across multiple channels at once, saving time, and increasing the number of people that will be exposed to pictures illustrating services, staff, infographics, workshops, special events, or products.
Networking with Colleagues and Referral Sources
Pinterest users can “follow” colleagues and referral sources pin boards and receive emails when new pictures have been posted. People in your network, and in the Pinterest community can “like” a pin, and show support by re-pinning the same picture on their pin board thereby notifying their followers of the pin, enabling the original pin to “go viral.” You can even invite colleagues and referral sources to post on your pin boards.
Educating and Learning from Others
Pinterest has a built-in search engine that Pinterest users can use to search for information on any topic by keywords. You can find a lot of helpful information on Pinterest such as links to articles, books, infographics, papers, videos, podcasts, and related resources. You can establish yourself and your agency as a trusted expert in your field, by creating and collecting helpful resources and information on your topic and pinning it regularly to your pin boards. Pinners can serve as content “curators” by choosing the most informative, and educational material, and pinning it to your pin boards.
Attracting new clients
By creating, collecting, and sharing, helpful resources such as information on clinical diagnoses, symptoms, treatment options, book or movie reviews and links to resources, you are establishing or reinforcing your credibility and visibility. By pairing links from your pins to your website, prospective clients searching for information or resources can find your pin through a keyword search and then click through to your website.
To get started with Pinterest you first need to set up a business account.
To convert your existing personal Pinterest account to a business one then go to business.pinterest.com, and click the red ‘Convert your existing account’ button.
The service can be a little challenging technologically, so if you’d like some help getting started with Pinterest or any other social media site let’s Schedule a Coaching Session and get you set up.
If you haven’t set up a Social Media Policy for your clients I strongly suggest you do so as soon as possible. If you’d like help setting one up- schedule a coaching session where we can actually work on setting one up for you. If you’d rather try to do it yourself, I’d be happy to send you some sample social media policies. Just email me here and let me know you’d like a link to the sample policies.
Wayne Kessler, LICSW is a Private Practice Consultant and Technology Coach based in Westwood, Massachusetts. You can find more resources from Wayne on practice marketing at the following websites: www.privatepracticehelper.com, www.kesslermarketing.com, and http://www.bostonmabusinesscoach.com
References and further reading:
Indvik, Lauren (January 29, 2012). “Pinterest Becomes Top Traffic Driver for Retailers”. Mashable. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
“Pinterest Hits 10 Million U.S. Monthly Uniques Faster Than Any Standalone Site Ever -comScore”. TechCrunch. Retrieved February 15, 2012.