That is the question that has been eating away at me ever since I first laid eyes on the gorgeously designed interest-based social media website that is Pinterest. As I’ve spent hours on the site “pinning” all the oh-so-awesome content Pinterest has to offer, I’ve been racking my poor brain trying to think of ways dentists and other healthcare professionals could use Pinterest as a part of their social media strategy. After all, Pinterest’s popularity is growing like crazy and some are claiming that it drives more website traffic than YouTube, Linkedin, and Google+ combined. For those of you unfamiliar with Pinterest, here is a tour of how it works:
Currently, according to available stats, most Pinterest users are female (80%), ages 25-54, living mostly in Utah, Tennessee, and Alabama. So basically if you want to know Pinterest’s current demographic…just look at me. What are we adding to our pin boards? Mostly girly stuff…home décor, recipes, beauty tips, Ryan Gosling, quotes, humorous content, etc. So I would say it's magazine-type visual content.
The problem with the images and video the dental industry typically uses on websites, blogs, YouTube, etc. is that they’re usually informative in nature and not entertaining. I might be interested in seeing Invisalign before and after pictures, so I would run an image search in Google, take a look a few pictures, and think to myself “well that’s nice to know”. I’m probably not going to share what I find with all my friends unless it’s something they would actually react to and share with their friends. Likewise, I’m not going to repin a picture of a dental office, a picture of braces on fake teeth, a picture of some stranger’s teeth, or a picture of my dentist smiling back at me – as much as I really like him. Again, this is all “great to know” content, but not really share-worthy. Most of the visual content the dental industry puts out on the web kind of fall into this category. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing…it’s just the way things have fallen into place, for the most part.
Another challenge is that Pinterest frowns upon self-promotion. They don’t care if you’ve taken a cool picture that you want to upload to your pinboard for others to see…but they frown upon only using the site for self-promotion.
So if the idea behind Pinterest is to “curate and share things you love”, then what kind of share-worthy content, besides content a practice produces themselves, would they pin? What kind of lifestyle would they want to promote to their Pinterest followers through their pinboards?
I see some opportunity
Yes I do. If there is a will, there is a way and I think there is a potential for some practices to really benefit from Pinterest…and have fun with it...and of course drive some much-needed website traffic to their blogs and websites. For one thing, dentistry isn’t boring, although it might not be a subject that masses of people obsess over. People usually don’t get excited about dental crown and white fillings, even though a lot of the visual content out there now seems to represent that type of content. But if you look at pop culture and movies like The Hangover, where one of the main characters, a dentist, has a crazy night out and extracts one of his teeth it’s kind of funny. And I’m sure I don’t have to remind most of you of the YouTube viral sensation, David after Dentist.
So my point? Maybe dentistry is cool enough for Pinterest…but the challenge will be tapping into that “specialness” that draws people in and makes them laugh, smile, or react in some way that pushes them to share a piece of content. I think the practices that have the creativity and time to create this type of content, curate related compelling content from the web on Pinterest, build a following, and successfully promote a lifestyle related to dentistry will reap the full benefits Pinterest has to offer.