How Big Pharma Brands Are Using Pinterest

Hang on – Pinterest…for Pharma??

 Yes, you read that right: Healthcare comms are happily active on Pinterest, for reasons we covered more extensively in a recent blog comparing it to Instagram. In short, Pinterest’s focus on visual content curation helps you leverage imagery to encourage sharing and engage your community. 


Now, if you have any experience using Pinterest for your own personal fun – and have attempted any of the recipes, home décor projects, jewelry creation how-to’s, or other endeavors – you’ve probably come across the same, very common phenomenon that I have: The Pinterest Fail…


That cute princess cake that looked more like the troll under the bridge

The organic, homemade cleaning fluid that created a biohazard

A DIY necklace that left a green-ish ring around my neck for a week


Yes, The Pinterest Fail. If you’re like me, you laugh it off (except for the cleaner, which was hermetically sealed and trashed to prevent harm to local nostrils).


But personal use is one thing. When you change gears into Pinterest For Business – specifically in the healthcare marketing space – you can’t afford a Pinterest Fail. You need to be on top of your branding game with every…single…pin. And you need to be pinning with the three top Pinterest objectives in mind:


  1. Raising Awareness
  2. Engaging Your Audience
  3. Driving Traffic to Your Site


It seems like a tall order for pharmaceutical marketers, especially when you also need to consider regulatory compliance. But there are healthcare industry brands out there that are killing it on Pinterest and still getting the all-cool sign from health regulatory agencies such as the FDA. Check out these heavy hitters.


Who’s Making Waves and How They’re Doing It


Bayer: First, we’ll go with the first – as Bayer was the pioneer on Pinterest, announcing its presence with authority in April 2012. The pharma firm takes a “day-in-the-life” approach to its Pinterest boards, with images that give the brand personality by focusing on activities. Bayer currently maintains six boards covering such topics as “Best of Science” and its dedication to corporate social responsibility efforts.


Best Use of Pinterest: The Anniversary Tour. As part of the company’s 150th anniversary in 2013, Bayer took members of its team across the world to share its message of “Science for a Better Life.” Pins of the Bayer Airship – a dirigible that took off from all seven continents to cover the tour – were impressive, as was the shot of the 30,000 people forming the largest Bayer cross of all time in Barcelona.


Boehringer Ingelheim: With 30+ boards focusing on various aspects of healthcare, Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the most active pharma firms on Pinterest. That consistent, frequent pinning and re-pinning puts the firm in the lead when it comes to number of followers and engagement. You know you’ve made it in the big league when your social media marketing encourages your community to share their own passion – which is what Boehringer has done by creating a user-generated Pinterest board. Followers are able to contribute their own images to the board and become part of the conversation.


Best Use of Pinterest: Disease Awareness. Boehringer Ingelheim might be among the best examples of how Pinterest is fabulous for disease awareness, education, and managing symptoms. The company dedicates individual boards to such conditions as lung cancer, asthma, diabetes and hepatitis C. No FDA compliance issues here: These boards spotlight the disease, not the therapies or meds developed by Boehringer to cure them.


Menarini Spain: The firm features 12 boards that run the range of multimedia content. Menarini Spain uses images, video, and infographics to create a rich experience for followers. The company’s content includes healthcare provider training topics, health and wellness tips for patients, and a board aimed at reducing the divide between healthcare and digital health initiatives (eHealth): “Together Against Digital Isolation.”


Best Use of Pinterest: Hashtags. Menarini has mastered the use of the hashtag on Pinterest – a platform where other companies use it sparingly. The #health2.0 hashtag and others link a follower back to the main website to optimize traffic and build the community.


These big pharma companies are leading the way on Pinterest, and others are getting on board even as I write this. A platform once considered just a niche player in the social media space has become one of the fastest growing, with a user base that exploded in just a few short years and massive impact as a referring site. The worst Pinterest Fail would be not joining the party.


Don’t worry, Instagram: We’ll get to you soon.

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