Pinterest – the social media platform that was apparently created to share recipes, wedding plans, and tattoo ideas – also may be a great way to introduce your network to multimedia that advocates for health. C’mon! Let’s make Pinterest into PHInterest! Here are 3 ways to make it happen.
1. Know your issues and how to communicate them!
It’s true that a picture is worth (at least) a thousand words. However, it’s important to find the right thousand words to use! Conflicting visual imagery can create a board that is off message or too diverse. Organizing your “pins” into coherent “boards” can help, so your followers can understand how to locate your content and what story you’re trying to tell. Choose your pins wisely; a crowded board may convey a confused message! Make sure to spread out your posts during the day, so you can capture the attention of your followers on a more consistent basis.
2. Master the ancient art of the infographic…and when not to use them!
Public health uses a lot of data in order to tell stories. It’s perhaps this characteristic of public health professionals that explains why the infographic is the primary language of public health on Pinterest. Don’t believe me? Just plug “public health” into the search box! I did. Here’s what you’ll get:
Instead of relentless infographics, consider the occasional photo or quote that captures your idea, just to break up how you express your idea. Remember that you don’t always have to tell the whole story in just one image. After all, how many ideas could be developed in a more impactful and visually appealing way from the following (very worthwhile) infographic, thinking about a board as a visual collage of images rather than just one big composition?
Remember, “Pinspiration” is currency of the land on Pinterest. Your infographics and visual images should be clean, easy to interpret, and…uplifting! On Pinterest, it would seem the most effective public health messages should be delivered as “Yes We Can!” and “It’s Great to Be Healthy!” rather than “Dude, You’re Sick!” and “Just Exactly How Messed Up Are You?”
Rather than “Obesity WorldWIDE,” (* Author shudders) why not create a whole series of boards around the health benefits of a normal BMI, healthful recipes, and inspirational quotes about changing behaviors? People who are interested in obesity for personal reasons already may know they’re obese and it’s bad for them. (* Author slowly raises hand here.) Maybe it would be better for users to see something like this after a bad day of dietary decisions:
Pins like this also might pull people into following you who aren’t focused on the issue of obesity.
3. Don’t be afraid to re-pin content that works for your needs.
Unlike most social media platforms, there’s absolutely no need to be completely original in your content. You can re-pin content from other boards in order to save time and resources, and still have a very impactful platform. This skill in curation is a bit like taking care of a collection at a library. Except, instead of a famous author, it’s famous “you”! Use keywords for your pins, in order to optimally target users you would like to reach. You can check the effectiveness of your keywords using Pinterest analytics, in order to have an objective basis for judging how well your content is getting out there.
Pinterest is a fantastic approach for public health professionals to turn Pinterest into PHInterest. Be focused, be positive, and be on the lookout for great content from everywhere!