I love social media, and I think one of the most interesting social media forums these days is Pinterest. It’s also extremely underused by the biotech industry.
When it comes to social media as a whole, some may complain about how it’s making people interact less in person or making people worse writers. Or you may say it’s just another thing to take up your time — or to distract your employees from what they really should be doing. But I love it, and I use it for lots of business and communications purposes. I found out about the GSK acquisition of HGS through social media. I hear about interesting biotech events via social media. I also learn a lot about a company’s culture through social media. It really can be a good thing. And there are so many ways that the biotech industry can be using social media to engage with colleagues, customers, etc. So here is my Pinterest 101 overview for you and examples of how it can be used as a very effective resource and tool for your company.
Pinterest: A Primer
So what the heck is Pinterest anyway? In its own words: “Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes. Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.” Simple enough, right?
But it’s not always so simple if you’re not a naturally “visual” brand, and many biotechs aren’t. After all, how many different ways can you photograph a pill or medical device, right?
But the truth is, with a little thought and planning, you could be using Pinterest. Below are some ideas and examples of how you can embrace this “hot” social media outlet.
- Behind the Scenes: What’s it really like to work at your company? What does a day in the life look like for some of your researchers? General Electric does a great job of this with its From the Factory Floor board. This is a chance to show people what your corporate culture is really like and the hard work your employees undertake on a regular basis.
- Contests: One of the best ways to engage consumers is through contests. Challenge people to pin something that somehow relates back to your work. Here’s an example of a GE contest page.
- Art: Let’s face it… there’s some cool science-inspired art out there. Maybe it’s art that your staff is creating or something you’re finding online that is science inspired. Either way, encourage your staff to pin it. And not to beat a dead horse, but GE has another great example of art Under the Microscope with a very clear explanation of how it relates back to the company.
- Industry Cartoons: Everyone likes a good laugh. Why not start a board where you pin the best biotech/industry cartoons? (After all, who wouldn’t laugh at this Harris “miracle” cartoon, right?)
- Community Involvement: Everyone likes a company that’s also a good corporate citizen. Photograph and pin pictures of your staff out in the world doing good, similar to what FedEx is doing.
- Customer/Consumer Interests: Is your company creating a new diabetes drug or medical device? Maybe you want to create a Pinterest board where you pin diabetes friendly recipes or exercise ideas/trends. Is your company working within the cancer space? Why not create an inspiration board where you encourage individuals with cancer — and those in remission — to pin pictures, sayings, videos, etc., that helped boost their morale during their treatments?
- Research Breakthroughs: Similar to #6, if your company focuses on a specific disease or issue, maybe you want to create a Pinterest board where you pin links to stories about research breakthroughs in your area.
- Corporate Values: Bayer, for example, claims that sustainability is a core corporate value. In fact, it’s created a Pinterest board where it pins about what its doing to live out that value. Great idea! But an even more robust use of this board on Bayer’s part would include it pinning innovative sustainability initiatives by other companies.
- STEM Initiatives: STEM is hot right now. What is your company doing to get kids excited about science? Pinterest is a great avenue to show off your work in this realm. Bayer does it.
- History: Has your company been around for awhile? Dig through your archives and post archival footage. Are you working to improve medical technology? How about a board that shows what old medical devices looked like and did vs. what yours look like and do?
- Topical Boards: Another Board I think is great is Cath Lab. Imagine if your company created stents for hearts or some heart-related medication and you created a board with interesting graphics of hearts like this one.
- Patient Stories: Do you have people who want to sing your praises. Here’s a great place to show them off. Novo Nordisk is one example of a company doing just that.
There’s so much you could be doing on Pinterest if you give a little thought and look at it as an opportunity to engage with people beyond the standard conversations… Looking for more inspiration? Check out GE, Petridish, and Katie’s SeeMyScience Board. Or just go surfing on the site and find your own inspiration for how your company can tackle this social media outlet… after all, most of what I’ve read says that not many biotechs are there yet. It may be an opportunity for your company to do something new and different and really stand out from the crowd.