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Issue: 64 - Apr 15, 2014
Pinterest - for Veterinarians?
By: Michael LoSasso
Shamrock Direct Media

I heard that.  Yes, that groan. “Another article on another social media tool.” And Pinterest of all things! What do cupcakes and arts & crafts have to do with practicing medicine? Nothing. However, contrary to what you might think, Pinterest is not all baking recipes and wedding planning.

What is Pinterest, any way?

Let’s start here. Pinterest is a form of “social media,” that uses pictures (termed “pins,” as in “pushpin”) arranged on “boards” (as in “bulletin boards”).  Individuals, and businesses, can create Boards on whatever subject they choose, and “pin” pictures they find to these boards.  

These pictures could be from someone else’s Pinterest boards (the “social” aspect of the medium), but they could be uploaded from that person’s computer or phone, or “pinned” from anywhere on the Internet.

But that’s where the “social” aspect of Pinterest pretty much stops, and the real power begins. Pinterest is not competing with other social media sites, like Facebook or Twitter. The real power of Pinterest is in search, and their competition is, you guessed it, Google. And you might be surprised to see who is winning.

But why should I care?

Let me suggest an experiment that will take you less than a minute:

  1. Google “heartworm disease,” and look at your results - three links to the American Heartworm Society, then PetMD, FDA and the ASPCA. Nothing visual (at least, that’s what I got).
  2. In Pinterest, type “heartworm disease” in the Search box in the upper left corner.

Here’s what I got:

Difficult to read, I understand. The point is this - the results are visual, and very quickly absorbed and understood.

What happens if I click on a pin?

Users can click on a pin to see it full screen, they can add it to their own boards, they can “like” it, and they can send it to other users.

Did you notice the bottom pin in the second column? That’s right - videos can be pinned, too. If you click on that pin, it will enlarge, and the video is immediately playable.

Do you know what happens if you click on an enlarged pin? It opens a browser window to the address associated with that image.

Let’s say you have a blog, and you write one article a week (or month). If you add an image, that image alone will get you many more clicks on Facebook. Put that image on your Pinterest board, associate it with the blog post (one of the questions Pinterest will ask when you add a pin is the associated URL), and anyone that clicks on that pin will be taken to your blog post, no matter how many times it is “re-pinned.” An excellent way to increase your website traffic!

I’d also use those weekly blog posts to build a monthly email newsletter, but that was a different article…

Tips for Pinterest images

  1. Use
  2. Add an interesting caption to the top of your image/photo.
  3. Add your web address to the bottom (or wherever it makes sense).
  4. Add a good, useful description (including your city name - the people that you really want to find your pins are people looking in your area, not overseas).
  5. Consider building a pet owner library - you don’t have to start from scratch! Re-pin images from DVM360 or AAHA, for example.

Other tips

Tell your clients that you are on Pinterest!

  1. Put a link in your email newsletter, on your Facebook page, and on your homepage.
  2. Better yet (for your homepage), check out Pinterest’s widget builder to put a profile of your Pinterest boards anywhere on your website.

Check out the tools at - there are lots of tutorials and helpful hints to increase your success!