Originating in 2009, the photo-based social media site Pinterest is quickly becoming a top choice for social media in the pharmaceutical industry. While regulators have been dragging their feet in formally announcing what are considered to be “allowable marketing practices”, numerous pharma companies have found creating pin boards on the increasingly popular social media site to be an effective way to reach consumers, healthcare professionals, and others on a wide range of key issues such as; science and technology, education, and advocacy.
Pinterest has now reached 15% market saturation of Internet users, according to a Pew Internet report, and pharma companies are beginning to take notice. Bayer, Novo Nordisk, and Boehringer Ingelheim, are among the biggest pharma companies getting involved, but smaller companies are exploring the site now too. Bayer alone, now has seven pin boards on the site and effectively uses it to reach Internet users on a wide range of searchable topics.
Sure, hospitals such as The Mayo Clinic, The Cleveland Clinic, and numerous others are finding that the use of video and images makes Pinterest the perfect choice for their needs. But pharma is sure to find a similar niche for itself once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration develops more specific regulations on exactly how pharma will be permitted to interact with consumers on social media.
For now, some pharma companies may continue to view social media as more of a tracking tool than a way to communicate with consumers. Whereas this may be the safe approach, it could also be potentially damaging. Comapanies that fail to react quickly enough to the growing popularity of social media in general, or perhaps more specifically Pinterest, will run the risk of falling behind the times. As reported by Tech Crunch, Pinterest has already reached 10 million visitors faster than any other independent site in history. Pharma companies would be wise to pay attention and not let an opportunity to keep a presence on Pinterest in the social media world pass them by before it is too late.