Monday, March 26, 2012

A Pinteresting Approach to the FDA Social Media Guidelines

When Twitter first came on the scene, I challenged myself to meet and converse with a complete stranger every day for 3 months and then tweet about it (hence my Twitter handle, @talkswstrangers).

My latest challenge to self, (prompted in part by my role as editor of this blog) has been to keep even more on top of what’s going on in social media. I tasked myself with this for 2 reasons:

      1.    Because I’m constantly working in pursuit of a higher Klout score.
      2.    Because part of my job is to find new social media opportunities for extrovertic’s clients within the confines of the FDA social media guidelines for pharmaceutical marketing.

To accomplish my goals, I decided to spend some time every day looking for new social media sites, becoming a member, and participating in whatever it is they are offering. My latest find, Pinterest, describes itself as a “virtual pinboard” that:

allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.

What’s so cool about this site is that, other than appeasing my need to gaze at extensive visuals of beautiful clothing and delicious-looking pastries, Pinterest also offers interesting opportunities for the healthcare industry at large.

On my latest visit, I spent some time on the Pinterest healthcare board. Working at a healthcare marketing agency like extrovertic, this particular board piqued my interest. Since there are no rules about or limitations on what qualifies as a certain category, there’s an unspoken anything-goes mentality. When I looked, people had pinned images of: 
      ·      X-rays
      ·      Paul Farmer’s book Pathologies of Power
      ·      Florence Nightingale

The point is, peoples’ personal perceptions of what ‘makes’ healthcare is left open to interpretation via a site like Pinterest. To that end, I think that healthcare and pharmaceutical companies (and agencies!) may have an interesting outlet to tap here. Create a pinboard about a medical condition or category and see what people pin to it. People who suffer from various conditions can have the opportunity to visually represent how they feel—it can be the mood board of the future. Marketers can then derive keen insights into what people are saying about certain categories. It’s market research in its basest form. And yet another way for extrovertic to develop a deeper understanding of our target demographics.

I’m not saying that Pinterest can address or solve all the FDA regulatory issues via social media. Or that it won’t present its own slew of problems. But it seems at the very least worth exploring. This was probably one of my most productive self-challenges to date. Making a pinboard can be an enlightening experience!



  1. Absolutely right on, Jamie.

    A pinterest board on a disease state could be like those terrific focus groups when people tear stuff out of magazines to help them articulate what they're feeling, except they won't be limited to magazines b/c y'know, they'd only be limited to the whole internet.

    Looking forward to doing that & seein' the results!

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  3. I like it. Everything identified is healthcare to me. On the internet everything is open to interpretation and situation, it's good netiquette!

  4. Bayer dips toe into Pinterest: