According to TechCrunch, on average, consumers spend five hours per day on mobile devices. With so much time spent on technology and so much information at their fingertips, chances are clients see large amounts of flawed nutrition messages on social media.
Dietitians must be more prominent voices on platforms clients already use, guiding them to reliable, evidence-based information. This practice benefits not only clients, who will have access to better information, but also RDs, who can use online exposure to build their businesses. There are many options available for online engagement, but one simple tool is Pinterest.
What Is Pinterest and How Does It Work?
In the most basic sense, Pinterest is a place to save and organize images and videos—“visual bookmarks” called pins—from around the web. Pinterest works as a search engine where users can browse or look for topics that interest them and/or meet their needs. It’s estimated that 2 billion searches occur on Pinterest each month.
Your pins are visible to other Pinterest users, and you can organize pins into boards on, for example, different types of recipes (eg, low-fat dinner ideas, healthful snack recipes, 30-minute meals, low-sodium recipes). You also can create boards dedicated to nutrition information about different goals and conditions, such as type 1 diabetes, heart disease, lowering cholesterol, and weight loss.
A free Pinterest for business account is a great way to boost your practice or brand and build and maintain your client base by sharing engaging and reliable information. Find step-by-step instructions for setting up a business account here.
Once you have a business account, start creating boards specific to those clients you want to reach. For example, if you counsel patients on heart disease, your board might be named “Heart Disease Information.” Pins on this board might include tips on lowering sodium in meals, label reading, and high-fiber recipes. If you have lots of information on high-fiber recipes for heart disease, consider making a separate board dedicated to this topic alone, including only pins relating to high-fiber recipes for patients with heart disease.
Making the Most of Pinterest
Knowing the ins and outs of Pinterest enables you to use it to your full advantage to educate your clients and boost your practice.
Choose your keywords carefully. Keywords are words that clients use to search for information. Keyword-rich titles and descriptions will enable your boards and pins to be found more easily via search, gaining access to those 2 billion monthly searches.
Pinterest also makes it easy to find out what people are searching for in order to tap into your client base. Try this out:
- Type “heart disease” into the Pinterest search bar. After you click “search,” you’ll see across the top, right under the search bar, boxes containing words. These are keywords.
- Click on one of the words, such as “diet,” to reveal more keywords.
- Continue to click through these words to dive deeper into more subtopics.
- When choosing your keywords, consider what keywords your pins answer questions about and use those words.
Pinterest’s 150 million monthly active users are searching for answers or looking to get inspired. There’s a good chance that your brand has a ready and willing community waiting for you on Pinterest—if you can grab their attention with the right language.
Once you’ve grasped how keywords work, your boards are now ready to be filled with appropriate content, including recipes and health information on topics you want to share with clients.
Pin others’ content. You can pin straight from the web. By installing the Pinterest browser button, whenever you find content you want to add to your boards, you can pin right from your browser. Download the browser button here. Once installed, click the “Pin it” icon in your browser to save an image and the accompanying link on one of your Pinterest boards.
You also can repin right from Pinterest. When you find pins from others that you want to add to your own boards, look for the “Pin it” button by hovering, or on the pin’s main page. You can edit the description if desired, and choose the board you want to pin it to.
Pin content of your own. This links back to your work. You can create visually appealing images using free design sites such as Canva and PicMonkey. Don’t have photos of your own? Try Pixabay and Unsplash for access to copyright-free photos.
Now that you have boards and pins, you can direct clients to your Pinterest account for diet-specific recipes, helpful articles, and useful videos.
Clients will reap value from your time spent curating content specific to their needs, while you reach other potential clients seeking similar information.
The following are examples of RDs utilizing Pinterest to build their businesses and brands: Erica Julson, Create Kids Club, and Real Food Real Deals. For other Pinterest-specific guidance, check out Simple Pin Media.
— Jodi Danen, RDN, is a family nutrition blogger at Create Kids Club. She’s creator of Lunch Bites lunch box note cards.