By Robin Elise Weiss, PhDc, MPH, CPH, ICCE-CPE, ICPFE, CLC, CD(DONA), BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE
Today on Science & Sensibility, social media expert and Lamaze International President Robin Elise Weiss shares how she uses the popular social media platform Pinterest with her childbirth education classes and offers suggestions on how you can use it as well with great results. – Sharon Muza, Science & Sensibility Community Manager.
Pinterest is the hottest new social media format and it can be a great addition to your childbirth classes. Pinterest is like a virtual cork board, where you add “pins” (links) to content that you see and like. You can categorize them however you wish, though most people usually have multiple boards on which to pin.
A Pinterest account is free of charge. You can register at http://pinterest.com.
It is a very simple format and once you start pinning it is usually quickly learned. You can have multiple boards. The boards can be public or private. You can pin alone or invite others to pin on your boards.
Here are a few ways that you can use Pinterest to extend or supplement your childbirth classes:
1. Have a Board for Anyone Interested in That Topic (Level: Beginner)
This simply requires that you are a member of Pinterest and have a board that has at least one pin on it. Examples of board topics might be as broad as pregnancy or as focused as pain relief in labor. As you see content on Pinterest, you simply add more pins to the board.
Each board has an individual URL, therefore you can send that specific URL to everyone in class, simply as extra reading material or interesting things that you find. If you are using Pinterest as something that is business only, you might just show them your main URL and let them chose to follow a specific board or all of your boards.
2. Have a Board for Each Series (Level: Intermediate)
If you have already gotten the hang of Pinterest and are ready for the next level, you might want to consider doing a private board that is for each series. You would start a board, and set its privacy setting to private. Then send out invitations to everyone in class. You can choose whether to allow them to pin or not. I personally enjoy letting my students pin.
Letting the students pin can show you where they are looking for pregnancy and birth interest, but it can also help you find new things online. Another educator that I spoke with said that she was worried about letting the students pin to the boards, in case it was not an appropriate link. Another wonderful feature is the comments section. You or students, can post to each pin. So you can handle it the same way that you might handle a student in class who just presented misinformation as fact.
After the babies have arrived, this board can morph into their support system. You can drop in and post a few links every now and then, but it is a great way for them to stay together and continue learning from each other.
3. Have a Board for Each Class Within a Series (Level: Expert)
You might also consider using a different board for each class within a series. The benefit of doing this is that Class One info is altogether on one board and the same for every class after that. This can make it easier for parents to find information on a specific topic.
The down side is that you now manage multiple boards for every series. I will say that in addition to the individual class boards that I have done, I also incorporate a board like I described in section two. This is to allow for the social aspects. The parents can pin baby shower and nursery pins, which might not be on my radar, but are important to them. It’s a place for them to share product recommendations, and to talk in the comments. So, I do not see this as an either or option, but rather as an addition to the boards.
All of this can seem to be really overwhelming. It is important to find a plan that works for you. One thing that I would recommend is to keep a list of links that you like. Do not reinvent the wheel. While you will have to add them, no one will know that you are reusing pins. And example might be an infographic from Lamaze. You want every class you teach to see it and repin it. Your fall series class won’t know that you used the same pins because they are on a different, private board.
You should also devise a schedule for when to pin which pin. So for example, if you’re teaching about epidurals, you might not post about epidurals until just before or just after that class. Ask questions under the links yourself, let the students answer.
There are also ways to use Pinterest to further your business, but that’s another article. Are you currently using Pinterest as a birth professional? Do you already use it in your classes? Share how you use it with clients and students, and any suggestions you might have for the new user.
About Robin Weiss
Robin Elise Weiss, PhDc, MPH, CPH, ICCE-CPE, ICPFE, CLC, CD(DONA), BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, is a childbirth educator in Louisville, KY. She is also the President of Lamaze International. You can find her at pregnancy.about.com and robineliseweiss.com