Social Media Marketing for Healthcare Providers
Several of the latest consumer research studies indicate that:
- 40% of recent hospital urgent care patients said that social media influenced them
- 50% of 25-34 year olds reported that social media was their deciding factor when choosing a hospital or doctor
- 81% of healthcare consumers consider a hospital with an active online presence to be cutting edge
The statistics are in and it’s hard to ignore that social media is and will continue to be an important part of healthcare marketing. So, with that said, how should healthcare facilities incorporate social media marketing into their overall marketing plans? There are countless ways to improve your social media presence and connect with the public, and healthcare providers should choose the strategies that align with their goals and target audiences. Here are seven methods that have proven to be quite successful:
1. Provide Outstanding Content
Content is king – strike a balance with emotional content that appeals to patients and their families, and educational content that positions your hospital or medical center as an expert to the public and journalists. Make sure your content is telling a story, that draws people in as well as entices them to take action and spread the word.
2. Be a news source to consumers and the media
Social media can serve as a news resource to both consumers and mainstream media. Therefore, it is important to keep your social media channels up to date with relevant industry trends so that you can adequately communicate with your audience. In return your audience will rely on you to stay informed.
A recent survey revealed that 70% of journalists are now using social media to assist in their reporting. With this large percentage it only makes sense for health care marketers to get on board and reap the benefits by using social media to gain larger exposure to both mainstream media and industry publications. In addition, blogs and forums can be used to share exceptional treatment and operation successes as well as innovative medical research and significant achievements.
3. Tweet live procedures
This may sound intrusive or crass, buts it’s actually a wonderful education tool to raise public awareness. It can attract a large audience because of its previous exclusivity, only available to those inside the operating room. In addition, this bold and exciting marketing platform can help healthcare organizations recruit medical personnel as well as attract new patients.
A great example – Henry Ford Hospital became the first hospital to live tweet a medical procedure. This marketing magic set twitter into a frenzy of re-tweets and messages from both curious observers and from the Henry Ford operating room.
4. Answer health questions and concerns
As you already know the Internet is a source of knowledge for most people. When it comes to our health people tend to become amateur medical researchers with 73% of patients searching for a diagnosis or information online before and after a doctor visit. Unfortunately, not all information out there is accurate and this is where integrating social media into your healthcare marketing mix can be beneficial for providing information about symptoms, diseases, medications, treatments and much more.
5. Conduct Training
Health care providers are beginning to understand the tremendous potential impact of leveraging social media to complement training efforts. Some exciting benefits are:
- The ability for trainees to ask questions and receive immediate responses.
- Providing immediate feedback from trainees to presenters.
- The sharing of slideshows and videos from training sessions on YouTube or Flickr to compliment the health care marketing efforts.
6. Manage Crisis Situations
Natural and unnatural disasters are inevitable, and hospitals are usually in the center of it all. Being a source of real time updates and information through social media for both those individuals involved as well as those watching from afar can prove to be invaluable in such uncertain circumstances.
7. Follow your target audiences
Healthcare providers need to connect with their audiences on the channels they’re using. When planning a social media marketing strategy, it’s imperative to remember to be active on social media platforms and review sites. So, for example, if someone posts a review on Yelp about their experience at your hospital, you need to know about it and be responsive.
If your healthcare organization is not already taking advantage of social media marketing now is the time to get started. The benefits of getting social are priceless.