In general as marketers, we feel as though our organizations are thriving when they have achieved top-of-mind awareness among our consumers. Being the most remembered name in your industry or market is absolutely something to write home about.
Top-of-mind awareness is especially critical in healthcare marketing. Prospective patients may not need your organization’s services when they see or hear its name in an advertisement or drive past your facility, and that can keep them from engaging with you until it’s necessary. However, through social media, you’re able to engage frequently and remind them that you’re ready to help when the need arises.
Social media is not only a tool for community engagement, it is the No. 1 tool for this purpose. Engagement on social media can be measured through interactions with the content on your channels — likes, comments, shares and clicks.
Use of social media in healthcare
Social media marketing helps you do two important things as a marketer: share information and tell stories.
- Information sharing: Patients and their families are trusting your organization with their lives and respond better when you to keep them in the know. In addition to using your social media channels to promote new doctors, services and centers, be sure to also communicate breaking news in your area including disease outbreaks and other health related concerns. You should also keep in mind that your organization plays a role not only in treating health conditions but also in preventing them, so inspire healthy living by posting lifestyle content like recipes and wellness tips.
- Storytelling: Personal stories, including those about patients and employees, make great social media posts because they drive the most engagement. Healthcare is a people-centered business, so focusing on human-interest stories goes a long way.
Lead with stories about your employees
Among our clients who use storytelling in their content marketing, we’ve found that employee-of-the-month stories yield the most engagement. These stories send a powerful message -- that your organization values its own people.
This content drums up excitement from coworkers of the featured employee, prompting them to engage. When coworkers comment on the post with excited, encouraging remarks, consumers see the camaraderie playing out. This engagement sends another powerful message -- that your employees care about each other.
Benefits of social media in healthcare
Social media offers a number of benefits especially to healthcare marketers.
- Your audience is here. 69% of Americans use social media, and about 80% of internet users look online for health information. Need we say more?
- Social media is measurable. You can view stats on each social media platform to evaluate how your content is performing. This data gives you the information you need to validate your strategy or adjust it as needed. And, metrics are the language that your organization’s doctors and leadership speak.
- Social media often prompts traditional media interest. As any good reporter keeps their ear to the ground for story ideas, they also keep their eyes peeled on social media. This media interest can extend your marketing budget when you use it as a tool to share details on events and programming within your organization.
- Social media gives you your own platform. If public relations is part of your wheelhouse, you’ve had the pleasure of competing with breaking news and advertisements. Social media, specifically Facebook Live events and live tweeting, gives you your very own platform for covering milestone events. These events may include innovative procedures and ribbon cuttings for new buildings or centers.
- You have control. Social media is unfiltered and, therefore, the most direct way for any organization in any industry to communicate with its audiences.
Create deeper engagement with your community at large
Your community is your most valuable asset as a healthcare system. Having their buy in will drive growth, boost your reputation and build loyalty. We have some suggestions for getting volume-driven and market share-winning conversations started and keeping them going.
Events include seminars, blood drives, health screenings, walks and condition-specific support groups. These events, which bring traffic both by foot and on the web, provide consumers with free access to services that some individuals may not have had access to before.
They also create a halo effect. For example, attending at an event that promotes health and wellness may set someone on the path to improving their lifestyle.
Use the event feature in Facebook to promote events in advance, and you can boost them to target a specific audience. If details change, you can instantly update the event listing, eliminating the hassle of sending a revised invitation or having to turn to the media to get the word out. Once the event concludes, share a photo or album as a recap on Facebook or Instagram.
Content, content, content!
Social media is a unique content marketing channel, not only because organic content lives there, but it’s also the MVP of your content distribution team. Follow these tips for using social media to distribute stories to your audiences:
- Pull from your existing content. Build blog and patient stories sites for posting search engine optimized versions of the content from your existing storytelling channels. These channels may include your organization’s community magazines and service line newsletters.
- Keep it green. Evergreen is the most effective content for digital. We live in a world where things move so fast, so if it’s old news, people won’t read it.
- Link it up. As you distribute content, your social media channels will show a lot of love by linking to your organization’s website, blogs and patient stories sites. Be sure to reciprocate by linking from these sites back to your social media channels.
Sharing content from other organizations
Because engagement requires regular and frequent interaction, it’s important to account for dry spells. Sharing other organizations’ content is a way to feed your channels with minimal effort and keeps your audiences satisfied. Only share content from reputable brands and authoritative voices whose missions align with that of your organization.
Sharing other organizations’ content builds partnerships, which allow all parties to bring to the table what they do best and benefit from what the other parties do best. Just think, one day when you’re killin’ it with content creation, other organizations just may return the favor and share your content!
Consistency is the key
No pressure — but your audience has expectations for the frequency of the communication they’re going to receive from your social media channels. Not only do they appreciate seeing content from you and receiving responses to their comments, but Facebook and Google do too. For example, the more engagement on your Facebook posts, the more frequently the platform will show your posts to other people.
More about how Facebook’s algorithm works: If you post on a Tuesday and then don’t post for another two weeks, then Facebook assumes that you have nothing to say. When you finally post something, Facebook assumes it’s not important and, therefore, doesn’t show it to as many of your followers as it would have if your channel were more active.
While consistency is the key, that doesn’t mean that you must beat your head against a wall trying to find the perfect time to post content and stick to that. Facebook has a tool that makes it easy: Use the Insights feature to learn when your followers are online and target your posting during those times. A rule of thumb across all platforms: Evenings are best, because social media users are most active during this time.
Set a goal and keep it
Set a goal for your social media channels such as posting frequency or types of content and stick with it. You can build on it as you have capacity. And if your organization is working to wrap its arms around how best to use social media, we’ve got you covered. Our experts are here to help you streamline the process and create organic content that will help you build a long-term relationship with your community.