Social Media in Healthcare: 7 Ways to Increase Consumer Engagement in 2022

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Social media is an indisputable knowledge hub for every type of consumer, including the healthcare consumer.

In the United States alone, eight in 10 internet users search for health information online and 74% of these people use social media. Consumers are returning to their favorite social media platforms time and again to get the information they need from the sources they know and trust. 

With this knowledge, many medical practitioners and healthcare organizations are leveraging social media platforms to educate and engage their audience. 

Social media in healthcare allows businesses to:

  • Gain valuable insights into their consumers,
  • Create hyper-targeted ads,
  • Build first-party data,
  • Drive targeted traffic to their website or campaign-specific landing page,
  • Increase sales, and
  • Directly track their return on investment (ROI).

Social media introduces larger targeted audiences to your products and services, which in turn helps build long-lasting relationships.

Relevant, engaging social ads also mean more conversions and increased revenue for your business.

How is your healthcare organization using social media today? Is your hospital, addiction center, or multilocation practice making the most of platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your site, generate new customers, boost engagement, and ultimately grow your business?  

In this post, I share seven important trends for social media in healthcare to help you successfully market your brand to consumers this year and beyond.

7 Healthcare Social Media Marketing Trends for 2022

Meeting your consumers on their preferred platforms with relevant, entertaining, and engaging content is the best way to nurture long-term relationships and grow your business.

Consider these crucial areas when building your healthcare social media marketing strategy to improve your presence, increase engagement, and boost revenue.

1.     Allocate budget for social media advertising

There was a time when marketing budgets didn’t allocate time and money for social media. But in 2022, social media is considered an integral part of the marketing budget.

According to a recent report from the CMO Survey, 56% of respondents indicated social media significantly contributed to their company's overall performance in 2021. Moreover, many of these executives expect to double their social media spending over the next five years.

In this case, you’ll need to spend money to make money, but defining your business objectives and aligning your advertising strategy will help you achieve return on your investment.

2.     Develop deeper buyer personas

Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer and are the framework of an effective marketing strategy. In 2022, they’re also responsible for effective social media campaigns.

Deeper, segmented buyer personas help businesses understand individual customers' emotional and behavioral triggers within their target audience. They help identify where to find them online and what makes them tick.

When it comes to social media in healthcare, buyer personas also help businesses create more personalized and accurate content, break through the clutter, and engage with their target audience.

Our blog has recently covered a few posts about generational marketing and personas. Through demographic data, we’ve learned that over 81% of Generation X has a Facebook account, of which 77% are active users, making it an excellent platform for healthcare organizations.

The Gen Z buyer persona (ages 25 and under) is another generation we’ve written about. This group is predominately (82%) skipping paid social ads in favor of recommendations from peer influencers. While healthcare businesses may be tempted to eschew this younger audience, they shouldn’t. Gen Z represents more than 20% of the US population and they garner influence across all ages and socioeconomic statuses. Building and nurturing these relationships today will positively impact your business as this generation grows older.

3.     Leverage LinkedIn for B2B marketing in healthcare

LinkedIn is the world's largest online professional network. It's where professional relationships are built, careers are nurtured, and business is done. As COVID continues to affect businesses across the globe, and online meetings continue as the primary means of connection, it’s now the go-to content marketing channel for B2B marketers.

Recent research by McKinsey & Company found 70-80% of B2B decision makers prefer remote interactions with sellers and digital self-service, further solidifying LinkedIn’s place at the top of the B2B marketer’s social media toolkit.

Organizations are already using LinkedIn to build authority, attract new customers, and develop partnerships. U.S. businesses are expected to top $2 billion in LinkedIn ad spend by 2023.

Healthcare organizations with a sizable B2B target audience should leverage LinkedIn to showcase their thought leadership and attract a more targeted local, regional, or global audience.

Still not convinced you need LinkedIn as part of your healthcare social media marketing plan? In a recent study of over 5,000 businesses, HubSpot found that traffic from LinkedIn generated the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate at 2.74%—nearly three times higher than both Twitter and Facebook.

This suggests LinkedIn is not only the go-to platform for businesses, but also a rich resource of high-quality B2B leads.

4.     Embrace short-form, vertical video content

TikTok and Instagram reels have revived short-form vertical video content. While healthcare organizations may not find their target audience following the latest TikTok trend, they shouldn’t ignore short-form video content in their social strategy.

According to a recent Instagram Engagement Report from Hubspot, video content generates twice the engagement as image and carousel posts. By that same token, tweets with videos generate 10x more engagement than those without.

Short-form, vertical video content is not only an engaging form of storytelling, it’s also a powerful tool businesses can use to connect with their audience on a deeper level, spotlight products, and raise awareness about the causes they support.

Try this for social media in healthcare: Instead of promoting a single-camera video testimonial from a patient, engage your audience with a more visually engaging video that captures the whole story. You can include the physician's perspective, the patient journey toward wellness, and patient outcome.

5.     Invest in quality creative services

Stunning creative creates a relevant user experience and strengthens your overarching digital marketing strategy. Are you marrying actionable offers with unique creative to get noticed?

Today’s consumers want to be drawn in and entertained. They want compelling brand stories and relevant offers.

According to a recent survey from Celtra (serviced by Dynata, a global online market research firm), 51% of respondents said creative assets with relevant offers are the most memorable.

Maintaining consistent branding across multiple platforms is equally important. 60% of consumers are more likely to distrust a brand when their ads or content don’t match their website, social platforms, or apps.

Investing in high-quality creative services and cohesive messaging across every consumer touchpoint will not only encourage deeper engagement but it will also build trust with your target audience.

6.     Be authentic and connect with your social media audience

Healthcare social media marketing has to be accessible content that’s transparent, straightforward, educational, consistent, and entertaining.

More than half of consumers (55%) want brands to use social media to connect like-minded people, while more than a third (36%) are looking for community.
Healthcare businesses that focus on relationship-building tactics on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter are more likely to see their social pages at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) alongside their company website.

Have you implemented these tactics on your social media platforms?

      • Share industry news and educational content on a consistent schedule
      • Find new and exciting ways to promote your products and services
      • Make regular connections with your followers

7.     Pivot to first-party data collection

Advertising on social media platforms will become increasingly important as Google phases out its third-party cookie tracking by the end of 2023

Social media in healthcare gives businesses the ability to reach larger, more targeted audiences in a very personal and direct way. For years, the internet has given marketers the ability to collect valuable third-party data points on users, allowing them to develop increasingly personalized, relevant ads. 

Before the Google cookie crumbles, healthcare social media marketing must focus on gathering as much first-hand information as they can about their users. 

This means deploying hyper-relevant marketing content that engages and persuades consumers to exchange valuable personal information for content (think white papers, ebooks, checklists, etc.).

Consumers must be the focus of every piece of social media content, strategy, or campaign you create to stay competitive and increase revenue in 2022 and beyond. As healthcare consumerism continues to rise, so does the need for high-quality, showstopping creative, compelling brand stories and relevant offers that engage and inspire.

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