By Kathy Roy Gaughran
Senior Marketing Strategist
These days, it’s unusual for an organization not to have several social media accounts. Whether or not you post healthcare content regularly, chances are high that your healthcare organization, like most brands, has some sort of social media presence.
Social platforms have become a vital and vibrant health resource for consumers—and not just for Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996). According to a Journal of Medical Internet Research eHealth Literacy study, nearly 90 percent of older adults have used social media to seek and share health information.
Ninety percent. That’s an overwhelming majority of Gen X’ers, Baby Boomers and many of their parents—all actively communicating about health issues, exchanging ideas and experiences, posting reviews or searching for providers and support communities…the list goes on.
Find Your Fit for Healthcare Content
Just because a social platform is wildly popular, that doesn’t mean it will benefit your practice. It’s important to think about your specialty, audience demographics, location and the type of healthcare content you’ll create (I’ll get to that next).
Each of these will help you decide which platform(s) are worth the time and effort required to engage the patients you really want. Our digital team is staffed with social media masters who can help you determine which platforms are worth your time and how best to take advantage of them.
Make Your Content Count
Once you find the platforms you want to use, you still have to give people good reasons to follow and engage with your practice. Content that’s informational and educational is clickable, consumable, shareable content.
The truth is, most healthcare organizations won’t gain a heavy following or see new patients simply by posting organically about their practices or hospital. The best way to utilize social media to actually win new patients is with paid social media—more on the differences here.
Still, posting things like well-crafted, yet short videos that educate people about topics related to your specialty or providing your take on trending health and wellness topics will increase your chance of being viewed and shared across the web. The content you generate must be practice-appropriate and meaningful, informative, relevant and engaging to your audience. (That means more substantial content than the occasional staff birthday post.)
5 Ways to Create Quality Healthcare Content
Content creation takes time, attention to detail, and a steadfast commitment to HIPAA and Food and Drug Administration advertising compliance. Below are a few key methods to produce valuable content that resonates with audiences and bolsters your online reputation:
- Clear up fuzzy medical information and claims – With the immediacy of answers available on the internet, so too comes misinformation. Whether you’re a specialty or family practice, you can bring clarity, caution or even confirmation to popular cosmetic treatments or medical, dental and nutritional topics.
- Assist with local crisis management – Social media has become the place to communicate breaking news, share safety or medical information during natural disasters and post vital information during a health crisis. Your role could be in anything from announcing 24-hour services to treat ill or injured residents or providing medical supplies to emergency teams.
- Be a public health servant – Getting help, advice or treatment for certain health needs can be difficult for many people. Some feel embarrassed or insecure about even talking to a doctor about things like sexually transmitted diseases, contraception or mental health issues. In providing informative content that connects an audience to resources— either at your practice or to a trusted professional colleague—can enhance your reputation for caring for and serving the community.
- Connect with patients – Of course, HIPAA compliance prevents healthcare providers from commenting on a patient’s PHI in a public forum. However, there are many other ways to use social media to connect with existing patients. You can encourage patients to follow your social media to get important updates about your staff, services, and educational events, for example.
- Marketing – With social media being such an active hub for healthcare marketers, providers and consumers, it’s no surprise a growing percentage of practices are delving into social marketing. Especially with the efficiency and effectiveness of paid social advertising, which can be targeted to people who are looking for a particular service or healthcare solution. Even better, if your ads on social media fall short of meeting your goals for getting new patients in the door, your campaign can be adjusted on the fly (by an expert digital team). By dialing up a message, changing a photograph or editing a video, you can affect clicks, shares and calls for appointments quickly.
It’s an exciting time to be learning and exploring all the possibilities of social media—but it starts with the right strategy. Contact our full service advertising and marketing agency today at 800-656-0907.