By Peter Do
Social media has certainly created a buzz among business owners in the last decade, and healthcare practitioners are no exception. However, factors such as how many likes or follows you get on your Facebook page do not necessarily translate into direct revenue or new patients. Employees can waste a lot of time focusing their attention on platforms like Instagram and Facebook.
But there is still value in utilizing organic (unpaid) social media to build your brand—as long as you have a handle on strategy. Scale your social media efforts and reduce added work with these 3 healthcare social media strategy tips.
1. Avoiding Social Media Disasters
The last thing you want is to waste time dealing with a completely preventable social media disaster. When building out social media profiles, these best practices apply across the board, from Facebook and Twitter to LinkedIn and even Doximity, the online social networking service for US clinicians.
Don’t Use Your Personal Profiles
Your social media marketing should center on your healthcare organization’s business profiles, not your personal profiles. For privacy and ethical reasons, providers should customize their personal profiles so that only their “friends” and first-degree connections can see them, and should only accept “friend requests” from non-patients.
You may also consider adding a privacy notice in the “about” section of your social profiles, detailing how patient healthcare is confidential and that your practice respects your patients’ right to privacy. No matter where you are publishing online content, you must always adhere to HIPAA. This includes getting releases before posting patient names, stories, images, or videos.
Develop a Social Media Policy
It’s a wise idea to have a social media policy in place for anyone employed directly or indirectly by your practice. They should be informed to never speak on behalf of your healthcare organization from their personal profile or respond to negative comments on social media pages unless they are instructed to do so.
If you’re ever faced with an unfortunate public crisis due to a patient’s feedback or a staff members’ social media usage, you should seek the advice of both an attorney and crisis management PR specialist before engaging any further online.
2. Keeping Organic Social Media Marketing In-House
Paid social media advertisements are a great way to build community awareness and retarget website visitors with display ads. That’s why many hospitals and practices hire healthcare social media marketing agencies to run targeted ads on their behalf.
Organic social media is a different story. While it’s a great way to build brand awareness, it’s not necessarily a lead generation opportunity for your healthcare organization. In other words, people are unlikely to find your organization and book an appointment after combing through your Facebook profile.
That’s why we don’t recommend shelling out a ton of money to an agency for something easily done in-house. This can actually waste time and energy as an agency that is not aware of your day-to-day activities will have to consult your team about each and every post.
There’s probably someone on your administrative team already who’d be thrilled to do this job. This person can create and post shareable content to engage your community such as informative and SEO-friendly blog posts, photos or videos of your travels to healthcare conferences, and relevant health information from credible sources. Do be sure that any healthcare information you share is not medical advice, but only facts. When appropriate, don’t be afraid to interject humor into your posts to connect more authentically.
3. Automating Social Media Posts
What is social media automation? It’s exactly what it sounds like. You can write social media posts well in advance and schedule the posts to publish at a later date or time. There are a number of platforms that allow for this, though Hootsuite sets the standard.
Not only can you schedule posts; Hootsuite also allows you to track and manage each of your social platforms all in one space. You can monitor what people are saying about your business and respond almost instantly. Automation helps you save time, maintain consistent content online, and target your audience in a meaningful way.
An efficient social media strategy takes work, but is doable and can be worth it so long as you have the right objectives in mind.
At Healthcare Success, we provide hospitals, healthcare organizations, and practices with the tools to enhance their online marketing, including Facebook advertising. For more information, call 800-656-0907.