In the past few years, healthcare organizations have finally embraced social media as an important part of their marketing strategies. But while many doctors, hospitals, and organizations use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to advertise and to keep in touch, Snapchat is a new frontier for most of us.
Is Snapchat the right fit for your medical organization? Should you incorporate the app as part of your daily marketing strategies? And what are your options for paid advertisements? You might be surprised at the possibilities.
Few healthcare marketers are currently active in Snapchat. There’s a good reason for this. For many years, teenagers were the primary users of the social media platform, which allows users to upload pictures and short videos that are designed to disappear after they’re viewed.
But now, these early adopters of Snapchat are today’s healthcare consumers. Some important stats to know:
(source: Pew Research Center)
Clearly, this demographic won’t fit every type of healthcare organization. But these demographics are visiting urgent care centers, searching for long-term primary care physicians, looking up gynecologists and other specialists, and learning that preventive health is worth it. Many are even caring for children or older generations in the family.
There are many practices and hospitals that post to Facebook daily or weekly in order to stay relevant and market their own content. But this particular strategy may not get you very far on Snapchat.
There are doctors who are active on Snapchat and maintain a steady stream of followers. However, these doctors have put a lot of work into maintaining their brands—people like TV’s Dr. Sandra Lee (@drpimplepopper). One of Snapchat’s most beloved doctors is Dr. Michael Salzhauer (@therealdrmiami), a plastic surgeon who posts both fun and graphic Snapchat stories. (Snapchat does not censor content as other platforms do.) While patients sign consent forms, Dr. Salzhauer’s “snaps” have started a debate about the ethics of posting live surgeries for all to see.
Some doctors have found innovative ways to gain views and followers. One British surgeon used Snapchat Spectacles (sunglasses embedded with a small camera) to stream a live surgery as a teaching tool. Of course, this particular strategy was targeted at the medical community and is not optimal for gaining patients.
So what strategies can help you use Snapchat as a tool to help patients find your hospital or practice? For the most part, you’ll want to investigate Snapchat’s paid advertising options.
Depending on your target demographic, Snap Ads can be ideal for some marketing goals. There are few restrictions on ad content (at least within the US), aside from restrictions on marketing diet products and weight loss services. And the best part? It's a lot of fun to create ads your audience will love.
Your ad can take on a few formats:
Snap ads show up as users view stories from people they follow. Vertical videos showcase your brand and your services, encouraging your audience to get a flu shot, schedule a checkup, or get tested for STDs—and providing a quick link to your website.
Sponsored geofilters let people in or near your office (or near a target location like a college campus or event) take a selfie and add your custom filter over it. An example filter might be a silly frame of teeth with a reminder to floss and see the dentist. The possibilities are limitless!
Finally, AR lenses are the most advanced option. Custom-designed augmented reality features use selfies to make it appear the Snapchat user has transformed into a doctor, for example. In this case, the surgical mask and/or stethoscope would follow the user whenever she turns her head.
Of course, Snapchat advertising won’t be a great fit for every medical specialty or marketing goal. However, Snapchat is an excellent match for many advertising campaigns targeted at users up to age 34.
For more information about using Snapchat and other social media platforms to reach your audience, call Healthcare Success, a full-service healthcare marketing agency, at 800-656-0907.