By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
[Series Installment: The Worst Mistakes Healthcare Organizations Make When Trying to Attract Patients from the Internet, Mistake Nine: Failure to Use Social Media Properly; from the Healthcare Success Educational Library.]
Once upon a time a simplistic website constituted a Web presence. It was little more than a digital Yellow Page listing and, if your competition was slow on the uptake, it ranked as “adequate” for a fleeting moment in Internet marketing.
If anyone even remembers that nanosecond flashback, you know it’s long gone.
Healthcare Internet marketing has evolved—exploded, really—to be a highly dynamic, layered Internet encounter that engages many audiences, with various messages, using multiple platforms. And important among this performance-driven mix is Social Media.
The biggest of these have familiar names: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, your own blog, among others. But, although they are recognized communications tools for a hospital, group practice or medical providers, the challenge is to use them properly.
Unfortunately, it’s a classic mistake to recognize the value of social media, and then to fail at using the tools effectively. Often we find that social media “good intentions” don’t build connections and communities due to:
- Jumping to social media ahead of other Internet basics;
- Underestimating the required time, effort and cost;
- Not fitting social media into an overall marketing plan;
- Straining limited resources for what’s purely trendy;
- Having no clear social media objectives, strategy or goals;
- Having no defined social media policy or guidelines.
Our Internet Mistakes White Paper, (it’s free, by the way) explains several ways to participate in social media to derive the greatest value. Here’s a quick outline:
As a listener: Learn about your audience needs and wants…and improve your content to connect with the “voice of the patient” interests.
As an expert: Storytelling (with a purpose) often leads to engagement and can prompt dialogue and connected conversation.
As a news source: Discover, and contribute to, timely discussion trends.
As a community: Many individuals share a mutual interest in health, medical and wellness topics. Facebook and other social media can be a common meeting ground.
As a networker: LinkedIn is particularly well suited for professional connections among doctors, hospitals, administrators and communications executives.
For more about how to detect and avoid classic Internet marketing mistakes, click through here to download our free White Paper: The Worst Mistakes Healthcare Organizations Make When Trying to Attract Patients from the Internet.
A previous post in this series: Benign Neglect: Classic Internet Mistake Number Three. And for related reading, see: Why You Need to Be More Aggressive About Internet Marketing.