Social media tools—Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and many others—are constantly evolving and have become important components in healthcare marketing plans.
It seems that social media is everywhere in today’s culture and shows zero signs of slowing down. Not surprisingly, 41 percent of people surveyed say that social media would influence their healthcare provider decisions.
Nevertheless, the health care industry lags the retail and commercial world in embracing social tools. Keeping up with changes, trends and best practices is a constant challenge for providers.
Mayo Clinic has worked vigorously to change that, becoming the gold standard of social media for healthcare organizations, by creating one of the most popular healthcare podcasts and an active social media base with more than 500,000 Facebook fans and 900,000 Twitter Followers. They also offer a social media residency, designed to educate others in the healthcare field, on how to use social media effectively.
Healthcare Success works hard to keep ahead of digital changes and improve on existing social media tactics. And to better serve our clients, I attended the Mayo Clinic Social Media Residency, a continuing education experience about using social media in healthcare.
Here are four useful and important takeaway ideas from this experience:
Education is the key to building your social media content and increasing community engagement. As a healthcare community, what do your customers want to know and what information can you provide them? There’s a wealth of information to be provided in the online health sector that many marketers are hesitant to tap in to. The reality is that most physicians are risk-adverse. By shaping the discussion you create a community that is actively engaged. Social media content engages the public (and prospective patients) with topics relating to health and wellness such as How to Choose the Best Sunscreen and Best Foods to Prevent Varicose Veins.
Facebook Is killing organic Brand Reach. Facebook cut the organic reach of company FB pages, making it increasingly more difficult for companies to connect with their audience without payment on the social media platform. To see if this impacts you, begin testing content to determine what works and doesn’t. While you shouldn’t abandon Facebook, organic reach is thriving via other social media platforms.
Don’t use “old school” measures for social media. How to best measure social media continues to be a bit of a mystery. The problem is that we’re still holding social media to the older standards of traditional media. The value of a re-tweet or a share is going to be vastly different than the cost of putting an ad in a local newspaper, so those measures don’t apply. Set a reasonable goal for your social media (i.e., gaining new followers, creating new leads) and develop a strategy to reach that goal.
Have a strategy that makes sense. Ok, so you set a goal for social media and you think you’ve devised a strategy. Does it make sense? Every social media update and post should fit into a larger plan that will ultimately support measurable business goals. Develop a strategy and craft tactics before choosing social media tools, and integrate social media across all platforms – website, e-newsletters, email blasts, print, direct mail, etc.
For more about social media marketing, developing an effective strategy and building an engaging program, click through to this informative page, and see our previous posts: Nearly All US Hospitals Use Social Media. Now What? and The Compelling Case for Doctors to Warmly Embrace Social Media.
Kylie Ladd, Healthcare Success Social Media Coordinator
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Kylie Ladd— Kylie manages the social media presence for several clients, constantly finding new ways to engage with community members and looking out for emerging trends. She has worked for several media companies including NBC Nightly News, Warner Music Group, and Gorkana Group. Kylie graduated from Fordham University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and New Media.
Mayor Clinic Social Media Residency – Adapting to medical school vernacular, the Mayo Clinic Social Media Residency creates a dynamic learning experience around key learning objectives for healthcare executives: Professionalism, Risk Management and Compliance; Best Practices, Case Studies; Supporting Organizational Strategy; and Measurement.