Healthcare Marketing. Conquer Social Media in 5 Steps
Why your healthcare practice needs to boost its Social Media presence.
In the last few years social networks became widely used by both individuals and businesses to communicate and to market products and services. According to 2015 study by the Pew Research Center, the proportion of adults using social media has increased from 7% in 2005 to 65% in 2015 in the US alone. On August 27, 2015 Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reported one billion Facebook visitors in a single day. When you add 317 million of active Twitter users and over a billion YouTube users to the picture, the influence of social networks on consumer behavior turns out to be quite overwhelming. These are the numbers that no business can ignore.
At the same time, consumers today heavily rely on social media when making their purchasing decisions. According to the recent research conducted by YouGov Healthcare, hospital market research firm, use of social media can significantly improve online presence of a healthcare facility. Same study shows that “57% of consumers said that a hospital’s social media presence would strongly influence their choice regarding where to go for services.”
To top it off, 81% of consumers took active social media presence of a healthcare practice as an indication that this healthcare practice is technologically savvy and offers cutting-edge technologies. In other words, a healthcare practice without social media presence is considered as obsolete and not up to date with using modern technology by 81% of consumers. This is definitely not the kind of image any business would want to project on potential clients, especially a healthcare business. More and more healthcare professionals recognize the significance of social media presence, but still not the majority of them. Unfortunately, in most cases healthcare professionals are not on the forefront of social media, and, as such, are not reaping all the rewards that a solid social network strategy can present.
Why is that?
Several reasons. First, such a conservative industry as healthcare takes rapid changes with caution. Second, doctors are not IT or Marketing professionals. They often do not understand how social media can add value to their services and enhance their current marketing efforts. Finally, many healthcare professionals have heard horror stories about breaching patient privacy and violating HIPAA requirements by engaging in social networks activities. You can read more about online marketing and HIPAA in our previous blog post.
These are all legitimate concerns. However, one can easily overcome these barriers by using a healthcare social media marketing company, such as WiserBrand that specializes in marketing for healthcare and legal professionals. In any event, fear and lack of knowledge should not stand in the way of building a successful social network strategy and enjoying all the benefits that come with it. So, where should one start?
Below there are 5 easy steps we recommend taking if you want to conquer social media and to get better marketing results as well as higher level of trust from your current and potential patients.
1) Give Your Healthcare Practice a Face With a Smile.
In many cases, healthcare companies can come across as a bit sterile, busy, and unapproachable. This is not a very good image to project when communicating with potential clients. Social networks provide an excellent opportunity to change that. For example, an active and up-to-date Facebook account can give your potential and current patients an opportunity to learn about your practice and to communicate with you without tension that sometimes is present during a doctor’s office visit.
For any business transaction to be successful, a customer needs to feel comfortable with a product/service provider. Whether or not a potential customer likes or does not like you and your company comes as a substantial factor when that customer is making a decision whether or not to do work with you. Maintaining a well-thought-out social media strategy presents a perfect opportunity to connect with potential clients on a personal level and to show them that a doctor is a regular person with family and kids, and not some cold robot in scrubs.
When you give your healthcare practice a face with a smile through social media, you, in essence, “humanize” your organization and show your warm and welcoming personality. This will and does make a difference. Once a potential client feels comfortable with your practice, your phone will not stop ringing.
2) Educate Your Potential Clients.
Social networks are a great tool to educate potential patients about public health issues. This is your time to be selfless. You want to limit self-promotion and concentrate on how you can help your audience understand various health issues and how to be proactive to avoid them. The opportunities are endless – from debunking common health-related myths to sharing news about new technologies or medications. Posting interesting educational materials on your social media pages will accomplish two important goals. First, you will establish yourself as an authority on the subject and, second, you will show your audience that you do care and care way beyond dollars and cents.
By doing that, you can make a positive impact on your patients and general public, and, most importantly, start an informal conversation with current and potential clients. Needless to say, you will have to maintain this conversation and respond to their reviews and inquiries in a timely manner.
3) Advertise Online.
Sounds simple, right? As it turns out, not many healthcare practices use online ads. Therefore, the cost of advertising online in healthcare business is relatively low comparing to other businesses, such as law firms, for example. This represents a great opportunity for those who can feel the trend, adapt to changes quickly and are not shy about putting their ads online.
With Americans spending more time online than in bed sleeping, advertising online not only makes sense, but also is becoming a major source of new clients for many businesses, including healthcare. Of course, online ads for a healthcare practice should be relevant, well-written, HIPAA compliant, and contain an appropriate attention-grabbing image. When you work with an experienced healthcare marketing company, like WiserBrand, all these details will be taken care of and customized for you.
4) Provide Unique Content Your Audience Can’t Get Elsewhere.
Most doctors spend 8 to 10 years learning their profession and often have vast amounts of unique health related information not available to an average consumer. Thus, it only makes sense to share some of this information with general public via social networks. You can run video question-and-answer sessions covering topics of interest; you can do video tutorials on different subjects. News flashes about new medications or technologies, product demos, tips on fitness and healthy life style, cutting-edge surgeries, etc. also work very well. The main idea is to show that you have something unique to offer. Keep it entertaining and informal, and you will see likes, new subscribers, and, ultimately, new patients coming through your doors.
5) Watch What Your Competitors Are Doing Online.
Chances are you are not the only healthcare provider offering services in your area. It is a very good idea to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing online, to monitor their ads, and to see if you can outperform them. Many times you may get a solid marketing idea just by watching what others are doing. There is nothing wrong with copying the best practices in the industry and making them work for you, provided that you are careful with copyright issues, of course. Again, a solid social media marketing company like WiserBrand.com can answer all your questions.
Social networks are not so scary once you start working with them. With time, it will become a habit to share information about your organization online. A well-structured social media strategy will bring you the results beyond most optimistic expectations. Please contact us today and let’s get started on your social media journey to success.