Around half of the world’s population (3.3 billion people) are now active on social media.
Today, social media isn’t just a place for friends and family to stay in touch. It’s where people go to catch up on the latest news. This is where your clients search for recommendations and even for healthcare providers. Social has turned into a place where you connect with loyal and long-term patients.
For the healthcare industry, social media helps to engage patients, promote new partner relationships and improve the credibility of doctors. One study found that 57% of patients decide where to get treatment based on a provider’s social media presence. Another report shows that 60% of doctors feel that social media improves the quality of care they give their patients.
When social media increases patient satisfaction and boosts brand reputation, it’s no surprise that countless doctors jump on the digital bandwagon.
Healthcare & Social Media: The Benefits of Marketing
Before we start exploring healthcare marketing ideas for your new strategy, let’s drill into the benefits a great campaign can offer.
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of social media healthcare marketing is that it allows doctors and medical experts to connect with patients in real-time. The more you communicate with your clients, the more you build a relationship with them.
When someone is in pain, they want support from someone they know and trust. Social media establishes crucial connections with your target market, so you become the obvious choice for anyone in search of medical care.
Healthcare marketing can also:
- Educate your patients: Social media and content marketing allows physicians to share useful information with patients. This helps support preventative care initiatives and also makes it easier for clients to determine what kind of medical care they need.
- Facilitate collaboration: Through social media sites like LinkedIn, healthcare experts collaborate with their industry peers to expand their skills and improve knowledge. Networking also improves your chances of referrals from other doctors and surgeons.
- Expand brand awareness: Today, almost every brand knows that if they want to get the best possible share of clients, they need to be active online. The right healthcare marketing ideas help you reach the targeted audience that’s right for you–whether that’s cosmetic surgery patients or families in search of general care.
So how can you combine healthcare and social media to master marketing for a modern audience? Follow these six healthcare marketing tips to get started:
1. Make Wellness a Lot More Fun
Health is a serious topic, but that doesn’t mean your brand has to be all doom and gloom. By having a little fun with your healthcare marketing campaigns, you convince your clients they don’t have to dread a visit to your practice.
Look at the “We Dare You” Campaign from United Healthcare, for instance. This marketing strategy is a fantastic example of how healthcare brands engage with their following and raise awareness for important concepts. The website hosts monthly quizzes, dares and competitions that convince people to take an active part in their healthcare plan.
The campaign was a success because it was fun, interesting and an all around different approach to healthcare. It encouraged people to make one healthy change to their lifestyle each month and document it on social media. Encouraging patients to take part in wellness not only improves their quality of life, but it draws attention back to your brand too. A branded hashtag like #MyHospital could encourage your engaged patients to send more people to your practice.
2. Go Viral by Appealing to Community Values
Social media is all about building active relationships. Every minute there are more than 120 new LinkedIn accounts created, 452,000 tweets sent, and 900,000 Facebook logins. The key to successful healthcare marketing is figuring out how to activate this engaged community in a way that’s positive for your brand.
Viral marketing has been something of a buzzword over the last few years–used to refer to campaigns that rocket quickly into fame and capture the attention of a wide audience. Healthcare companies are perfectly suited to take advantage of viral marketing because their focus is on a topic that everyone cares about. Everyone wants to fight back against cancer, cure disease and live a healthy life.
All you need to do is find a way to reach out to a community who’s already willing to act for an important cause. Partnering with a charity on a campaign could be the perfect way to show your patients how much you care about them. For instance, an oncology clinic could partner with a campaign like MacMillan’s Brave the Shave to simultaneously raise awareness for an important cause and their own brand.
3. Be a Source of Helpful Information
One of the things that make illness and disease so scary is the fact that we don’t really understand them. When people search for a doctor, they’re looking for someone to help them to fight against problems they may know very little about. One of the best things you can do for your healthcare marketing strategy is to show your clients that you’re a reliable source of in-depth clinical knowledge.
In a world where today’s patients are constantly searching for the diagnosis to their aches and pains online, it’s important that you’re there to answer your follower’s questions. Use your social media page to share links to blogs and case studies that might help your patients to answer complicated questions about disease prevention and healthcare.
As video grows increasingly popular on social media, Facebook Live could be a fantastic way to connect with your followers. For instance, the Mayo Clinic hosts a regular #AskTheMayoMom video stream. These live Q&A sessions allow moms-to-be to ask a professional any pressing questions they might have about pregnancy, labor or aftercare.
4. Embrace the Infographic
While it’s important to share valuable information as part of your healthcare marketing campaigns, it’s also worth it to share that info in an easily digestible way for your followers. While doctors and nurses often use medical jargon and percentages to explain their points, hard facts get dry pretty fast on social media.
Remember, your marketing campaigns need to be emotional, interesting and relatable. Create content for an audience that doesn’t know much about the medical industry. The easiest way to do this is to assume you’re writing for someone who has absolutely no prior knowledge of your niche.
When it comes to creating easy-to-absorb content, visuals are often the easiest way to connect with your followers. An infographic on myths about the flu is much easier to absorb and share than a 10-page case study. Look for ways to make complicated information easier to understand for your audience. For instance, Health Digest recently posted an image gallery on Facebook with quick tips on how people can eliminate pain without medication.
The list is fun, helpful and it gets straight to the point. Remember, simple and useful content encourages your audience to share your posts with their friends and that helps to boost your brand reach.
5. Use Employee Advocates to Build Relationships
Perhaps more than any other industry, the healthcare sector relies on relationships. Illness is a scary thing and your patients want to feel comfortable with the doctor they choose. That’s why it’s important to go beyond your branded pages when you’re investing in healthcare marketing ideas.
Your nurses, doctors and even administrative staff are the people who interact with your patients every day. They know which problems your clients face, and they understand how to immerse themselves in these communities. Activating your staff with the help of an employee advocacy campaign can be a great way to bring more humanity to your healthcare practice.
For instance, you could ask your advocates to link back to your page or even post videos with tips and tricks from people inside your team. Even posting pictures of your team in their element and encouraging them to retweet your shares can be enough to boost your healthcare marketing strategy.
6. Empower Your Patients to Market for You
Finally, why spend all your time stressing about healthcare marketing, when you can get your patients to do it for you? Patient reviews can be a fantastic way to improve the credibility of your medical practice and boost visibility. In fact, 80% of people say they look for health information online before going to a hospital or doctor.
While you’re curating content for your employee advocates or encouraging them to share your tweets online, make sure you don’t overlook your customer ambassadors. Sending surveys to your patients after they’ve visited your practice or even asking them for feedback online is a great way to build your social proof.
Video testimonials of patient stories are incredibly moving–particularly if you have before-and-after shots to include. Just make sure that you stick to the HIPAA guidelines and get permission for any information you want to share.
Combining Healthcare & Social Media
Relationships have always been an important part of healthcare marketing strategies. Today, the rise of social media and online marketing means it’s easier to make a connection with your patients than ever before.
Using the tips and strategies above, medical professionals can find new ways to reach out to their audience, demonstrate their expertise and help their practice thrive. Remember to keep track of your marketing campaigns as you implement them. The more you learn about which content your audience responds to best, the easier it will be to create an online strategy that really resonates with your patients.