Healthcare businesses are facing major changes in how they communicate with their patients and with the world. Communication is no longer left to insurance providers and mailers. People are taking a more active role in their healthcare, and they are doing the research to find the best options for them instead of relying on referrals. Most of this research is done online these days, and if your business isn’t building a presence and engaging your followers in a genuine way, you could be missing out on a huge portion of your audience. ScoprionHealthcare.com explains that, out of the estimated 97% of consumers searching for local businesses online, approximately 74% of them will use social media to help them make purchasing decisions. While doctors have historically been reluctant to adopt new communications technology, patients are ready to embrace their presence on social media as a trusted voice, according to Mobi Health News.
Social media is not only a place for your audience to find you, it’s also a platform to share important clinical information, breaking research, and success stories with the world. Referral MD reports that, “More than 40% of consumers say that information found via social media affects the way they deal with their health.” If your business is not on social media, it is not contributing to the conversation that is already taking place. Further, getting new patients can be highly competitive For many specialities, such as dentists and chiropractors. Attracting new patients is a challenge — one that social media can help solve.
Now you know why it matters, but do you know what to do when it comes to social media for healthcare-related business? Business owners and marketing managers may find themselves wondering what to do first and what platforms to focus their marketing efforts? Follow these tips to get your healthcare social media game going in the right direction.
Healthcare Social Media Tips and Tricks
Audit Your Social Media
Whether you already have a social media presence or your business is new to the social media world, the first step to getting social media working for your business is to perform a social media audit. This audit can tell you what’s working and what’s not working, where to focus your social media marketing efforts, and provide you details about your audience that you may not have known.
To properly perform a social media audit, remember to do the following:
Analyze your reach, impressions, and engagement level on each post
Compare posts to discover patterns showing what works and what doesn’t work
Research follower demographics
Develop a Marketing Strategy
Social media marketing is a lot easier when you have a marketing strategy in place. This strategy tells you and your employees what to post and how often. Developing a strategy takes the guesswork out of the social media marketing game, making each one of your posts more intentional for your desired audience.
Consistency is Key
People don’t want to go to a doctor that is not working consistently. They want to see a medical professional with experience, education, and credibility, all of which come with working consistently. If your business doesn’t stop providing value to patients and customers, why would you allow your business to be falsely represented on social media with inconsistent posting? Posting regularly shows the world, and your audience, that you are active, engaged, and plugged in with the world around you and your audience’s health-related wants and needs.
Remember HIPAA Compliance
Did you know that “31% of healthcare organizations have specific social media guidelines in writing.” Why? Because it is crucial to have social media guidelines in place for your healthcare facility to ensure everyone is on the same page for ethical and legal reasons. Staff should be aware of their limitations and why those limitations exist so they don’t accidentally get your brand in trouble for HIPAA Violations or anything else compliance-related. One rule of thumb to keep in mind is to use social media to communicate with patients about care, but don’t engage in doctor-patient relationships online.
Healthcare Finance reports that, “It's no secret consumers are increasingly turning toward social media to make healthcare-related decisions.” Social media is no longer simply a marketing tool to gain new customers. Customer service, reputation management, transparency, and authenticity matter. They will affect the way people view your brand. Social media makes achieving excellent customer service and a reputation for being open and honest with your audience possible. In essence, social media matters to your healthcare business because social media is everywhere. Your patients are on social media talking about their healthcare. You should be there too, ready to be a credible source participating in an important conversation.
Written by Katie Waechter, with Watch Media Group.