The movement toward patient-friendly health care involves a new mindset – a focus on preventative care rather than treating illnesses. Improving the overall patient experience is largely dependent upon utilizing the capabilities of new technology to provide the patient with more data, price transparency, lower costs and an improved provider-patient experience. It’s important to make sure our health care marketing aligns with these efforts.
With social media use rampant and showing no signs of slowing down in terms of popularity, it was only a matter of time before health care marketers turned to these online platforms to help with branding and messaging. But this alliance is still in its infancy, and there is much untapped potential. Health care professionals looking to harness the power of social media must follow a plan in order to be successful.
A Social Media Blueprint for Health Care Professionals
In order to become an effective communicator in the digital age, health care marketers should pay attention to the following tips in order to ensure they are taking advantage of everything these online platforms have to offer.
- Develop a social media strategy. This is a multi-step process that involves setting goals that address your organizational challenges; researching your audience to learn which platforms will be most effective; analyzing the competition’s social media efforts; and deciding which metrics to focus on. Create shareable content.
- Create engaging content. Once you’ve figured out where and to whom you are posting, develop content that will showcase your brand identity and promote engagement with your audience. Develop an authentic voice and personality for your organization to help build rapport and trust. Come up with a range of content that includes photos, videos, and stories – all of which are very popular and will help extend your reach.
- Build relationships with your patients. You’ll achieve this by engaging with your audience, answering questions and responding to comments in a timely manner – including negative ones (though you should take heated conversations offline). Consider sharing follower’s posts that are relevant to your business – perhaps somebody has tagged you or checked into your practice.
- Maintain HIPAA privacy guidelines. Social media is, by its very nature, a more casual experience – but that doesn’t give you leeway to let HIPAA regulations slip through the cracks. Continue to ensure private information is protected, and never share personal details about your patients or their health histories.
- Grow your following through hard work. Social media takes time and effort; with a hundred other duties demanding your attention on a daily basis, it may be tempting to “buy” followers. But what’s the point? You’re investing in social media to build a brand and win new patients, so computer-generated likes and shares add little to your bottom line and will cost you credibility should your real followers get wind of this shortcut.
- Emphasize the “social” aspects of the medium. There’s a time and place for a hard sales pitch, and Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are not it. The point of social media is right there in its name – it’s a place to get to know your patients on a more casual basis and keep them informed.
Following these tips will set you on the right track toward social media success!