Social media is a powerful tool that can help healthcare organizations grow their brand and connect with patients, but it’s also a wild, unpredictable place. If you don’t know how to use it, you could end up looking like an amateur or worse, alienating your target audience.
But don’t worry! We’re here to help. Here are our top five tips for using social media in healthcare.
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Social Media Tools For Healthcare
Creating social media accounts for your company can increase awareness and give you an outlet to engage with your audience. You can find everything online: the local boutique you shop at, the nail salon, and even your hair stylist. However, what about your family doctor?
Did you know that 80 percent of internet users are searching online for health information, with almost half of these users looking for information about a particular doctor or healthcare provider? It’s true. If you’re a healthcare provider, it’s key that you have an online presence. With more and more individuals searching online for a local healthcare provider that best suits their needs, social media is often the first place you can get noticed.
In fact, a recent study described how information on social media can have a direct influence on patients’ decisions to seek a second opinion or choose a specific provider. Social media allows healthcare providers to stay connected with their existing patients, attract new patients, build an honest brand that people can trust, provide information and updates on what’s new in the industry, support the community, build traffic to their website and market their target audience.
Here are six important tools to consider when building your social presence:
When a consumer searches a business on Google, the business’s information will appear in a chart within the Google search results. The chart includes data such as the business’s photo, phone number, Google Maps directions, how many stars the business was rated (out of five) and user reviews.
Did a patient mention his or her wonderful experience at your office? Your healthcare business can remind consumers to leave a review on Google. Studies show that 42 percent of users searching online for health information turn to these consumer reviews for their health-related information. Businesses have the opportunity to reply to these reviews in real time, which will show consumers that the business is prompt and cares about consumer opinions/concerns.
Blogging is the best way to get your voice out to the online population, and blogs have a high potential of showing up in online searches. A blog allows you to be seen as an expert in your field and the content you share has endless possibilities–you can write a blog on new industry trends, link to your website or social media accounts, or even add photos and video. Blogging is a creative outlet that gives you an opportunity to educate and build a relationship with your readers. Many blogs are now accompanied by video.
Today’s consumers are constantly switching their focus from website to website, especially on their mobile devices. The best way to capture their attention is with video. This resource offers consumers a visual and audio-driven experience that can easily and quickly relay health information. Facebook, Twitter and Youtube support video, and businesses can post their original video content on these sights, as well as their own websites.
Infographics are quick ways to distribute information to consumers through a visually-enticing image. Check out our example:
See how the information was short, simple, and easily relayed? These visual tools can be created in a variety of different outlines and can match your business’s theme. You can post these on your social media networks as an image, and share it with your followers. What are your business’s important facts? Make them catch the consumer eye with an infographic.
With more than 2.1 billion users, it’s the best place to start your social media marketing campaign and get real results. Offering a casual and inviting culture, Facebook makes it easy to set up your profile and “invite” individuals to like your page. Options like Live Video and video/photo posting encourages brands to connect with consumers on various levels. It also allows you to schedule and boost posts, as well a target specific ads to your target audience.
Twitter is the best place for staying updated on the latest news in 280 characters or less. With more than 336 million users, it’s another outlet for your brand to be noticed. You can build your audience quickly and get right to the point with short and direct posts. Plus, your Facebook posts can automatically go to your Twitter, keeping your voice consistent throughout.
social media post ideas for healthcare
Are you running out of ideas for what to post on your hospital’s social media profiles? Need some inspiration to get your creative juices flowing? Below are 9 ideas to help you post social media content that informs, educates, and engages your audience. To keep your social media content fresh and interesting, you will want to switch between various types of posts. You can apply the ideas below to social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, SnapChat, Instagram, and others.
1. Educate your followers about health issues. Want to show your patients and potential patients that you care about them and their needs? Use your social media profiles to share information and tips that could help them live healthier lives. For example, you may want to feature information about how to stay healthy during flu season, how to recognize the signs of a stroke, how to eat healthier, etc.
2. Highlight awards, accreditations, certifications, and other milestones achieved by your hospital. Whether your hospital received a prestigious award for excellence in patient care or it finally became officially accredited as a trauma center, you’ll want to make sure to share these updates with your social media followers. News such as this could end up being a deciding factor into whether a potential patient chooses your hospital over another one. Make sure to explain why the particular achievement is significant. For example, a new accreditation may serve as proof that your hospital truly specializes in a specific area of care.
3. Let your followers know about facility and equipment upgrades. If your hospital just added a new patient wing, renovated its ICU, acquired new state-of-the-art equipment, or did something else along those lines, you should definitely spread the word through social media. These are all developments that your hospital visitors can benefit from, so don’t be afraid to let your followers know about them!
4. Help patients navigate changes in the healthcare system. With the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and other changes in the healthcare system, patients may need a little help understanding their care options. You can use your platforms to share helpful facts, links to government resources for the uninsured and underinsured, links to articles on hot-topic issues related to the healthcare system, and more.
5. Share photos and videos. Social media users love visual engagement, so make sure to include photos and videos in your posts. In 2014, Twitter released data from a study that showed that adding a photo to a tweet led to a 35% boost in retweets on average, and adding a video added a 28% boost on average. In early 2015, Facebook announced that the amount of video being posted globally by people and brands in the social media platform’s News Feed had more than tripled (3.6x) over the previous year. Meanwhile, various hospitals have started testing out Periscope with live video streaming of medical procedures, doctor Q & As, facility tours, and more.
6. Let your followers know how they can get involved. Use your social media platforms to announce events such as community health workshops, blood drives, charity fundraisers, and more. Include the date, time, and information about how followers can get signed up. Sharing these events on social media is the perfect way to boost interest and community involvement.
7. Feature people from your hospital. It’s a simple fact that people relate to people. Share stories about doctors, nurses, and other medical staff members who are doing unique things at your hospital and in the community. For example, you may want to share about that oncology team that raised money for families who couldn’t afford cancer treatment, or that doctor who goes on medical mission trips in Third World countries. Give your social media followers a glimpse of the amazing people who make up your hospital!
8. Get followers engaged through contests and giveaways. Create special social media campaigns that will get your followers excited to engage with your posts. For example, you can ask users health-related questions and give prizes for the best answers. Or, you can also select random winners from people who like and share certain posts. It also helps to get creative with unique hashtags related to your campaigns.
9. Get seasonal. Think of health-related posts that relate to the current holiday or season. Post information about breast cancer treatment during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, or give ideas for health-related resolutions for the New Year. Even a general “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” messages can add a little more warmth and personality to your hospital’s social media pages and profiles.
Bonus: Want to learn more about social media for your hospital? Check out our Beginners Guide to Social Media . We go over the ins and outs of setting up your social media accounts like your Facebook Business Page, ad accounts, and content strategy for social media.
Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.