Though social media has been around for a while, hospitals have been wont to avoid it because of the regulations they often face. However, there is more benefit to hospitals in diving in to social media than there is in avoiding it.
When done properly, hospital social media can drive more patients to your signature services, help you build relationships with new and current patients, and establish you as an expert in the medical field.
We already know two things about hospital social media:
- Patients are looking for health information online. (Pew Research Center)
- Patients respond better to informational or educational social media posts than to commercial or advertising content. (Edgar Huang, PhD, Journal of Communication in Healthcare)
It’s no secret that social media sites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the places that many patients send their free time. Here are Nucleus Medical Media’s tips for building a social media presence and making social media an effective marketing tool in healthcare.
1. Spread the Word
Once you’ve created a Facebook page, include it on your other marketing materials. It’s hard to get a bunch of people to like your page at first. You know you have plenty of patients who’d be interested in the material, but people just don’t know your profile exists.
Link “Follow us on Facebook” in your email signature. Include your page URL it on informational brochures and business cards. Add a boilerplate link to your blog posts to “Get the latest news by following us on Facebook.” The more places you put it, the more likely people will come across it.
2. Post Interactive Content
Once you’ve got a good following on your Twitter or Facebook, the next step is to make sure you’re posting interactive content. This means that you’re not just dishing out straight information all the time with nothing for people to respond to. Ask questions like health “Did you knows,” post fun facts and quotes that people might want to share or RT, and spread recent news articles about health and wellbeing. Try posting animated medical videos like those from Nucleus for more shares and responses.
Once people start responding to your posts and tweets, it’s important to reciprocate that interaction…
3. Be Responsive
The whole point of social media is to be… social. Consumer engagement is the measure of a successful social media venture. This means, when people start responding to your Facebook posts, following you on Twitter, or liking something you’ve posted on LinkedIn, it’s important to acknowledge that interaction to encourage more.
Along with a disclaimer that you don’t issue personalized health information online, it’s important to also encourage patients not to share personal health information. A basic disclaimer like this one works well:
Thank you for viewing our Facebook page. We encourage you to use our fan page as a learning and discussion outlet, but please be advised that we take our patients’ health and privacy very seriously. By commenting or adding any content (videos, photos, links, etc.) on this profile you understand that it will become publicly visible to our other fans and consent to its broadcast. Please do not share personal health information about anyone but yourself. We maintain the right to remove any user comments, pictures, or like materials that we deem inappropriate or in violations of any of Facebook’s specified user agreement terms. Should you have any additional comments or suggestions please email them to the administrators of this page.
For smaller, regional hospitals, social media is one of the best ways to find and meet patients where they are. Get started today with these helpful tips from Nucleus Medical Media!