It’s exciting to see more and more healthcare organizations talking about social media marketing over the past year. Social media marketing is a wonderful way to connect with members of your target market (including your customers, referral sources, patients, and their families and caregivers). I’m pleased to see that healthcare organizations are beginning to adapt their marketing plans to include a social strategy that extends beyond traditional old-school, face-to-face collateral brochures.
Having experience working with many healthcare clients, the trend we’ve seen in talking to these various organizations is that many are struggling to get things off the ground. Whether it’s red tape like writing procedural clauses and social media policies, handling HIPAA guidelines, or just superiors who are reluctant to invest time and money in this ‘new medicine,’ backlash has been a common problem.
While time will force these problems to go away, there are many benefits to being an early adopter as a healthcare organization. After extensive research, we’ve found that many healthcare companies fail when it comes to using (or misusing) social media.
Here are some of the reasons healthcare organizations should wait no longer when it comes to running a social media marketing campaign:
1. Facebook is not just for Starbucks. With its millions of active users (and I stress the word “active”), Facebook has a sea of people you can interact with from your healthcare organization. These people consume information in all categories, not just megabrands. Everyone has their space on Facebook. Even better, with Facebook Pages you can fully categorize your organization and set up locations and other valuable information for your target audience. Whether your business is local, national, or international, Facebook has the power to create real connections, support customer and patient communications, and help you inform your audience of any event or exclusive information in just a few clicks.
2. Your audience (and competition) is on Twitter. The medical and healthcare community isn’t just on Twitter…they’re active! Doctors, medical companies, hospitals and many more offer daily updates, event news, guidelines and much more. Another massive and active community, Twitter is a hot spot for information sharing and you need to be in the mix!
3. There’s a LinkedIn group to suit your needs…or 50! Simply adding your hospital or company to LinkedIn is a wonderful and important step…but what if you could also add an additional audience of 50,000 to 1 million or more? With LinkedIn Groups, you can engage with prospects/customers based on topic and location and be in front of them on a daily basis. Now that’s coverage!
4. YouTube is tea promotion portal. The use of video as a promotional tool is essential in the health industry. Being able to illustrate what your company is capable of in addition to the ability of your team or products is imperative. Now imagine having the ability to get this video onto the second largest search engine out there: YouTube. Fully branded and packed with information, this vehicle does nothing more than build your profile, credibility, and positive sentiment.
5. Act now or you will be left behind. Because there are many organizations that are understaffed or unable to spend adequate time on social media or even pitching a campaign idea to the CEO… organizations are just coming in piecemeal. But this speed will start to increase at a faster and faster rate. By being an early adopter, you can gain a greater advantage in the market and stand out as one of the first organizations in your area to have a wonderful Facebook page, an active Twitter account, a linked LinkedIn account, and a Facebook Page. from YouTube sharp and elegant.
I like to end with number 5, as there are many health care professionals who have received a lot of pushback on social media from their organizations. But for every one, there are plenty of others who get their campaigns approved and launch effective social media marketing campaigns and claim their social ownership. My advice is to make your plan quickly so you don’t miss the boat!