It’s exciting to see more and more healthcare organizations buzzing about social media marketing over the past year. Social media marketing is such a wonderful way to connect with members of your target market (including your customers, referral sources, patients, and their families and caregivers) I’m happy to see healthcare organizations are beginning to adapt their marketing plans to include a social strategy that extends beyond the traditional ‘face to face’ and old school collateral brochures.
Having experience working with many healthcare clients, the trend that we have seen when speaking with these various organizations is that many are struggling to get things off of the ground. Whether it be red-tape such as writing social media policy and procedure clauses, dealing with HIPAA guidelines or just superiors who are reluctant to invest time and money in this ‘new med’ – push back has been a common problem.
While time will force these problems to vanish, there are quite a lot of advantages to being an early adopter as a healthcare organization. After extensive research, we have found many healthcare companies fall flat when it comes to their use (or misuse) of social media.
Here are a few of the reasons why healthcare organizations shouldn’t wait any longer when it comes to executing 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 that you can engage with from your healthcare organization. These people are consuming information in every category, not just the mega-brands. Everyone has their space on Facebook. Even better, with Facebook Pages you can categorize your organization fully, and configure locations and other valuable information for your target audience. Whether your business is local, national or international, Facebook has the ability to create real connections, support customer/patient communications and will help you let your audience know about any events, or exclusive information with just a few clicks.
2. Your audience (and competition) is on Twitter. The healthcare and medical community is not only on Twitter…they are active! Doctors, medical companies, hospitals and many more are offering updates, event news, guidelines and much more on a daily basis. Yet another massive and active community, Twitter is a hot spot for sharing information and you need to be in the mix!
3. There is a LinkedIn Group to fit your needs….or 50! Just adding your hospital or company to LinkedIn is wonderful and important step…but what if you could also add an additional audience of 50,000 to 1 million+? With LinkedIn Groups you can engage with potential customers/patients based on subject and location and get in front of them on a daily basis. Now that is coverage!
4. YouTube is the portal for promotion. Using video as a promotional tool is a must in the healthcare industry. Having the ability to illustrate what your company is capable of in addition to the skill of your team or products is imperative. Now imagine having the ability to place this video on the second largest search engine out there: YouTube. Fully branded and packed with information, this vehicle does nothing but build your profile, credibility and positive sentiment.
5. Act now or be left behind. As there are many organizations that are understaffed or unable to give the appropriate time to either do the social media or even pitch the idea of a campaign to the CEO….the organizations are simply trickling in. But this speed will begin to increase at a faster and faster rate. By being an early adopter, you can gain more market advantage and make a splash as one of the first organizations in your area to have a wonderful Facebook Page, an active Twitter account, a linked in LinkedIn account and a sharp and slick YouTube page.
I like ending with number 5 as there are many healthcare marketers out there that have received a lot of push back on social media from their organizations. But for every one, there are numerous others who are getting their campaigns approved and are launching effective social media marketing campaigns and claiming their social real estate. My advice is to get your plan together quickly so you don’t miss the boat!