Slowly but surely, social media has become a staple of digital marketing strategies for companies large and small. This added voice allows brands to facilitate real conversations, engage widespread audiences and ultimately introduce a level of transparency that consumers have come to respect.
Despite many healthcare marketers’ hesitations to jump onto these platforms, studies show that patients want to connect via social media. It is essential for your practice to have a social media presence, and here’s why:
According to this infographic, one-third of consumers now use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and online forums for health-related matters, including seeking medical information, tracking and sharing symptoms, and broadcasting how they feel about doctors, drugs, treatments, medical devices and health plans.
In addition, 45% of individuals 45- to 64-years-old would share health-related content via social media and 56% would be likely to engage with it. For individuals between the ages of 18 and 24, more than 80% said they were likely to share health information through social media channels and nearly 90% said they would trust the information they found there.
The real kicker: 41% of patients said social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or medical facility.
When it comes to devising your healthcare social media strategy, you’ll need to be aware of the two objectives that fall under this promotional channel: advertising and engagement.
Social Media Advertising
The main focus of social media advertising is lead generation. This can be done through paid social advertisements, sponsored updates, promoted posts, etc. The larger social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube offer extensive advertising options that can help you convert existing followers or target much larger audiences.
With these capabilities, you’ll be able to identify and reach social users searching for medical facilities, solutions, resources and/or products. Social media advertising should supplement your existing marketing activities to accelerate lead generation.
Social Media Engagement
Driving engagement with social media is done through proactively posting updates, sharing branded content, casually promoting events, conducting conversations with patients, etc. Social media is a participative channel you can utilize to foster customer interest that can eventually be translated into purchasing behavior.
Engagement is typically encouraged by organic, owned efforts. No need for an ad spend here. Give your company a voice, provide your followers with value in the form of content and remain responsive.
Regardless of your social media strategy, there are a few best practices around creating successful postings. Be informal, put your company’s personality on display, keep it simple, include a strong call-to-action and make sure its visually appealing!
After determining you marketing objectives, invest in both of the aforementioned social media strategies. Experiment, measure and analyze your results to determine on which channels your advertising and engagement strategies are most effective. Focus your social efforts here moving forward and you’ll reap the rewards of targeted, social patient interactions.