In the world of medical marketing, hospitals are unique. Doctors are more likely to establish long-term relationships with patients than hospitals, since most patients only seek care at a hospital for a life-threatening condition or a single procedure. Thus, one of the biggest struggles for hospital marketers is finding ways to engage patients on a long-term basis.
Luckily, hospital marketers have more resources than ever at their disposal to create long-lasting relationships between hospitals and patients.
Multi-media resources that utilize video, photographs, and social interaction are an excellent way to provide patients with valuable, meaningful content that will establish and reinforce these bonds.
YouTube is one of the best resources available to hospital marketers who want to communicate with current and potential patients by telling a story.
For example, New York Presbyterian Hospital has utilized YouTube to tell the stories of 20 patients, who each share their experience in their own words. Potential patients have the opportunity to hear about the hospital first-hand from fellow patients who have had a positive, life-changing experience. New York Presbyterian has also utilized their YouTube channel to document changes they have made to improve the patient experience at their facility.
Mayo Clinic was one of the first out of the gate to utilize the power of YouTube as an essential part of their marketing strategy. They recognized that in order to attract patients and keep them engaged, you must offer quality content that educates and even entertains. The Internet has created a highly educated group of consumers who seek out as much information as possible. Mayo Clinic’s Center for Social Media saw this as an opportunity to attract patients by offering instructional health videos, interviews with hospital staff, and testimonials from patients. This content is designed to keep otherwise healthy patients engaged with the brand when they are not actively seeking treatment.
Social Media not only supports text-based interaction between hospitals and clients, but also supports increasingly graphic-based interaction in the form of photo and video sharing.
Facebook and Twitter are key resources for hospitals that want to reach patients by sharing photos and videos. Adding graphically compelling content, such as photos of real patients and staff, hospital facilities, and grounds are an excellent way to engage potential patients. Encouraging former and current patients to share their own positive stories and photos engages patients who might have otherwise become disconnected.
It is important that hospital marketers get creative in how they approach engaging patients. Some hospitals have gone as far as providing live streaming video of surgical procedures as a learning tool and marketing technique. Some social media platforms that are not traditionally utilized by hospitals, such as Pinterest, are entirely graphically oriented, presenting a unique opportunity to visually showcase what a hospital has to offer.
One of the greatest advantages of adding multi-media social networking sites to your marketing strategy is that the results are easily quantifiable. Data collection tools and analytics allow marketers to target specific audiences and establish profiles of the most engaged patients.
These tools will allow you to measure the success of your campaign, identify areas that need improvement, and accurately gauge return on your marketing dollars.