Here’s how medical marketers can use relevant hashtags to engage in meaningful conversation and target the right audiences on Twitter.
Though hashtags, which use a pound sign to identify common words or phrases, were originally restricted to Twitter, they’ve now made their way onto nearly every social media platform — and even into spoken language. You’ll seldom find a savvy social media user or marketer who isn’t using hashtags to gain traction, drive engagement, and start conversations.
In the healthcare space, hashtags can be especially salient. That’s because they allow communities to spring up around certain topics or conditions — #spoonies, which references the “spoon theory” of disability, is a popular hashtag among patients with chronic illness. In addition, hashtags like #ThisIsMyLane allow healthcare providers to find and engage in conversation with one another.
However, it’s important to note that hashtags should be used sparingly and strategically. To avoid looking cluttered or spammy, it’s advised to only use one to three hashtags per tweet, and only when directly relevant. Also, while hashtags can be a great way to bring content to the attention of interested parties, sensitivity is vital — it’s not a good idea to reply to a tweet about a condition offering medical services for said condition, as it can feel like a violation of privacy.
Despite these caveats, hashtags can be an incredibly helpful healthcare marketing tool. Generally speaking, healthcare hashtags will fall into one of two categories: chat hashtags, used to participate in conversations, and themed hashtags, which are used to categorize tweets based on subject matter.
Armed with an understanding of these key groups and the leading hashtags in each, medical marketers are ready to dive into the digital conversation. The following hashtags are great places to start:
Leading Chat Hashtags
- #MDChat: #MDChat is used to connect physicians all across the Twittersphere. Conversation subjects range from biotech breakthroughs to soccer scores.
- #HCSM: This hashtag, which stands for “healthcare social media,” is used to share tips, tricks, and ideas on how to utilize social media in the healthcare space.
- #MedEd: The medical education hashtag is used to connect doctors and other healthcare professionals who wish to discuss how they can better educate the public on health and medicine.
- #HITsm: Every Friday at 11am, healthcare IT professionals share their thoughts on the relationship between healthcare IT and social media using the #HITsm hashtag.
Leading Medical Hashtags
- #Hcmktg: This hashtag, an abbreviation for “healthcare marketing,” is used to tag articles and tweets related to medical marketing tactics.
- #DigitalHealth: AI, wearables, telemedicine, and other digital health breakthroughs are all labeled with the #digitalhealth tag.
- #PrimaryCare: Primary care physicians can share their thoughts and experiences under this hashtag.
- Condition hashtags: Almost every medical condition has its own hashtag, and healthcare providers can tag content appropriately to reach patients with the relevant condition.
Medical marketers can try adding these hashtags to their social media posts, as well as incorporating others that are related to the services they offer. Strategic hashtags paired with carefully-crafted copy and engaging content are likely to inspire meaningful conversations and capture the attention of potential patients.