How to use Social Media for Healthcare Marketing?
Social media has been steadily growing as a crucial part of healthcare marketing. There has been a significant rise in people going to social media websites to get insight into healthcare practices. According to a report by Pew research, 74% of internet users engage on social media. 80% of those internet users are specifically looking for health information, and nearly half are searching for information about a specific doctor or health professional. With such an exuberant population seeking social media as an authentic outlet to look for healthcare professionals, healthcare practices have to now move up with the times and adapt their social media strategy in a way that they include social media marketing as an intrinsic part of it.
In the past year, Internet users were constantly using social media websites as an outlet to discuss the COVID-19 situation, searching for information regarding preventive measures, looking into the latest treatments and testing facilities in their locality, and finding information about healthcare practitioners, etc. Social media thus became the backbone for healthcare marketing to reach a massive audience and drive patients into their respective hospitals, clinics, or healthcare practices.
We have thus established that there is a severe need for healthcare practices to adopt an active social media strategy if they want to reach a potentially larger clientele. Consumers on social media are evolving with each passing day and now they need informative, timely, and accurate information regarding their health and which healthcare providers are the most appropriate for their situation. Social media thus provides a hospital a very effective channel to market their brand, service, and products.
Apart from marketing the healthcare practice, social media marketing can also help form an image of the healthcare practitioners as leaders of their industry. Social media websites can act as an excellent platform for posting links to informative talks, medical insight videos, podcasts, and relevant research papers. Upon sharing posts that pertain to the industry knowledge and not just brand-related content, the potential clientele starts seeing the healthcare practitioner as a thought leader. Establishing an image as a thought leader substantially helps in building a rapport with the potential clientele which inadvertently leads to more people discovering and coming to your healthcare practice.
How to use Social Media for Healthcare Marketing?
Publishing Educational Content:
Social media users are evolving with the times. Traditional advertisement tropes fail to catch their attention anymore. The audience now looks towards more informative content, content that will help them take preventive measures against a certain disease or information that can educate them on improving their lifestyle and help them make health a priority. Studies have shown that a huge search volume of health-related topics includes self-diagnosis. Using this as an incentive, post content regarding diseases and how one can tackle them at home. Provide them with a path that they can follow and if things get serious they can contact your hospital. Posting interesting research articles, health tips to improve your daily life, or ‘did you know?’ posts can significantly increase user engagement.
Health-related posts can be sometimes hard-hitting or depressing, to say the least, but it does not have to be like that always. Post inspirational stories of patients fighting a deadly disease and miraculously getting cured of it through their willpower. Regularly post content about how your brand is making a difference in the healthcare industry by saving lives, spreading awareness regarding diseases, put forth new incentives or care plans that your hospital has incorporated to help the underprivileged, etc. All these help you connect with your audience on a personal level which makes them your loyal customers.
Creating a Rapport with the Customers:
Social media marketing is a crucial way to create a rapport with your clientele. Apart from posting brand and medical-related content, you can create a bond with your clients by posting client testimonials, videos into how your hospital functions, team photographs, and videos, etc. This content attracts a lot of social media users and lets them see behind the scenes in a so-called mystified profession of healthcare. They feel more connected with the hospital and the entire team which in the long turn helps generate trust with your existing and future clients.
Social media with its multiple advantages has its backdrops as well. One of the biggest drawbacks of using social media is fighting misinformation. This has been a leading cause for spreading rumors and scaring people into believing false truths or half-truths which is extremely dangerous. Especially in the healthcare sector, this has caused large-scale panic amongst the people. Due to things being complicated and not often understood by common people, the healthcare sector is easily prone to misinformation. For eg, people reposting a treatment for the COVID-19 virus whereas there was no scientific evidence to back such a claim, but soon people started believing in this fake news which led to hoarding of a particular resource. This is a serious issue and must be dealt with. Your job as a healthcare industry must be to spread awareness and stop the spreading of fake news. You can do so by posting research articles and facts or debunking trending fake news. This creates respect towards your brand and the online community looks up to you for accurate information in the future.
During the pandemic, the Government of India launched a Facebook messenger chatbot so that citizens could ask their queries about the situation of the country, testing facilities,
preventive measures, etc. Its main goal was to spread awareness, fight misinformation and make the people more comfortable so that they can fight against the pandemic. This example clearly shows how social media was used all around the world not just by organizations but governments to control the situation. Customers whose queries are constantly resolved in the long run to grow a deep relationship with the hospital since they know that their questions will be heard and answered.
Apart from the Facebook chatbox initiative, there are many websites that let you answer any questions related to your industry. One such website is Quora. Quora is very popular because often industry veterans and leaders go there and answer industry-based queries. Quora attracts millions of users every day and thus it is a very important channel where you can help people with their medical queries with your industry insight. Being active on query-based platforms can be extremely beneficial for your hospital and helping establish an image as an industry expert and a thought leader. Replying to your patients’ queries makes them more comfortable and apart from establishing yourself as a reliable expert, it will eventually help drive more patients to your healthcare practice.
To sum up, The Healthcare industry is people-focused; and social media thrives on mutual connections and how you engage with your audience. Having an understanding of what your audience wants makes the process of social media marketing quite easy. There are plenty of tools available online where you can see trending topics, use analytical metrics to understand what kind of healthcare topics are being discussed or generating engagement. Once you narrow down on the trends, one can spread information about the topic in various forms. Include a variety of content like articles, industry news, infographics, video content, etc. The only thing one should remember from this article is if you do not use social media for healthcare marketing to engage your audience in today’s world, your hospital will be left out and your competitors will easily capture your audience base. Time has come to incorporate it into your marketing strategies and the above-mentioned pointers will give you a good start to build on your marketing campaign for social media.