Social Media Tips for Healthcare Marketers
How is social media being used as a marketing tool by healthcare specialists? At a recent summit on social media hosted by PRSA in Boston, USA, presenters from the healthcare industry discussed the state of social media. Wendy brings you a gist of the several interesting conversations and insights from the summit, in the form of key takeaways from the event:
All too often, we get caught in a discussion about social media tactics (should we launch on Facebook or Twitter?). On an enterprise level, a company has to be in agreement on strategy and the potential risks versus rewards. This is especially critical in healthcare social media.
Bruce Weinberg, Marketing and E-Commerce Department Chair at Bentley University, presented his study on social media strategies, which was also published in the Harvard Business Review. The study analyzed companies participating in social media and grouped them into 4 categories:
- Predictive Practitioner: Clorox, which gradually entered into social media by focusing on discrete business problems in a targeted way, is a predictive practitioner.
- Creative Experimenter: EMC was willing to experiment with various social media tactics before analyzing which would be the most effective.
- Social Champion: Look at Ford‘s Fiesta campaign that put the power in the hands of the user.
- Social Transformer: Cisco took an enterprise-wide approach to social media engagement.
Also check out this Infographic: Social Media In Healthcare In USA, via Nicola Ziady on Twitpic
Amplify Your Content
Marketers are both interested and perplexed by how to “extend the reach” of social media content. If you tweet at the wrong time on the wrong day, does anyone see it? How can you extend the reach of that post, or a piece of earned media coverage? Tactics discussed included:
- Sharing reactions as content – if someone responds or reacts to your post, can you turn that reaction into more content?
- Syndicating content – typically a paid approach, content can be syndicated through Facebook ads, paid links on key web pages, etcetera.
- Creating groups of stakeholders who are responsible/motivated to share your content (with tools such as GaggleAMP) – this could be users, employees or other key stakeholders.
Who Is Your Audience?
In healthcare, the target audience is often patients. Rhonda Mann, Chief Marketing Officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) shared some insight into BIDMC’s strategies to attract patients. Mann shared a statistic from the Healthcare Research Institute that 45% of consumers say social media sources would affect their decisions – and she believes this is not generational.
What’s The Most Effective Channel?
BIDMC finds YouTube to be the most effective in reaching patients as it allows for creative and dynamic content to be shared, while still allowing for direct customer or patient response via comments. Mann also noted that security is perhaps the biggest issue in healthcare social media.
What are your thoughts on these studies and examples? Tell us what social media channels you are using successfully to reach your critical audiences, and reach out to us for advice on communications strategies.
Wendy has been with Schwartz MSL for more than 12 years, working primarily in the Medical Device & Diagnostics practice group. She has worked with a number of medical device industry leaders, leading her account teams on programs that deliver high-level media exposure.