CEOs and boards should focus just as much energy studying the customer behaviors yielding customer success, since they provide early-warning signs about customers’ happiness or dissatisfaction. Here are some key questions to ask.
It’s safe to say that social media is here to stay. Facebook recently celebrated its 10thanniversary and there’s no end in sight. Countless other interactive platforms are sprouting up on a regular basis, making it nearly impossible to determine where your time should be spent developing content and connecting with healthcare consumers.
The American Marketing Association’s Marketing Newsjournal even refers to social media as “old-school.” Social engagement has transitioned from being a shiny, new object to a customer service and healthcare marketing necessity.
Many brands — particularly in healthcare — find social media to be intriguing, yet illusive. Valuable, but not quite sure how to successfully utilize the social networking websites. And howexactlydo you measure success anyway? Algorithms are constantly changing. New Apps are developed at lightning speed. The rules of engagement are being rewritten every year.
It goes without saying that your brand should be utilizing this invaluable space to build relationships with your community, solidify your position as a thought leader, and reinforce what your organization stands for.
We all know that no one wants to think of a hospital when they don’t have to. That’s why it’s critical to have a page that people want to engage with, and find useful, valuable information along the way. So when the need eventually arises and a follower of your hospital page is deciding where to look for a provider, that person has a pre-determined positive connection with your brand.
With that said, we won’t try to convince you why the opportunity is a no brainer, we’ll simply tell you how to use it most effectively.
Here are 13 Best Practices for Healthcare Brands on Social Media:
1. A common rule of thumb that’s now universal among brand marketers is the “rule of thirds.” This rule states that tweets, posts, and status updates should fall into one of three categories and be spread more or less evenly between each. Additionally, keep a balanced level of sharing – 1-2 posts per day is plenty, no more, no less.
1/3 of posts should be about you or your brand
1/3 of posts should be about your industry, with content from an outside source
1/3 of your posts should be personal interactions
“When you shift away from solicitation as a primary focus of social media usage, you can begin to build an authentic community around your brand.” Steven Shattuck, writing atHubSpot.com
2. Photos. Use them. A lot. Time and time again analytics show that people are most engaged with images. Put time and effort into header images that are eye catching.
3. Don’t ignore complaints, and definitely do not delete them — unless the comment is extremely offensive (e.g. racist). Be transparent, be authentic, and acknowledge the commenter. Consumers just want to be heard, and research shows that people will turn against the brand if they’re ignored. Social media has created a 24/7 culture and people expect businesses to always be on, and respond quickly.
4. Ensure your post has a hook and a call-to-action: Try asking a question and “Click for more.”
5. Encourage comments and then reply to them.
6. Edit for grammar, spelling and broken links. Keep your posts short on all platforms; shorter posts get higher engagement. Use link shorteners likebitly.
7. If your hospital has a blog, brainstorm two blog titles: one that is optimized for SEO and another that is more appealing on social media (short, intriguing, eye-catching). Use the first title on your site and the other on social media when promoting.
8. A benefit to having a strong social media platform is you’ll increase search engine optimization through Google rankings; consumers do not want to click past the first page of search results so it’s important to have your page show up organically.
Since Google’s integration of the Hummingbird algorithm update, there’s been a new focus on optimizing your content for social media. Traditional SEO has historically been focused on link building (the more links to and from your content, the higher it ranked on Google search). Links to your site are basically votes in favor of your content. Although links are still very important, equally important are social endorsements such as Facebook likes and shares, LinkedIn shares, tweets and Pinterest pins. This is yet another reason why you can’t ignore the magnitude of a social media presence.
9. Dialogue. Social media is not a one-way street. The fundamental purpose of this platform is to mutually engage and interact. Show interest, ask questions and listen.
10. BE HELPFUL. This might be the most important practice of all. Too many brands use their voice to sell. Offer content that is useful, not just sales pitches.
11. Humanize your organization. Tell stories about your employees, volunteers or brand advocates (with their permission). Bring your mission, vision and values to life through sharing real people with real experiences. It can get tricky with HIPAA compliance so if you’d like to feature patients, be sure to take the appropriate steps.
12. Don’t repeat the exact same thing in multiple platforms (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc.) or else people will not follow everywhere you are.
13. Create a content calendar in advance, but don’t “schedule” timed delivery; the essence of social media is genuine engagement and there’s no way you can effectively engage if you’re not a live participant. Also, be sure to sync up your service line campaigns with social media content; relevant postings should complement what is in market. For example, if your first quarter is dedicated to promoting cardiac services, be sure to weave in supporting messages on social sites.
And one comment on contests. They can be excellent tools to garner excitement and increase your viral following. The entry requirements can be as simple as entering an email address for a chance to win, accept nominations for Mother of the Year in the month of May, or ask for a 200 word essay on why they’re committed to making healthy choices during February (Heart Health month). For prizes, can you offer a free comprehensive health screening? Or maybe a spa package certificate to a neighboring business? Get creative.
Everyone has his or her own social media style, but there are definite patterns in Facebook user behavior. For businesses hoping to utilize Facebook's advertising potential, identifying and targeting specific types of users can help narrow more meaningful audiences
This infographic from Optify highlights everyone's favorite Facebook users, from the Gamer to the Stalker and everyone in between
Nice study. Results are quite obvious, but clearly we're all a far way away in Pharma multi-channel:
The five key findings:
* Marketers are familiar with multichannel marketing as an area of focus for improved marketing ROI with 40% of those surveyed assessing themselves as mature practitioners of multi-channel marketing. * It’s not a matter of will, but of skill. Skill gap was identified as the main obstacle to more efficient, integrated marketing. * Those marketers who identified themselves as mature have demonstrated significant business gains in overall campaign performance and ROI. * Mature multi-channel marketers were more likely to be early adopters of innovative technology, more likely to have a good relationship with their colleagues in IT and more likely to have a closer alignment with sales. * Even the mature multi-channel maketers considered their marketing programs to lack true integration and believed that further optimization was possible.
It might be difficult to think of your patients as customers sometimes, but—as more and more patients areusing the internet to research doctors and hospitalsbefore choosing their healthcare providers—the transaction of healthcare has taken on much more of a consumer/business feel.
As with any business, if your customers are unhappy, they’ll take their business elsewhere. You might think you can always get more patients, but your current patients are actually more valuable. According to the White House Officer of Consumer Affairs,it costs over six times more to get new customers than it does to retain the ones you currently have. Now, while that statistic might not have been configured with hospitals or doctors offices in mind, it’s important to remember that your healthcare organization is still a business and your patients are still the customers.
When patients are loyal to your hospital or healthcare organization, they won’t just return to you for future healthcare needs—they’ll tell their friends and family members about their positive experience. Unfortunately, this works in reverse, as well. The White House Officer of Consumer Affairs also reports thatdissatisfied customers will tell between nine and 15 people about their negative experience.Now, again, while that statistic might not have been developed with doctors in mind, with a consumer decision as important as their healthcare, we can imagine the number could stand to be even higher.
Now that we’ve fully explored how important it is to develop patient loyalty, here’s some good news: your inbound marketing is already doing a great job of creating loyal patients.
Five Ways Healthcare Inbound Marketing Promotes Patient Loyalty
You get to know your patients better.By developing personas through yourhealthcare marketing content strategy, you will have a stronger understanding of what your patients want and need from the content you provide. As patients interact with your content and through your healthcare social media channels, you can gauge their reactions and learn from their thoughts. This knowledge can transition to patient interactions and care at your healthcare organization to provide a more positive experience all around.
Your patients get to know you better.The content you provide your patients and the presence you establish across social media channels helps to establish your brand, which, in turn, gives your patients insight into your hospital or healthcare organization. Patients are more likely to feel loyal to a company they “know,” so the more insight you can give them, the stronger their loyalty will be. For instance, consider running a blog series profiling some of your doctors or nurses, or post a “behind the scenes” video of your facility.
You can make connections you might not have made otherwise.The more “available” your hospital or healthcare organization is across online channels, the more likely you are to make new connections with potential, current, and repeat patients. This is particularly important for thehealthcare social mediamarketing aspect of your inbound marketing. For many of your patients, their time on social media is their personal time, so when they use it to connect with your hospital or healthcare organization, they’re making a personal connection. The information you share with them and the information they share back with you works toward building a stronger relationship on more intimate terms.
It allows patients to see your hospital or healthcare organization in a different light.Often, your patients’ interactions with your healthcare organization might not be too pleasant thanks to illness or medical conditions that bring them to your offices. However, thanks to yourhealthcare inbound marketing, patients are able to get a unique perspective on your hospital and doctors that doesn’t always have to involve their own health troubles. They can read blog posts, watch video content, and engage on social media on their own time, which might result in more positive interactions than the ones they have while ill and under your care—regardless of how wonderful it may be!
It can help reassure patients.When a new patient comes under your care, they might have a lot of questions and a lot of concerns that they don’t quite know how to articulate. The more information your website, blog, and social media outlets can have to help ease these concerns, the more reassured your patients will feel. Their increased level of comfort with your hospital or healthcare organization will translate into increased loyalty.
The majority of the promises surrounding inbound marketing involve increasing your “sales” (or number of patients), but maintaining relationships with your customers (patients) and retaining their business (health care) is an added benefit that is just as important—if not more.
Ever wonder why marketing innovation fails at many large companies? A recent report from Forrester suggests we should follow the money...
The article states that only 11% of marketers budget and plan for investments in innovation and experimentation. And only 27% of those who do have budget set aside for innovation actually track the impact of those investments. Only 38% of marketing leaders say they look inside and outside the company for new ideas. How about developing new talent and the marketing leaders of the future? Only 22% actively monitor and promote internal talent and just 12% have a dedicated program to develop internal marketing talent.
My takeaways from the report:
ALL marketing executives should be looking inside and outside the company for new ideas to help reach, engage and convert new customers.Marketing budgets need to include funding for innovative ideas and experimentation.The Marketing planning process should include a full review of all investments made and the business results that each achieved.
So if you want marketing innovation, you simply have to fund it and then you have to track it!
How to ZMOT: introducing a new handbook that helps marketers reach shoppers with strategies and tactics to win critical marketing moments. Download to learn how to show up at the right time, in the right place and with the right content.