Over the past year, we’ve learned that to reach our audiences, we need to connect with them digitally 24/7–365. Making digital connections for hospitals, however, requires constant learning mode, as the digital landscape changes from one day to the next.
In this new digital norm, consumers get information, products and services when, where and how they want. It requires flexible and agile marketing tactics to reach your audience and generate demand.
For instance, TikTok might not have connected with your audience a year ago. But with video growing exponentially during a year of remote work and quarantines, it’s no longer just a platform for pre-teens. A number of major brands now integrate TikTok into their digital marketing strategy.
To maximize customer reach, digital strategies should include all the PESO media areas—paid, earned, shared and owned. Our past advice has looked at the digital ad spend. But first, consider these 5 digital connections to reach your audience:
1. Digital Connections for Hospitals Should Include Video
Recent reports predict that the average person will spend 100 minutes each day watching online videos in 2021. So, we know where audiences are part of the day.
Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or the website, include video in the marketing strategy. Today’s video collection can be less “produced” than previous broadcast video. But to capture quality video that boosts the brand:
- Invest in a good digital camera for still and video
- Invest in a tripod, basic lighting equipment and a neutral backdrop
- Always outline or script content
- Keep content concise and simple
Digital connections for hospitals utilizing video should be kept short. Humans have an average attention span of eight seconds—one second less than a goldfish! As a rule of thumb, limit social media videos to less than two minutes and about 45 seconds for Twitter and TikTok. To increase audience retention, add a “subscribe” CTA to the end of YouTube videos
2. Make Strong Social Connections
When you think you’ve identified the best social media channel for your audience, it will probably change. There are new algorithms, new features from the big three—Facebook, Instagram and Twitter—and shifts in audience preferences to consider.
Despite changes, the key to solid strategy remains quality content. In 2021, your audience wants engaging, transparent and empathetic content. Nearly 4 million people worldwide are active on social media. Besides keeping up with family and friends, they’re also looking for trusted sources of health and wellness information.
Not all social media channels yield great results for the brand. For example, the trending new Clubhouse invitation-only, audio-only app causes concern for HIPAA compliance. But set up profiles and test new options for digital connections with your hospital’s audience such as:
- Short inspirational videos on Instagram Reels and Stories
- Facebook Live educational Q&As with doctors and nurses
- LinkedIn content positioning CEOs as thought leaders
- Pinterest boards with recipes, fitness plans and wellness information
3. Optimize to Reach Your Audience
SEO is crucial for connecting with digital users. Increasing organic search rankings—primarily with Google—is ongoing and long term.
Reaching the audience requires knowing the topics they’re searching and how to best serve content that answers their questions. Anyone crafting content has to also be a SEO expert. Otherwise, the content doesn’t reach the intended audience.
Consumers want informative rich content from healthcare providers that helps them stay healthy. Also, remember to optimize your Google My Business listing as local SEO is increasingly important to reach people searching “Near Me.”
Numerous SEO platforms offer useful tips and even free training for content creators. Search “SEO platforms” to find these options.
4. Blogs and Podcasts Can be Effective Digital Connections for Hospitals
Considering you’re reading this blog, it seems to be a good digital channel for reaching our audience. However, blog popularity declined worldwide over the past few years while the popularity of podcasts rose.
It isn’t an either/or option. Both blogs and podcasts can be effective digital connections for hospitals, drive traffic and elevate the brand. However, blog content requires more than just good writing skills and subject knowledge. As mentioned above, it also requires SEO to rise in search results.
Many healthcare marketers choose both channels to reach audiences. Both are particularly effective for humanizing communication and sharing trustworthy healthcare information. Both also offer opportunities to engage providers in content.
5. AI Connects to the Future of Healthcare
With a growing demand for artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare, 90% of hospital executives report in a recent survey to having an AI strategy in place. Consumers drive that demand by turning more frequently to AI for healthcare needs—from wearing digital health monitors to asking Siri about vaccine side effects.
Whether it’s a new chatbot on the website or an automated diagnostic tool, let audiences know what AI innovations are available to enhance their patient experience.
Also, consistently update information across all digital platforms. Accurate information is critical for voice-activated AI assistants when someone asks “Siri” or “Alexa.”
While digital media may add more hours to healthcare marketers’ days, it keeps us better connected to our audiences and able to respond quickly to their needs.