Social Media for Healthcare

7 Ways to Make Your Hospital A Social Media Star

Featuring your state-of-the-art technology in your healthcare marketing helps educate your potential patients, but people relate to people. Featuring your staff in your hospital social media efforts is a sure bet to making your hospital a social media star.

Sure, healthcare consumers are interested in technology and evidence-based techniques. However it ’s the stellar care they receive from your staff that they’ll remember the most from their hospital stay. A caring nurse, a jovial custodian—that’s what will get them recommending you to family and friends. This is what makes them choose you again and again. People connect with people, whether in person or online. So it’s unsurprising that hospital staff stories make for some of the most popular medical social posts. Here are seven ways to feature your staff on social media.

Caregiver takeover

For people who have never worked in the medical field, what goes on inside a hospital day to day is fascinating. Enlist staff from various departments to participate in day-in-the-life social takeover. Follow an ER doctor, maternity nurse, or radiologist around for a day. Post a mix of text, photos, and live video of their tasks. Just be sure to obtain consents if you include any patients or visitors, or shoot around them (and be sure to not use last names in the audio).

Q&As

The more you can position your staff as experts, the better. Q&As are an easy way to do that, and you have options when it comes to execution. You could have staff weigh in on health-related questions that you come up with, solicit questions from your social media followers or, if you’re feeling daring, schedule and promote a live Q&A session with a provider. Just make sure you select an appropriate expert who will offer useful yet measured responses and understands how to take a patient-specific question and answer in a general manner. And always be sure that you are in control of the session and social media channels.

Patient thank-you’s

There’s no better endorsement of your staff than positive feedback from your patients. Post excerpts from online reviews, discharge surveys, and letters from patients calling out the special care they received during their stay. Don’t forget to include a photo of the staff member being praised. (And be sure to obtain permission to post.)

Health tips

People love health tips. Get your staff to submit their best snippets of advice to you for posting. Remind them to be specific: Readers know they need to “exercise regularly,” but they may not have thought to do a squat each time they unload a plate from the dishwasher.

New staff introductions

This is a super simple way to highlight your staff’s expertise and brag about your hospital’s top talent. Wait until you have a photo and a couple of personal details to share. (It’s not imperative you post this on day one or even during the staff member’s first week, although your administration may make it seem that way.)

Giving back

Healthcare workers are philanthropists at heart and many of them volunteer their time outside of work. Highlight what good people you employ with photos and descriptions of their volunteer efforts. Hint: This is especially effective for community hospitals when they show staff volunteering in the community.

How-to videos

Capitalize on the DIY craze by creating videos featuring staff showing how to do something health-related. It could be anything from how to wrap an injured ankle or perform the Heimlich maneuver to how to make banana pancakes or do a proper push-up. Use your imagination, or ask staff for input on what they’d like to share with your followers. If staff create their own posts or videos, just make sure they submit them to you for posting.

TotalCom is a full-service hospital marketing and advertising agency that believes in getting great results from telling great stories. Contact us for more information on how we can help tell your brand story.

Favorite Sessions from SHSMD Connections ’18: How to Use Facebook Live for Your Hospital

Smiling businesswoman talking on camera - marketing your hospital on Facebook Live videoI realize there are many healthcare marketers that do not have the opportunity to attend SHSMD Connections (Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development annual conference). Sometimes it is budget, sometimes it is time away (and sometimes both). We are fortunate at TotalCom Marketing that we get to attend most years, so I thought I would share some of the highlights from several of the presentations at SHSMD Connections ‘18 held in Seattle this month. There were several that were really helpful, so this will be a multi-part series.

The first session I attended on day one was a “how to” for using Facebook Live. It was presented by the communications team at Virginia Commonwealth University Health System. They have been successfully using Facebook Live since it launched and offered some helpful insight for getting started or just doing it better.

About Facebook Live

Facebook Live is a marketing tool that can prove quite helpful in meeting your organization’s social media objectives (and more). It is immediate, authentic, interactive and a great way to connect and engage with your audience.

Reasons Why You Should Consider Using Facebook Live

  • For now, at least, the Facebook algorithm favors Facebook Live. We have all seen a decline in engagement with our posts, Facebook Live is a way to help overcome this. Facebook will even send your page followers a notification when start or schedule.
  • You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make Facebook Live work for your organization.
  • Facebook Live is another way to connect with patients where they are spending considerable amounts of time each day – on Facebook.

Get Started with Facebook Live

  • woman in headphones sat laptop - engaging with audience by answering Facebook live questionsYou don’t have to have a special video camera, an iPhone works great.
  • Polish up your efforts with a few extra items including a camera mount, tripod, lapel mics to isolate sound and simple lighting. Also, Mevo (“a tv studio in your pocket”) is an app (and more) that allows you to look like you’ve got multiple cameras, allows for on-the-fly editing, is easy to use, requires no video editing experience and can really take your live stream to the next level. Learn more at getmevo.com.

Tips for Best Results

  • Always have two people to manage the live stream as it is more than one person can do alone, especially if you get a lot of engagement on your video.
  • Make sure you have a strong internet connection. VERY IMPORTANT.
  • Promote your live stream in advance. Promote not only on Facebook but Instagram and any other social channels you use. Ask your audience to sign up for a reminder.
  • As per social media best practices, don’t use Facebook Live to sell, but rather to establish your organization or employee as a thought leader and a resource to the community you serve.
  • Keep your production authentic. It is ok that your Facebook Live stream is not Spielberg quality.
  • Strategy first and tactics next. Use Facebook Live for the benefit of the audience, not just because it is fun and cool.
  • Engage with your audience. If people comment questions, answer them in your live video. After the video is over, respond to all of the comment questions so others have the answers, too.
  • Have a lengthy event? Don’t just “set it and forget it”. Best to break up the event into manageable snippets, do interviews in between highlights. Remember to announce often where you are and what you are doing for those who tune in later.
  • Lunch is a good time to go live, as are evenings. However, the majority of the engagement is AFTER the fact.
  • Look outside of healthcare at organizations and brands that are successfully using Facebook Live. Here are a few brands effectively using Facebook Live.
  • Practice, practice, practice… Use Facebook Live personally to learn how. But no worries, you can change the settings for Facebook Live so no one else sees it, in the “Select Privacy” mode, choose “Only me”.
  • Be sure to use Facebook analytics to provide insight and learn how you can fine tune and improve your Facebook Live efforts.
  • Facebook also offers these tips for using Facebook Live

 

Ways to Use Facebook Live

  • Use in place of, or in addition to a press release. News departments are short staffed and they can’t always cover events. For media outlets not able to attend, send them a link to the stream. They can then use some of the footage and include your event in their news report.
  • Interview physicians or demonstrate new technology and procedures.
  • Boost the value of your sponsorships so that you get more than just your logo on a flyer or t-shirt.
  • Appeal to your audience’s curiosity. The examples the presenters gave was about taking a tour of the electrophysiology lab or showcase a renovation.
  • Promote events at your hospital. But always ask, “Is this important to our audience? Is it relevant?” Don’t go live just for the sake of it.

Are you using Facebook Live for your hospital or healthcare organization? We would love to see how you are doing it. Share with us, won’t you?

Blog post written by Lori Moore, Senior Account Manager for TotalCom Marketing Communications. Reach Lori Moore by email or phone at 205.345.7363.

high quality web page

How to Improve the Google Ranking of your Healthcare Site

There’s a list of factors Google considers when grading your healthcare site’s pages as high or low quality. These range from page load times to grammatical mistakes. Top rankings are crucial to the success of your healthcare business. According to a study by Infront Webworks, the first page of Google receives 95 percent of web traffic, with subsequent pages receiving 5 percent of less of total traffic. Today, we’re going to unlock the secrets of how to improve Google ranking for your healthcare site.

What is considered high quality for Google?

  • Unique content
  • Valuable content
    • Google wants relevant helpful content. This is information that’s typically not found anywhere else. This also factors in design and the presentation of your content.
  • External links
    • High quality content links out to its references.
  • Internal links
    • Google likes to see you linking to another page on your website.
  • Searcher’s query
    • Google can tell if a user solves their search query using a page. For example, you type in “healthcare marketing,” and someone clicks your site. If they go back and visit a different site, or perform a new search, it tells Google that the page did not successfully answer that searcher’s query.  If they click on a page, go perform an unrelated search and then switch back to their email, that tells Google the page solved their query.
  • Load time
    • The page has to load quickly on any connection.
  • User experience and design
    • This means high quality design and accessibility on mobile, desktop tablet and laptop.
  • Grammatically correct and well-spelled content
    • Google analyzes pages for poor spelling and bad grammar. If your site includes these, you don’t qualify as a high-quality site anymore.
  • Non-text content needs to have text alternatives
    • This is why Google encourages use of the alt attribute or video transcriptions on non-text content.
  • Well-organized content
    • Content that is easy to consume and understand.

As you can see Google’s algorithms are sophisticated and there is more to a website than just hitting “publish.” Start by analyzing the pages on your website. Make a list of high priority edits you need to make and use this list to guide you.

If your website is not living up to your expectations and you want to improve it, contact us! Whether you need a few tweaks or just content added to your current site, or a completely new, mobile-friendly website design, contact TotalCom Marketing to discuss what the process looks like.

 

Hospital Social Media Strategy Checklist

Are you satisfied with your hospital’s social media efforts?  Perhaps it is time to review and possibly revise your social media strategy. Here are some social media strategy DO’s and DONT’s for healthcare marketers.

Common Mistakes in Hospital Social Media Strategy

FIrst of all, taking a look at what “NOT” to do can be helpful. So here are a few of the “DONTs”.

  • Poor planning up front. “We need to be on Facebook” is not enough. Therefore, clearly define the goals, objectives, and metrics for measuring. After all, knowing what success looks like is important.
  • No content calendar. Creating a content calendar is an essential part of the process. In addition, the calendar needs to coincide with other hospital communication efforts, local events, and even the seasons.
  • No set schedule. Most posting is haphazard. Instead, post content at regular intervals, at opportune times.
  • Don’t leave it to marketing. Effective social media execution requires participation from all levels of the facility. Therefore, involve the service line managers, physicians, HR, and department heads.
  • No procedure for responding. Because patients and others in the community will attempt to engage with your hospital online, have a system for handling these comments and responses, ahead of time.

Essential Elements of an Effective Healthcare Social Media Strategy

In addition, your social media strategy should answer many of these questions.

  • What are we trying to accomplish?
  • What does success look like? Furthermore, how will we measure success?
  • Who is responsible? In addition, who is on the team?
  • What are the priorities?
  • Who are the target audiences?
  • Where will the content come from? Also, what about photos?
  • How will we involve doctors and other professionals?
  • What is the posting schedule?
  • How and who will  handle comments and responses?
  • What level of integration will there be with other communication efforts and channels?
  • What about boosted posts? And if so, what about budget?

In conclusion,  if you are looking to improve your hospital’s social media efforts, a review of the basics may go a long way.


ABOUT JIMMY WARREN
Early to bed, early to rise, work like crazy and advertise! Jimmy Warren is president of TotalCom Marketing Communications and has over 30 years experience helping many kinds of businesses build a strong brand. A large portion of that experience has been helping hospitals and healthcare organizations. He loves the ‘weird’, interesting and extremely talented people he gets to work with every day – that includes co-workers and clients. Outside of work he enjoys his grand kids, traveling and any kind of good ole fashion Alabama sports. Roll Tide!

doctorholingclipboard

Tackle Healthcare Pay-Per-Click Conversions through Digital Marketing

Beat the Healthcare PPC Wormhole

Digital marketing in the healthcare industry is crucial in a time where 1 out of every 20 google searches are health related, but running a successful pay-per-click (PPC) campaign is challenging. Without advanced techniques, health care companies will waste their money on ad space by failing to get seen.

Digital marketing for hospitals is specifically challenging. Below we have outlined exactly why your hospital may be struggling in the PPC department, and listed a number of tactics to help you beat the PPC healthcare wormhole.

(Are your hospital’s digital ads being blocked? Get around ad blocking.)

Digital Marketing For Hospitals: Challenges

There are a number of reasons why digital marketing for hospitals using PPC poses challenges:

  1. Medical information is sensitive: You have to be careful with your ad word choices with strict HIPAA privacy laws in place.
  2. Retargeting: a recent adjustment of Google’s policies prohibits health care facilities from remarketing themselves.
  3. Competition: Because of the above retargeting restrictions, staying visible on search engine result pages (SERPs) is incredibly important, but keywords are highly competitive (and expensive).
  4. Knowledge Graphs: In an effort to provide more correct medical information, and panicked patients, google has implemented knowledge graphs (certified medical information) that takes over the right hand side of SERPs.

All of that considered, there must be a way to effectively use digital marketing for hospitals with PPC.

Contact Information

Is your contact information readily available for other businesses and patients to view? Check, check, and check again! This is critical for your PPC plan. A patient searching for hospital care digitally is most likely in need of services sooner than later. Having your contact information positioned clearly can set you apart from competitors. Be sure to set up call extensions, location extensions and sitelink extensions to your ad. This makes for a larger ad, and is known to contribute to higher rankings on SERPs.

Contact information is the number one way to gain conversions, so place it on every landing page. If it’s hard to find your phone number, and easy to find a competitors, you will most likely lose a potential patient.

Mobile Marketing

Going mobile is imperative. If contact information is a key factor for a PPC strategy, so is going mobile. Contact information involves communication, and if you need fast contact, you have to call. Using your phone to find and contact a hospital makes it simpler. If your hospital is mobile, a potential patient simply needs to click the number that pops up on the Google page to call you.

Be sure you are tracking your Adwords performance by specific devices. Pay close attention to what mobile campaigns are and are not working. Make your bid adjustments accordingly.

Know Yourself

Finally, understand your target audience. Determine what your patients are searching for the most. There are many types of patients to consider for a hospital. Are your patients generally looking for urgent, emergency care? Are they searching hospital options knowing they will be in for a long term stay? Do your patients even know what they are looking for at all?

Step into the patient’s shoes and consider what you would search for if you were them. Think of triggers that grab their attention that you can then incorporate into the text of your PPC ads. Knowing what sets you apart from your competitors helps you create a PPC campaign that stands out

Interested in learning more about using PPC for your hospital’s digital marketing strategies? We specialize in using dedicated PPC campaigns to boost results for hospitals looking to gain an edge in the paid digital space. Contact us today.

social media strategy

Creating a Sophisticated Hospital Social Media Strategy

 

 

Social media has become a pillar of hospital marketing – and its importance grows every year. According to surveys, nearly 99 percent of all hospitals in the nation are on social media in some facet. But according to the same surveys, only 17 percent believe their social media efforts have been “very effective”.

The disparity comes in the level of sophistication of the social media strategies being implemented. Most providers’ social media efforts are rudimentary at best. These hospitals have social media accounts, but don’t maximize its effectiveness.

Common Mistakes with Hospital Social Media Strategies

This failure to properly implement social media is resulting in such a low satisfaction rate across the nation. (It must be said that those who are satisfied with social media have had great success with the channel, meaning that doing it well may very well be worth the effort.)

Common mistakes include:

  • Lacking a cohesive social media strategy: Many facilities have only a rough idea of what they’d like to accomplish, and haven’t defined goals, objectives, methods, metrics, or anything more specific than “We need to be on Facebook.”
  • Not creating a content calendar: One problem facilities run into is not knowing what to talk about. Creating a content calendar is an essential part of the process so a marketing department can know what to say, and when to say it.
  • Not sticking to a firm schedule: Most posting is haphazard. To be successful, content must be posted at a regular interval, at opportune times.
  • Leaving social media only to the marketing department. Sophisticated social media execution requires participation from all levels of the facility, not just the marketing department. Though it must be managed and overseen by the marketing department.
  • Not having a procedure for responding to visitors. Your patients will attempt to engage with the hospital online; not having a system for handling these comments and responses will hinder the success of the strategy.

These mistakes are preventing hospitals from the level of sophistication that is required for optimal results.

Essential Elements of a Viable Strategy

Creating a sophisticated strategy for a hospital marketing approach require a few essential elements, such as:

  • Who will be responsible?
  • What topics will be discussed?
  • Where will the hospital pull its information for content?
  • Who will create the content?
  • What processes are in place to involve doctors and other professionals?
  • How often will content be posted?
    What procedure will be in place to handle comments and responses?
  • What level of integration will there be with other marketing efforts and channels?
  • What budget does the hospital have for boosting posts and creating ads?
  • What are the demographics of the target audience for social media advertising?
  • What pages on the website will we want to send traffic to from social media platforms?

Answering those questions will go a long way toward creating a sophisticated social media strategy for a hospital that is looking to increase engagement, boost brand reputation, and enhance word-of-mouth marketing for new patients.

Contact TotalCom Hospital Marketing for a hospital marketing agency that understands social media and how to execute it with a layer of sophistication that gets results.

social media strategy

Do’s and Don’ts of Hospital Social Media Strategy

Social media has become a pillar of hospital marketing – and its importance grows every year.

According to surveys, nearly 99 percent of all hospitals in the nation are on social media in some facet. But according to the same surveys, only 17 percent believe their social media efforts have been “very effective”.

The disparity comes in the social media strategies being implemented. While most hospitals have a social media presence, it is what is being done with them that counts.

Common Mistakes with Hospital Social Media Strategies

This failure to properly implement social media is resulting in such a low satisfaction rate across the nation. (It must be said that those who are satisfied with social media have had great success with the channel, meaning that doing it well is well worth the effort.) Common mistakes include:

  • Lacking a cohesive social media strategy: Many facilities have only a rough idea of what they’d like to accomplish, and haven’t defined goals, objectives, methods, metrics, or anything more specific than “We need to be on Facebook.”
  • Not creating a content calendar: One problem facilities run into is not knowing what to talk about. Creating a content calendar is an essential part of the process so a marketing department can know what to say, and when to say it.
  • Not sticking to a firm schedule: Most posting is haphazard. To be successful, content must be posted at a regular interval, at opportune times.
  • Leaving social media only to the marketing department. Effective social media execution requires participation from all levels of the facility, not just the marketing department.
  • Not having a procedure for responding to visitors. Your patients will attempt to engage with the hospital online; not having a system for handling these comments and responses will hinder the success of the strategy.

These mistakes are preventing hospitals from achieving optimal results with their social media marketing efforts.

Essential Elements of a Viable Strategy

Creating a sophisticated strategy for a hospital marketing approach require a few essential elements, such as:

  • Who will be responsible?
  • What topics will be discussed?
  • Where will the hospital pull its information for content?
  • Who will create the content?
  • What processes are in place to involve doctors and other professionals?
  • How often will content be posted?
  • What procedure will be in place to handle comments and responses?
  • What level of integration will there be with other marketing efforts and channels?
  • What budget does the hospital have for boosting posts and creating ads?
  • What are the demographics of the target audience for social media advertising?
  • What pages on the website will we want to send traffic to from social media platforms?

Answering those questions will go a long way toward creating a sophisticated social media strategy for a hospital that is looking to increase engagement, boost brand reputation, and enhance word-of-mouth marketing for new patients.

Contact Jimmy Warren, president of TotalCom Marketing for other ways to improve your healthcare marketing including both traditional and social media.

marketing trends data

3 Hospital Marketing Trends That Are A Must

Hospital marketing trends can be a challenge. Engaging consumers and convincing them to turn to your physicians and services – all while building brand recognition and authority and expanding reach to new potential patients.

It helps to identify important hospital marketing trends that will make an impact over the next year. In a couple of weeks, we’ll look at trends to follow in 2016, but for now, we’ll examine three trends that have made an impact in 2015 and should be followed today.

Here are three important hospital marketing trends to include in your marketing campaign, if you haven’t already.

Tap Into Search Marketing

Before the average patient ever sees a doctor, he or she will have searched online for answers to their symptoms and problems. In fact, 72 percent of Internet users reported looking online for health-related information within the past 12 months, according to Pew Research. This is why WebMD is so popular. This is why countless other sites including medical reviews exist – to provide a steady supply of health-related information for people searching for it.

A hospital has to find ways to tap into search. This is not so much a trend as it is a way of life.

The more information a patient gets from a source online, the more likely it is that that patient will use that facilities services. Tapping into search can mean taking advantage of SEO and SEM, writing blogs with keywords relevant to searches (i.e. find what health questions people are asking online and then writing blogs focused on those answers), and even spreading the message through guest posts and articles that link back to the main hospital website.

This leads us to another major trend: having a robust repository of knowledge.

Create Content and Post

This is another trend that is more like a way of life. A hospital’s website should be a virtual resource for health-related information, complete with topics that help patients find answers to their problems before they ever see a doctor.

This can take many forms. We recommend a hospital blog. But other options are static content that reads like an online encyclopedia or a FAQ page.

The content should then be re-purposed across all of your channels. It also forms great material for PR pitches, both traditional and digital.

Use a Reputation Management Service

Over 60 percent of patients use online doctor reviews before choosing a physician. The number of patients who use online physician and hospital reviews jumped by 68 percent from 2013 to 2014. These two stats alone reveal just how important it is to use some kind of reputation management service for your hospital.

A service can gather reviews and encourage patients to leave reviews on websites. They can also curate these reviews and let you know when one has been posted. Review tracking is a powerful way to manage your reputation, as is the ability to reach out to patients and encourage them to actually create a review. More and more patients are leaving reviews these days, but the more positive ones you have, the better your reputation will be.

Social media is a strong channel for this. You can solicit reviews and have them on your Facebook page, as well as direct patients and followers to external websites for reviews.

Reach for Better Hospital Marketing in 2016

In the coming weeks, check back here for what we expect to be crucial in 2016 for hospital marketing. For now, form a plan to implement the trends outlined here.

ABOUT JIMMY WARREN
Early to bed, early to rise, work like crazy and advertise! Jimmy Warren is president of TotalCom Marketing Communications and has over 30 years experience helping all kinds of businesses build a strong brand. A large portion of that experience has been helping hospitals and healthcare organizations. He loves the ‘weird’, interesting and extremely talented people he gets to work with every day – that includes co-workers and clients. Outside of work he enjoys his grandkids, traveling and any kind of good ole fashion Alabama sports. Roll Tide!