Social Media for Healthcare

Social Media strategy for Hospitals

Hospital Social Media Strategy Checklist

Social Media for Hospitals

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!

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 today.)

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 incredible 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.

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.

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

Social Media for HospitalsSocial 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.

3 Hospital Marketing Trends That Are A Must

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Hospital marketing is 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!

Maximize Medical Reviews to Market Your Hospital

Online Reviews to Market Your HospitalWhen it comes to healthcare, patients are consumers, just like with any other industry. Consumers like to share reviews on how their experiences went with a provider, and healthcare is no different.

In a day and age where the average adult spends over 20 hours a week online, with 28% of that time on social media sites, it’s impossible to ignore the potential of internet marketing and management.

It’s imperative to understand the clout of online patient reviews.

One in four new patients report having chosen a physician based on a website reviews. Furthermore, the power of influence is growing, with some insurance companies even linking patients back to these sites. While posts on medical review sites (such as Healthgrades, Yelp, Vitals, etc.) are anonymous, there are tactics that can be used to elevate the good and combat the bad, overall boosting a hospital’s online reputation.

 

Visibility

With around 80% of customers searching the Internet for information on doctors, it’s important your healthcare facility is visible on all of the most important medical review sites.

Studies have shown that Healthgrades® is the most searched medical review site, with Yelp following close behind. Placing your hospital on these sites gives consumers an enormous amount of confidence in the brand. It is greatly advised that you do not discourage patients from critique with tactics such as a contractual agreement that prohibits a patient from public reviews. Many hospitals and practices have such tactics in place and are building a relationship of mistrust, suspicion, and hostility.

That being said, too much visibility can negatively affect your online reputation just as easily. Be sure to have a policy in place that advises all of your staff to have private social media accounts for socializing, and public/professional accounts for engaging in medical groups and gaining public trust.

 

Request

Positioning yourself online, in any platform, makes your hospital open to extreme criticism. There are a few tactics one can take to encourage positive reviews and dissuade the bad from emerging.

As each new generation enters the age where they are seeking health care without parental supervision, the Internet savvy of hospital consumers increases. Newer patients searching for online medical reviews can tell the difference between an authentic and fake review. When requesting reviews, ask your patients directly. Do not rely on family and friends to boost your positive feedback. Advise physicians to ask their patients they have a strong relationship with to take a moment to review their work and the hospital. Not all patients will oblige, but some will.

Another tactic to generate positive commentary is to give surveys to recurring patients while they wait for their scheduled appointment. Linking to an online review site at the end of a survey could generate traffic. You can also link to review sites through a follow-up email. Think of your follow-up emails as a medical thank you card. Kindness goes a long way with patients, and sending a thank you card encourages a strong bedside manner.

Want to discourage consumers from ranting and raving their negative experiences online for the world to see? Presenting complaint cards to patients provides the consumer a chance to get their anger out before going public, declining the likelihood of taking it online.

 

Reply

Once placed on any medical review website, commentary on your services (good and bad) will begin to appear. It’s important to do a consistent scan of these sites for new reviews. It is highly likely that more than a few patients will be disappointed in the outcome of their treatment and say so online.

Respond to these reviews in a timely and conscientious manner. With a proper response, other patients may even come to your defense. Acknowledge the person’s complaint, show a commitment to improving your service, and encourage the distressed patient to contact you directly in order to discuss their complaint and come to a resolution.

Utilize the power of medical review websites! Not only do they encourage more patients to use your healthcare facilityl, with enough positive reviews, you can boost your credibility with Google and receive a higher ranking on search engine results!

Want to learn more tips to market your hospital online? Check out this blog for more information!

Need help marketing your healthcare facility? Contact Jimmy Warren today.


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 grand kids, traveling and any kind of good ole fashion Alabama sports. Roll Tide!

Healthcare Marketing: Connect with Emotion

Emotional Connections Healthcare Marketing Totalcom

In healthcare marketing we have to walk the line between expertise and emotion. People will be drawn to your facility for your expertise, reputation, outcomes, physicians, and technology, but those alone are not enough to convince them to choose your hospital.

Ones health is very personal and patients choose healthcare facilities because they trust them and connect with them – on an emotional level.

So promote your technology, new services, and procedures, but do so in a way that connects with your audience.

Branding Builds Familiarity and Loyalty

One way to connect with future patients on an emotional level is through a strong branding strategy. Effective branding relies on consistency. Your logo, colors, tone and message should always remain the same regardless of the platform you are using.

If a consumer is familiar with your TV ads, they should have no trouble recognizing your outdoor or paid ads on Facebook.

Marketing your hospital across multiple media outlets helps build a stronger brand. If your TV and radio ads are combined with a good social media presence and outdoor, people will become more familiar with your facility than if you just focus on one medium alone. It takes several touch points before consumers make a decision – they need to see you and know you before they choose you.

Tell Stories

Consumers connect emotionally when you tell your story. Patient testimonials are great because they involve a real person telling their real patient experience at your facility.

Prospective patients can relate to the condition, the apprehension, and the suffering and yearn for the same positive outcome.

Patient stories can of course be told through traditional media. But, blogging and online videos can also be very effective for relaying a patient’s experience. Having both video and audio and little more time than is available in a television commercial, makes video testimonials especially powerful.

Another way to tell your story is from the perspective of the physician. For instance, if someone is searching online for solutions to their back pain and they find a video of your physician explaining a new procedure done at your hospital, they can begin building that bond of trust before ever meeting the doctor in person! Video makes doctors human, takes away some of the anxiety and makes the prospective patient confident in the expertise of the physician and the facility.

Encourage Social Media Engagement

People are more likely to connect with your hospital emotionally when they see others have that connection. That is why it is so important to encourage your patients to engage on social media. There are several ways to do this.

One idea is the use of a specified hashtag. Brookwood Medical Center in Birmingham, AL has had great success with this strategy. In their #ichooseb campaign they urge patients to use the hashtag and then give the reason they chose that particular hospital.

As a result of this tactic, you see a ton of posts on social media where patients are telling others all the great things about Brookwood Medical Center. Not only is this free advertising, but it also gives people who may not have had any experience with that facility an immediate emotional connection. People think, ”If my friend Lisa chose Brookwood, then maybe I need to go there as well!”

When you do experience social media engagement, make sure to nurture it by responding. You build that emotional connection when you respond to someone’s social media post because it shows to that patient and their friends that you care about what they have to say.

 

If you need help connecting with your target audience on a more personal, emotional level, contact Jimmy Warren today!


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 grand kids, traveling and any kind of good ole fashion Alabama sports. Roll Tide!