Social Media for Healthcare

3 Tips to Overcome Decline in Your Hospital’s Facebook Posts

Facebook post declineAre your hospital’s Facebook posts being seen by fewer and fewer users?

There is definitely a decline in organic reach on Facebook.

According to Facebook, the reason for the decline is the increasing competition. More brands have Pages and are putting out more information. Facebook claims to want to make sure users’ experiences are good ones, so they are showing users stories in their News Feed that are most relevant to them (based on their prior activity on Facebook).

Some think it is because Facebook wants Pages to buy (more) ads.

Here are several tips to help your posts have a better chance of being shown in more users News Feed.

  • Quick and Original. Keep your posts short and original. It’s fine to share information from other sources occasionally. But the majority of your posts should be original content.

  • Pictures. Incorporate photos and videos. Photos depicting human interaction tend to be more successful. Show people interacting with your brand. Posts with videos are often times even more successful than ones with photographs.

  • Call to Action. Ask users to do something. Ask a question, take a poll, ask for feedback and opinions. Be sure to respond to those that do.

Be sure to use Page Insights to evaluate your most successful posts. Check to see which ones get the most likes, shares and comments.

Even though there may be a decline in organic reach, your hospital’s Page can still be used to build and grow strong relationships with the community in which you serve.

Contact Jimmy Warren to learn how you can better market your hospital.

 


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!

 

Marketing Your Hospital to the New Generation

Marketing to Millenials There is no doubt that in today’s digital world that marketing your hospital has evolved to include more than just traditional marketing and advertising efforts. Today, everything from search engine optimization to social media plays a role in getting people to choose your hospital over the competition.

While Millennials are likely not the majority of cardiac, cancer, and some other service lines, they are your future patients and often assist their parents and grandparents in making key healthcare decisions, often doing the research online for their parents and grandparents.

Be Social

Statistics show that social media is essential for reaching the younger generation.

Did you know that 90% of 18 to 24-year-olds trust healthcare-related information if it is shared by someone they are connected to on social media? (Statistic provided by Search Engine Land.) Therefore, it is essential that your hospital is not only active on social media platforms, but that you should also encourage happy patients to mention your hospital on social networks.

Despite this statistic, only approximately 26% of hospitals within the United States are active on social media (statistic provided by DC Interactive Group). Social media isn’t going away – if your hospital is not active on these growing platforms, now is the time to start.

Monitor Reviews

Before determining which hospital to visit or doctor to use, most Millennials search online for reviews and other, relevant information about the doctor or hospital. Therefore, it is essential that someone is monitoring and responding to online reviews not only for each of your hospitals, but also each of your doctors.

Fortunately, there are several tools that allow you to quickly and efficiently monitor reviews across the Internet, providing you with real-time emails to notify you of new reviews.

Use Online Advertising

In addition to being social and monitoring reviews, you can help improve the overall recognition of your hospital through affordable online advertising. There are a variety of ways to have your hospital and doctor profiles to show up across the Internet – plus, it is incredibly affordable when compared to traditional advertising methods.

Not only can you track the results, but you can also choose which websites your ads appear on, who sees your ads (by choosing demographics), and the geographical location that you are targeting.

At the end of the day, with Millennials relying on the Internet when choosing which hospitals and doctors to trust, it is important that your hospital is showing up online. Get active on social media, monitor and respond to reviews, and use the power of online advertising to help your hospital stay in the mind of your target audience.

 

Contact Jimmy Warren to learn how you can better market your hospital and monitor your reviews online.

 


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!

Facebook to Market a Nursing Home? Yes!

Facebook for Nursing Home MarketingFor a number of reasons, in order to build census, long-term care facilities can no longer rely heavily on faxing over avails and dropping off cookies to the hospital discharge planner.

Instead, new tactics must be considered to win over a different audience. New channels that will reach and influence the decision maker BEFORE the care decision making process starts – the Baby Boomer adult children of prospective patients.

One channel worthy of taking a look at – social media giant Facebook.

  • 45% of Adults 60 plus use Facebook on a regular basis (Pew Research).
  • Adults 60 plus are Facebook’s largest growing audience – increasing more than 80% since 2011 (istrategylabs).
  • The top 4 online destinations for Adults 60 plus are (in order) Google, Facebook, Yahoo and YouTube (AARP).
  • Baby Boomers spend more time online than do Millennials – an average of 27 hours per week compared to 25 hours per week (WSL).

A few more reasons to consider Facebook:

  • Familiarity – Marketers should personally use it to professionally understand and successfully execute it – and most do.
  • Interaction – Baby Boomers are accustomed to one-on-one interaction, and Facebook, unlike traditional media which is more of a one-way communication channel, affords this opportunity.

But before a page is created and posts and pics are added, it is important to understand:

1. All media efforts – whether social or traditional – should be used as a tactic to accomplish a marketing objective, and should tie back to the overall strategic plan. Just because Facebook is “exciting”, or a magazine is running a special, or an event would be fun to participate – does not mean it is a good idea. All efforts must connect back to the company’s overall plan for success.

2. A social media policy must be established. This is imperative regardless of whether or not your facility participates in social media marketing, as employees, patient families, volunteers, and visitors are all present and can bring your facility along with them – for good or  bad.  With the guidance of HR and Legal, clear rules and boundaries must be developed, shared and documented with all of the above audiences – especially employees. Clear rules and examples of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable must be shared through a variety of channels including online, in social media, new employee/volunteer orientation, in-house signage, communication with family, etc.

Still wondering how posts and pics can benefit your facility? Facebook offers opportunities to:

  • Build trusting relationships with decision makers
  • Establish expertise in the industry or in a specific niche
  • Influence decision makers
  • Humanize your brand
  • Keep families and friends up to date with your facility (i.e. new activities, renovations, etc)
  • Increase traffic to your website
  • Monitor and manage your online reputation
  • Generate leads
  • Recruit new employees
  • Retain employees
  • Acknowledge volunteers
  • Better inform patient families and employees during weather events, crisis situations, etc.

If any of these can help you accomplish your marketing objectives and overall strategic plan, then Facebook deserves consideration as part of your marketing efforts.

If you have questions about how to set up a Facebook page for your facility, or about content, social media policy, or strategy,  contact Lori Moore at TotalCom Marketing.

Healthcare Marketing: Current Trends in Social Marketing for Hospitals

Best practices for healthcare organizations utilizing social media.

Trending concept.Zsolt Bicskey writing for business2community.com recently gave what he thought were the top trends and best practices for using social media by hospitals and healthcare organizations.  His main points are provided here with some slight editing.

Incentivizing Social Media

Having media accounts is useless without followers. Few patients have a reason to follow their hospital on Facebook — it’s up to marketers to convince them otherwise. Start by asking patients to like your pages and profiles (put your info on a business card, perhaps?) and even incentivize the process with drawings of gift cards for the gift shop or discounted parking, etc. Or, if you’re really into making a splash in the online community, send patients information via social media about upcoming appointments and health information they may find informative. The same idea applies to emailed newsletters, text message appointment times, and other reminders.

Visualizations

Marketers have found that people react better to bright, attractive imagery rather than boring blocks of Web text. When you’re making posts or publishing blogs on social media, accompany them with multimedia like videos, infographics, and images. People are more likely to halt their newsfeed scrolling if they come across something that pops off the page. Think visual when you start out on your campaign and find pictures and graphs that accurately reflect your information.

Website Linking

Websites can be like secondary storefronts for hospitals and healthcare organizations. In terms of social medical marketing, link to and from your website with your social profiles and keep it stocked full of new, original, and accurate information about your hospital and your service lines. As mentioned, the best marketing campaigns set you up as a professional authority in a field. Writing pamphlets, articles, and blogs can help support this idea — all you have to do is link them through to your website.

Enlisting the Masses

It would be impossible for you, a busy healthcare marketer, to do all of this on your own. Instead, enlist help from your staff and other experts. Did you get new technology? Ask a doctor or nurse to write up a few hundred words that you then publish on your website. Don’t be afraid to try new things, either; sometimes the most successful strategies are the ones no one has ever tried before.

Going Forward

The most important thing to do is to keep at it. Don’t give up if you don’t have every Facebook follower in town; focus instead on the long-term goal of creating an online brand and presence. Healthcare is a difficult, competitive field on the Internet. It is your job, and you should employ social healthcare marketing in order to support your organization as a source of valuable healthcare information and to provide patients with information.

Hospital Marketing: Social Media Facts to Consider for 2014 (Part 4 of 4)

Facebook and YouTube are in your face!social media for hospitals

The use of social media continues to grow.  Facebook now claims over 1 billion users worldwide.  It’s not just a phase; online social networking is here to stay.  And because of its use and its staying power, it should be included in the marketing strategy of every hospital and every healthcare organization.  It’s where consumers are.  And for long periods of time.  And consumers expect your presence there.  And other social media sites have impressive numbers of users too.  Here are a few interesting facts:

1.  1 million websites have integrated with Facebook.  Not only are consumers engaged on Facebook, other websites have links to Facebook multiplying and compounding access.

2.  80% of users prefer to connect to brands on Facebook.  Consumers expect to find our brands on Facebook.  They want to use the site to gather information about the brand and if they are brand loyalists they want engagement.  This is particularly pertinent to hospital marketers.  Your consumers expect you to have a presence in social media

3.  25% of Facebook uses don’t set any of their privacy settings.  There’s been much talk recently about privacy.  Facebook has changed the way privacy settings are selected.  But even with that, a full one-fourth of uses have not bothered with their privacy settings.

4.  25% of Facebook users check their account at least five times per day.  Facebook users visit the network a lot.  Returning to it to post or just check their newsfeed happens throughout the day.  Users are checking in on a regular basis.

5.  YouTube reaches more U.S. adults 18-34 than any cable network. Even with the tremendous growth of cable networks among younger adults, YouTube reaches more of them.  Of course one video would not reach as many consumers as a schedule of spots run on major cable networks but YouTube is extremely popular.  It’s time to consider using video in your marketing strategy.  Start simple but don’t miss out on the opportunity to reach a big base of consumers.

As healthcare marketers it seems a bit overwhelming.  The strength and power of Social media and the various platforms and sites and how consumers utilize online social media can become almost too much to get your arms around.  And of course once started the monster has to be fed.  You can’t set it up and watch it go.  It requires time and effort.

But the numbers speak for themselves.  And active social media strategy is important.  Hospital marketing departments can’t be present on all social media sites.  But choose the one (or ones) that fit your hospital’s marketing objectives and do it well.  Don’t overstretch your capabilities. Examine the numbers and see what’s best for your healthcare organization and then make a commitment to be active and to make it as effective as possible. 

Statistics accredited to Belle Beth Cooper writing for the Huffington Post (huffingtonpost.com).

Hospital Marketing: Social Media Facts to Consider for 2014 (Part 3 of 4)

social media for businessConsumers are linking in!  But they aren’t very active.

As social networking sites grow, healthcare marketers must keep a close watch on which ones could be a useful marketing tool.  Hospital marketers can’t actively participate on all social platforms so it’s important to know which ones are most effective.  Although a primarily a business social network, Linkedin has been growing at a very rapid pace.  Here are two statistics, which are important:

1.  A new member joins LinkedIn every 2 seconds.  LinkedIn is one of the fastest growing social sites and has become one of the more dominant ones.  Mainly a site for professionals who want to connect for business purposes, it usefulness to hospital marketers is probably limited.  Except perhaps for HR.

2.  LinkedIn users are less active than users of other social media sites.

Although LinkedIn is growing extremely fast, its percentage of active users trail other sites.  This makes sense since Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Google+ are used for socializing, LinkedIn is more for professional use.  So users of LinkedIn don’t visit or use it nearly as often as the other dominant social networking sites.  Credibility is higher on LinkedIn and it’s more useful for business purposes.

For healthcare marketers, LinkedIn is not your first choice for a social media strategy.  The other sites are more useful and efficient.  They are much more for participatory content and engagement.  With that said, as noted earlier, LinkedIn could be a very useful tool for HR as they seek and recruit professional talent.

 

Statistics accredited to Belle Beth Cooper writing for the Huffington Post (huffingtonpost.com).

 

 

Hospital Marketing: Social Media Facts to Consider for 2014 (Part 2 of 4)

Patients use mobile to connect to hospital social media sitesSocial media has gone mobile. And smart phones are our constant companion.

As healthcare marketers experiment and learn more about social media it’s important to know the role smart phones play in a person’s social networking activities.  It’s increasingly about mobility.  Here are two facts to consider:

1. 189 million Facebook users are “mobile only”.  Many (millions) of Facebook users don’t access Facebook from their desktop or laptop but rather from their smart phones only.   And that’s a 7% increase in the past year.

So as hospital marketers increasingly include social media as an important part of their overall marketing strategy, it’s important to consider how the content displays on smart phones and smaller screens

2.  63% of smartphone owners have their phones with them all but one hour during the working day.  79% for less than 2 hours a day.  And 25% of smartphone owners ages 18-44 can’t recall the last time their smartphone wasn’t with them. Our phones are considered such an important part of our lives; consumers are rarely without it nearby.

Smartphones have become ubiquitous. They are always a part of our lives.  Our connection to others and to the web is through our phones.  So as healthcare marketers we must make sure our content is accessible and viewable on mobile screens.  And we must consider how consumers access and use the web to make sure our online and social media strategies are appropriate for those who use their phones all day every day.

 

Statistics accredited to Belle Beth Cooper writing for the Huffington Post (huffingtonpost.com).

 

 

Hospital Marketing: Social Media Facts to Consider for 2014 (Part 1 of 4)

This isn’t your kid’s social media anymore!  Adults are getting in on the action.

mature adults on hospital websiteHealthcare marketers often think social media is for the younger generation.  Valuable yes, but a vehicle to reach and engage a younger audience.  But that has been changing and continues to change.  Here are two facts we can’t ignore:

1. Facebook is already a predominantly adult social network and now the fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55-63 year olds.  This demographic has grown 79% since 2012.   And the 45-54 age bracket is the fastest growing demographic on both Facebook and Google+.  Within this demo, Facebook has grown 46% and Google+ 56%.

For hospital marketers this is a prime target audience.  And their increasing use of these three platforms certainly makes social media extremely viable. Our social media strategy should not be to just to engage young adults.  We must make sure our strategy and messaging is targeting older adults and their needs and interests.

2.  And if that isn’t enough to get our attention, social media is now the number one activity on the web, surpassing porn (thankfully!).  Social media is now the most common activity online.  When you’re on Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest there are more people doing the same things than anything else on the web. 

It’s clear that social media is not just a fad. With new platforms and new users, it has become a habit and it continues to grow. As healthcare marketers we can’t ignore it.  It has become a necessity.  It should be an important component of our overall marketing strategy.  Especially since its use is becoming so common within a key target demo.

Statistics accredited to Belle Beth Cooper writing for the Huffington Post (huffingtonpost.com).

 

Healthcare Marketing: More Focus on Search, Less on Social

In the rush to do social media, healthcare marketers have neglected what may be more important – SEO.  It’s time to correct that.

180435502Writing for Search Engine Watch, Jay Taylor wrote a very interesting article about today’s emphasis on social media at the expense of search engine marketing.  It was very stimulating and thought provoking.  The article was directed to small and medium sized businesses, but it’s very appropriate for healthcare marketers.  The article is reprinted here but I’ve taken the liberty to make a few changes directing it specifically to hospital and healthcare marketing:

Social media is all the rave, and for good reason.

Fortune 500 companies are showing that social can be a very effective marketing tool, particularly when it comes to brand awareness and engagement.

But how effective is social media when it comes to customer acquisition for hospitals?

Hospitals and healthcare organizations are increasingly placing emphasis on social media marketing as a customer acquisition tool, while placing less emphasis on search marketing. Here are five reasons why this is a mistake, and why hospitals should focus on search, not social when it comes to acquiring patients.

1. Search Gets Hospitals in Front of Prospective Customers Who Aren’t Already Familiar With Their Brand

Unlike Fortune 500 companies, most hospitals don’t have the resources to invest in brand awareness campaigns that can take months or years to pay dividends. New patient acquisition is the primary objective, and search allows hospitals to get in front of prospective customers who aren’t already familiar with their brand, but are in need of their products or services.

While organic search takes time, paid search allows hospitals to get in front of prospective patients immediately with ads that are contextually relevant to their search query. So, even if the prospective customer isn’t familiar with the hospital serving the ad, that’s OK, because that hospital is advertising a solution intended to meet that prospective patient’s immediate needs.

2. Searchers are More Likely to Convert Into Customers

People use social media to, well, socialize. People use search engines when they want to find something.

When was the last time you went on Twitter to look for the nearest hamburger joint? Now, when was the last time you used Google to find a local restaurant?

The fact that searchers are actively searching for the products or services your hospital offers makes them much more likely to become a customer than someone who simply likes your Facebook page. The person who likes your Facebook page may eventually become a customer, but chances are they did not like your page because of their intent to purchase.

3. Search Allows Customers to Easily Find Your Business on the Go

Search engines make it easy to find information such as phone numbers and directions to local businesses on mobile devices. In fact, 88 percent of people who search for local information with a smartphone take action within a day, such as calling or visiting a local business, according to Google.

Additionally, 77 percent of smartphone users use their device for search. So, even if you do not target a local customer base specifically, mobile search provides an excellent opportunity to get in front of prospective customers.

4. Social Media Marketing Isn’t Easy

Some hospitals tend to gravitate to social media because they perceive it as being easy and inexpensive, while perceiving search marketing as just the opposite. However, a well-executed social media campaign is no easy task, particularly if the goal is new patient acquisition.

On the other hand, if a hospitals is using their company’s Twitter page to tweet about how good the cafeteria food was today, then yes, that is easy and inexpensive, and also ineffective.

5. Search is a Proven Customer Acquisition Tool

Whether organic search or paid search, there is little argument that search marketing is an effective customer acquisition tool, and mobile search has only enhanced its effectiveness.

Conversely, there is still much debate regarding the relationship between “likes” and purchase intent, and social media’s effectiveness in general when it comes to customer acquisition. When working with a limited marketing budget, as most hospitals do, it makes sense to utilize a proven patient acquisition method.

Conclusion

The truth is that search and social are not mutually exclusive. The lines are blurring between them.

The most effective digital marketing strategy would utilize both search and social to their maximum potential. Yet, the reality is that most hospitals don’t have the necessary resources to do both effectively. So, when the primary goal is patient acquisition, hospitals should focus on search, not social.

Healthcare Marketing: 5 Social Media Suggestions for Hospitals

111773023Here are 5 excellent suggestions offered by Marianne Aiello in an article for HealthcareLeaders Media.  It’s republished in its entirety.

In 2013 the new millennium officially became a teenager. And like all teenagers, it is seriously addicted to social media. Really, mom and dad should consider limiting its data plan.

Hospitals, however, are still playing catch up in the social media space. There are plenty of excuses, from staffing problems to technical ditziness.  But none is acceptable anymore. MySpace, the granddaddy of social media, was created ten years ago. It’s time the healthcare industry got with it.

 An infographic by Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group highlights just where hospitals stand in the social space. Only 26% use social media. No, that is not a typo—just one-quarter of hospitals in the US use any type of social media. Of those,

  • 84% are on Facebook
  • 64% are on Twitter
  • 46% are on YouTube
  • 12% blog

So that’s where we stand. Now let’s look at healthcare consumers.

About one-third of consumers use social sites for health-related matters. And these patients are sharing their experiences, with 44% of respondents saying they were likely or very likely to share a positive experience they had with a hospital.

More notably, 40% said they were likely or very likely to share a negative experience they had with a hospital.

So like it or not, patients are talking about your organization on social media sites. It’s a hospital marketer’s duty to be there to listen, share successes, and respond to complaints. Let’s take a tip from the newly pimple-faced millennium and get social.

Here are five resolutions all hospital marketers should make for the coming year.

1.    Tell powerful patient stories.

Perhaps the greatest value of social media is the ability to quickly and easily connect with patients. From there, it’s up to the marketer to make this connection meaningful.

Often, the best way to accomplish this is by telling meaningful, powerful patient stories. Luckily for us, these stories already exist out there. We just have to find them. 

To do this, track any keyword or hashtag that relates to your organization. A third party platform such as HootSuite can facilitate this. If you don’t find much, start soliciting  patient stories.

From there, you can share them on Facebook, re-tweet them on Twitter, or write up a blog post, which you can then link to on Facebook and Twitter. In some cases, YouTube may be the best storytelling medium. 

There are countless ways to share positive patient experiences through social media. And the more often you do it, the easier the process will become.

2.    Do something innovative.

Another benefit of social media campaigns versus traditional marketing campaigns is that you can afford to take more risks. 

If a marketing campaign bombs, you’ve wasted money on print materials and advertising space. But, in most cases, if a social media campaign misses the mark you’re only real cost is the time it took to execute it. 

Besides, in social media taking a risk can pay off big.

Here are some ideas to get your gears turning:

  • Live-tweet a surgery to highlight a service line
  • Experiment with fundraising through Facebook
  • Set up a weekly doc Q&A time on Twitter
  • Use social media to attract new physicians and staff
  • Ask a patient to live-tweet a “day in the life” at your organization

Get creative and see what sticks. As a bonus, local press love to cover innovative hospital social marketing efforts.

3.    Take a hard look at risk management. 

Of course, using social media to promote your organization has its risks. As much as people enjoy sharing positive feedback online, they seem to enjoy sharing negative feedback even more. It’s the nature of the beast. But this is absolutely not a reason to avoid social media altogether.

Like I said before, social media is about 10 years old. Most people using social media aren’t new. Therefore, most people using social media know that the anonymity users have on some sites turn people into hate-filled harping conspiracy theorists. 

You can just tell when a commenter has taken a couple crazy pills. Most internet users put everything they read online through a filter and, for marketers, this acts as a barrier of sorts. 

That said, there are some steps you should take to mitigate your social media risk. Make sure that you have a comprehensive social media policy for employees and that the policy is up to date. 

Employees should sign a document stating that they understand they are not to post any patient information or any negative comments about the organization. 

I’m amazed at how often I see a high school classmate post on Facebook about how much they hate their nursing job and mentioning the hospital by name. 

It’s also important to make sure all providers understand where the boundary lies when communicating with patients on social media. While you’re at it, ask physicians if they have a public Twitter account or blog where they postulate about anything healthcare related. 

Doctors  represent your organization, so it’s critical to know what they’re putting out there. Social media savvy docs can also be great allies when formulating a new campaign

4.    Keep an eye on your peers.

The healthcare industry as a whole is behind the curve, but many hospitals are true social media standouts. Keep an eye on these organizations to see how they launch campaigns, respond to criticism, and deal with employees. 

The Mayo Clinic tops the list of social media trailblazers and provides helpful information to other organizations through its Center for Social Media.

 UPMC is also a top organization to go to for social media tips, especially it’s well maintained Facebook page.

And if you’re looking for Twitter inspiration, check out Brigham and Women’s account. They tweet a variety of posts on anything from health topics to hospital rankings to volunteer opportunities.

5.    Track everything.

None of this counts if you can’t view the statistics that tell you which efforts are working, which fell flat, which are tapering off, and which have found a second life. Keep count of your followers and likes, of how many people clicked your links, of how long visitors stayed on that blog post. 

This information will help you better tailor future social campaigns and give you solid numbers to report to your superiors.

With these five resolutions, hospital marketers should be able to commit to having a strong presence in the social media world now and for years to come—or at least until the millennium gets its braces off.