Social Media for Healthcare

Maximize Medical Reviews to Market Your Hospital

When 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 reviews are 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!

emotional marketing to patient

Healthcare Marketing: Connect with Emotion

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. Emotional marketing is key.

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!

 

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).