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.