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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!

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 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!

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.

How Guerrilla Marketing Lessons Make Hospital Marketing Better

Hospital marketing is becoming crucial, and as the world becomes more digital, so is the need to be seen. How do you stand out?

Exploring non-traditional marketing techniques, like guerrilla marketing, could be the answer. Hospital marketing services everywhere are overlooking this technique. Let’s talk more about how we can learn valuable lessons from guerrilla marketing that can be applied to more traditional marketing efforts.

Defining Guerilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing hasn’t ever been fully defined. Most marketers view it as a method of grabbing attention for a brand in a bold, unexpected, and low-cost way.

But, there is more to guerrilla marketing than just being cheap and surprising. An effective guerrilla marketing campaign also produces an emotional connection. It must captivate an audience by affecting its mood through humor, empathy, fear, etc.

Guerrilla marketing tactics must also be beneficial to the customer. Customers enjoy being a part of something bigger than themselves. Guerrilla marketing tends to lend itself to that, but it takes highly innovative hospital marketing services team to create such a campaign.

You Have To Get Creative

As with any marketing strategy, guerrilla marketing requires a fully fleshed-out plan.

First, you must have a strong understanding of your target audience. With a deep understanding you can create a campaign that is more likely to produce an emotional reaction from your audience. Step inside their shoes to know what they are looking for.

Second, you must dig deep into your creative mind. The most essential part of guerrilla marketing is innovation. In the day and age where YouTube videos are going viral daily, it can be difficult to produce such a campaign. Focus on capturing attention, and then providing something that an audience feels benefits them.

Think about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. People all around the world were throwing buckets of ice over their heads to feel a part of a community, and more importantly, to feel like they were making a difference.

What did they get in return? A good feeling, a sense of community, and an opportunity to better the world.

It takes creativity, but when properly implemented, guerrilla marketing can be remarkably effective.

Non-traditional Hospital Marketing Services

Guerrilla marketing is out there. It represents something far from traditional marketing, but as marketing for hospitals grows more and more necessary, exploring more non-traditional techniques is important.

By learning from non-traditional methods like guerrilla marketing, you could set your hospital apart from the competition, gain new patients, and create a stronger sense of community within your current clientele.

Are you interested in taking lessons from non-traditional marketing styles and applying them to marketing for your hospital? Contact TotalCom Hospital Marketing today!

Hospital Marketing: Media Buying Negotiations

As any hospital marketing director knows, media buying is essential to the success of a marketing campaign. But one overlooked skill in buying media is negotiation.

Negotiating is key because ad budgets are limited, and the better the rates you can get for your placements, the more reach you can effectively generate. Also, advertising space is not unlimited, which creates a need for negotiating and being selective when choosing channels.

Here are tips for negotiating during your media buying process to get the best deals from your vendors.

Negotiating Radio and Broadcast

Generally, rates for radio are negotiable because there is a fixed amount of inventory. Competition drives prices for these rates up; a lack of competition pushes them down. Fortunately, there is usually a wealth of radio outlets in a given market (if it’s large enough), which means you will more than likely have several chances to reach your target audience. This helps you because you can play one station against another and get lower rates.

For broadcast, that same principle applies. Another principle is timing. Since many broadcast outlets publish their fall schedules in May, buying at that time can give you special deals and packages in an effort to convince you to pay early in the year.

Negotiating with Print

Print is a different animal than broadcast and radio because there are few opportunities to negotiate on rate. Rather, what you’re negotiating for is what comes with your buy i.e., other services they can include, such as additional ads, special positioning, reader response cards, free color, and so on.

Since many print outlets are now also digital outlets, there are even package deals with their online properties and ad networks that can be negotiated for. (Often this works in reverse, too; if you are placing ads digitally with them, they often offer special incentives to place ads in the print edition as well.)

Hiring a Hospital Marketing Agency

The best all-around negotiating advice is to leave it to the professionals who negotiate regularly with media buying representatives at outlets. Agencies are advantageous for hospitals because they not only have experience, but also have established relationships with outlets over the years that can be used to your advantage.

Managing media and ad buying is not easy. Hire an experienced hospital marketing agency to help you develop your marketing network and manage your media purchases. Learn how with Jimmy Warren at TotalCom Marketing today!

The Evolution of Hospital Marketing

Healthcare is an ever-changing field with new technological advancements and discoveries being made every day. Healthcare marketing is similarly constantly developing. For this reason, competition is fierce. Learn from a hospital marketing agency what is essential to carry your organization to success.

Identify Your Customer

Identifying the customer has evolved significantly in the healthcare marketing field. Formerly, the only differentiation was by geography. A hospital could target those who were in its general vicinity, but that was it. Now, however, the specialization of healthcare – mixed with new digital technology – allows us to go further, beyond those limitations.

For those of us in healthcare, it can often be challenging to explicitly establish a target audience. However, it is different for every type of organization.

Therefore, it is important that you know your audience in order to cater to their wants and needs. Does your consumer need immediate medication or do they want personalized bedside care? Do they need immediate emergency room services or do they want to lose weight and look better? Through a hospital marketing agency, your hospital can tailor your message accordingly.

Depending on your services, a hospital marketing agency can help you cater to specific demographics. You can target income, age, geographical location, even personal preferences. Creating health programs or incentives often drives consumer traffic. Beyond that, engagement online is critical.

Make Digital a Cornerstone of Your Strategy

Over the past decade, healthcare marketing has become more common and more digital. Practices, healthcare organizations, hospitals, and rehab facilities are all engaging with potential consumers online.

For your marketing efforts to be successful, your organization must comprehend the importance of engagement in healthcare marketing. Like with any relationship, communication is key and must work both ways. Establishing an online platform makes you responsible for proactively listening and responding to feedback from your customers.

Digital marketing is of crucial importance today. Boston Children’s Hospital, for example, grew net revenues from $1 billion to $1.4 billion largely on the back of a shift to digital marketing over a period of just one year.

Also, keep in mind, 84 percent of all patients turned to the Internet to choose doctors, specialists, and hospitals. A third of all patients use online reviews to make judgments on where they will receive treatment.

Combine your digital marketing strategy with traditional methods like radio, television, and print ads to truly see your ROI increase. Hire an experienced hospital marketing agency to help you develop your marketing strategy. Learn how with Jimmy Warren at TotalCom Marketing today.

The Challenge of Being Transparent in Hospital Marketing

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Hospital marketing professionals have a range of inordinate challenges before them when it comes to promoting a facility or system in an effective way.

These challenges stem from a variety of causes: healthcare, in today’s world, has become increasingly political and polarizing; consumers largely view healthcare as a commodity and facilities as interchangeable; consumers feel detached from the healthcare process beyond self-diagnosis and choosing a doctor; the labyrinth that is medical billing overwhelms, confuses, and discourages patients.

Transparent communication in hospital marketing can alleviate many of these problems, but that poses a challenge in and of itself. How can hospital marketing pros be more transparent in their communications to earn the trust of their target audience and communicate differentiating quality?

The Obstacles to Transparency

Being transparent and clear about a hospital’s benefits and offerings can be difficult for facilities for a few reasons:

  • Many hospitals don’t want to “pull back the curtain,” so to speak, on medical billings, including cost of services
  • Healthcare in general has become politicized
  • Hospitals offer a wide range of services to a wide range of people
  • Consumers aren’t always willing to talk about their health
  • Costs become difficult to comprehend, especially when insurance companies are in the discussion
  • All services and physicians are not created equal

 

There are also many different stakeholders in the process. It’s not just the patient; it’s the patient’s family, insurance company, physicians and employers. These agents can interfere with clear, open communication.

Creating Transparent Communication

The most effective hospital marketing strategies overcome transparency issues and offer differentiation when it comes to their competition – even if they operate as a de facto monopoly in a given area.

One suggestion for perhaps being more transparent is being open with statistics and conveying them in a direct, easy-to-understand manner. For example, be honest about infection rates, medication error rates, and any other statistic about healthcare that your target audience would be interested in. Do so in a clear way without using jargon. Saying, “A typical post-surgery infection rate is one in 1,000” is acceptable, but it’s not quite as good as saying, “One out of every 1,000 patients who undergo surgery will get an infection.”

One might think that being forward with such knowledge could be negative, but the opposite may be  true; it is a positive way to establish trust and differentiate a facility from the rest.

Another suggestion for transparency is to be clear and open about what the hospital truly excels at – the hospital’s competitive advantage. This is not to imply that a hospital is “bad” at other areas, per se, but it does state, clearly, that consumers have one main choice when it comes to quality care in this particular area. By focusing on strengths, a hospital can begin to set itself apart in a meaningful way.

Additionally, a hospital can be open about the process it uses to bill and charge patients for their services. Many hospitals are loath to reveal specific costs and pricing information, which is understandable. Even if that’s the case, though, finding a compromise or middle-of-the-road path can reap benefits. Consumers are far more likely to choose a hospital that at least makes an attempt at clarifying the billing process and revealing the nature of costs and prices for services.

Having that particular conversation is, in a word, frightening for many in the healthcare profession, but it needn’t be. Transparency ultimately wins the hearts and minds of a consumer, and the more transparent hospital marketing professionals are, the better their results will be.

Consult with a hospital marketing agency like TotalCom to learn more about how you can expand transparency and deliver more effective messages.