heatlhcare marketing

Healthcare Marketing: Social Media Lessons to be Learned from Target

Target has 5 million Facebook fans….. here are 5 social media lessons we can learn from their success.

Target, the third largest retailer in the nation, has 20 million fans and added over 2 million fans in one month.  But they have more than just a quantity of fans.  They also have very high engagement levels with their fans.  Morgan Arnold, reporting for Social Media Today reviewed Target’s social media success and offered 5 of their best practices, which can be very helpful to healthcare marketers.

1.    Keep messaging and delivery mechanisms simple and relevant to the customer.

Target is constantly attempting to craft tools and applications that not only facilitate interaction among online friends but also actually create new opportunities for transactions with the brand.  They create win-win situations that are useful and rewarding to their fans but also lead to transactions and engagement with the brand.

2.    Use Twitter as a tool to create conversations.

Many organizations use Twitter just to dispense information.  It is an outstanding medium for that but also to engage followers in conversations.  Additionally it’s a way to build buzz and launch new services.

3.    Whenever possible, say it with pictures.

Track Social’s recent white paper Optimizing Facebook Engagement showed that photos are the hands-down winner when it comes to boosting engagement scores.  Photos should be an integral component of the content brands post.

4.    Community Engagement = Social Engagement.

Involvement in the community will increase engagement on Facebook.  Any community involvement should be documented on Facebook as a means to create consumer involvement.

5.    Think Global, Post Local.

Always localize healthcare issues and news.  Use healthcare issues of the day but always explain what it means and how it impacts your local audience.

Healthcare marketers could learn from Target’s approach to social media.  Be relevant and engage the social space in ways that are meaningful, creative and mutually beneficial.

Healthcare Marketing: We Can’t Seem to Take Our Eyes Off TV

Despite many other options for our time, television viewing remains very strong.

Many pundits and experts have predicted the demise of television.  Consumers are spending time with laptops, tablets, smartphones, social media networks and video games.  With all the competition for our attention, for some time now, experts have been prophesying that television viewing will take a hit.  But that has definitely not happened.

Measuring consumer behavior in the first quarter of 2012, Nielsen revealed that Americans averaged watching television 4.38 hours per day.  That is only six minutes less than in 2008, before the exploding proliferation of new media options. And live TV viewing was a full 4 hours a day more than they spend watching DVD playback.

Adults 65+, of course, consume the most traditional media with nearly 48 hours per week in TV viewership.  They watch just less than 2 hours of time-shifted TV per week.  By comparison, adults 35-49 watch just over 35 hours of traditional TV per week and roughly 3 and a half hours per week of time shifted TV.

The study also shows that time shifted viewing is increasing.  It has grown from 12 minutes per day on average in 2008 to 24 minutes per day in 2012.

So for hospital marketers, television is still a very viable alternative.    Consumers are still watching and thus television is a way to reach them.  All the talk about people not watching TV anymore and TV advertising no longer being effective proves not to be true.  For television the sky is not falling.  In fact, it’s still filled with television signals.

Healthcare Marketing: Five Important Truths About Social Media

Social media is often misunderstood. It’s important we understand the truth about social media.  Only when we do can it be effective for us.

There are a lot of misconceptions about social media.  Everyone knows how pervasive it is.  Everyone knows how socially and culturally engaging it is.  Everyone knows we need to be participating in it.  But it’s important we understand the truth about it.  Dimple Thakkar, CEO of Synhergy Marketing outlined some of the important truths about social media in an article in iMedia Connection.

Here are the truths we must accept and embrace:

1.    Social media and advertising are NOT synonymous.

Advertising is about selling.  It’s about buying exposure.  It’s about pushing brands and products and services.  But social media is not like that.  It’s not like traditional advertising.  It’s not about buying exposure or pushing your brand.  Social media is not about screaming, “look at me” and “buy me”.  It’s more about interacting and building relationships.

2.    Are you interrupting or interacting?

People hate being interrupted.  No one likes to be interrupted in the middle of a conversation.  But that’s what brands do everyday in social media.  Consumers use social media to build and maintain relationships.  In social media, credibility cannot be bought.  It has to be earned.  Use social media to create meaningful relationships.

3.    A “Like” is not the same as an “Engaged Like”.   

It’s not about how many followers you have.  You could have thousands but unless they are engaged with your brand they are not worth very much.   Brand loyalist and brand advocates are what count.  Don’t be fooled.

4.    The ROI in social media is relationships.

To evaluate social media in terms of dollars and cents is useless.  Because social media is not about the number of procedures but about relationships.  Relationships lead to business but it is not about the business, it’s about the relationship.  And about those brand advocates recommending your brand to their family and friends.  Sure you may not be able to quantify it in dollars but that’s difficult.  But it doesn’t mean it’s not important.

5.    Social media marketing is an investment, not an expense.

With traditional marketing, you lay out an expense and you expect to get a corresponding return.  At least that is what we strive for. But with social media it takes time to build relationships.  To be engaging.  To build credibility.  And to build loyalty.  There are no shortcuts.  With social media the consumer is in control.  They control the message.  Our purpose is to engage in the conversation in a meaningful way.

Traditional advertising is a challenge.  How do we break through the clutter and be heard?  How do we get the exposure we want in a splintered media marketplace?  How do we make our message resonate with the consumer?  Social media is also challenging.  In different ways.  Is’ not easy, it’s not cheap, it doesn’t happen quickly.  The consumer wants to be social and they control the pace and depth of the relationship.  And sometimes that’s hard for healthcare marketers to accept. But the truth will set us free!