Social media marketing in Healthcare: A Surgical Guideline for Marketing Professionals

20 Jun

A few years ago, the idea of following your physician on Facebook may have seemed flat-out ridiculous.

Fast-forward to provide day and it’ s obvious that times have changed.

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Based on Deloitte’ s 2018 global health care outlook , more and more providers make their presence known on social media marketing.

This migration isn’ t due to dollars and pennies, though. Instead, the overarching reason for social media in healthcare is to enhance the patient experience and form the “ customer-centric relationship” with supporters.

Look: it’ ersus no secret healthcare represents an enormous, multi-trillion dollar industry and the US’ largest employer .

And just as individuals are researching products and services via social, they’ re doing the same when searching for a physician.

But the role associated with social media in healthcare isn’ to as simple as attracting new sufferers. Providers need to not only understand the guidelines of using social media, but also the particular challenges and responsibilities of doing so, as well.

Educating the public. Producing communities for patients. Providing good customer care. The list goes on and on.

Hashtags provide an chance for health communities to come together. inch width=

In this guide to social media in health care, we’ re going to tackle these types of challenges head-on. Breaking down how health care professionals can use social media as a push for good, we’ ll highlight such a fine-tuned presence for medical suppliers looks like in action.

Along with that, let’ s dive correct in!

The Function of Social Media in Healthcare

Healthcare providers are in a distinctive position when it comes to their social existence.

After all, you’ lso are marketing a service that represents the human necessity rather than a potential behavioral instinct buy.

And in between rising healthcare premiums and individual anxiety, winning over your audience is easier said than done.

Social media is a key element of how your practice is recognized by current and prospective sufferers alike. Practices of all shapes and sizes ought to therefore prioritize the following to market by themselves as a top-tier provider.

Educating the Public

Based on a recent Pew Research study, 36% of Americans haven’ t visited a doctor within the previous year.


This stat signals the advantages of education among the general public when it comes to check-ups, seasonal wellness and preventative treatment. The good news? The same Pew study information that 87% of people hold physicians and their opinions in higher regard.

The takeaway?

Educating the public isn’ t just as an expectation: it’ s a duty. Healthcare marketing experts actors are therefore tasked along with keeping current and prospective sufferers alike informed year-round about remedies. Topical posts like this one from Fl Hospital represent the much-needed dose of education for his or her followers.

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Making Patients Feel Comfortable

Spoiler alert: not everyone is specifically jazzed about going to the doctor.

Something as seemingly easy as a check-up can be incredibly challenging on a prospective patient. In fact , white-colored coat syndrome impacts approximately 30% of the public .

And so you can imagine the need for practices to show their empathy when it comes to patients coping with terminal illnesses. Social media represents an excellent avenue to both show off the particular measures you take to make individuals feel at home in their time of require.

Posts like this one through Northwestern Medicine   show that it’ s possible to hold a smiling face regardless of the diagnosis.

Signaling Yourself as being a Staple in the Community

The idea of competition in the health sector is a touchy one. Having said that, any given community is full of companies and it’ s only organic for prospective patients to “ shop around . ”

This only makes sense for healthcare marketing experts to present their practices as the first choice for their respective communities. From revealing employees in action to local advocacy efforts, social media allows practices to become more transparent and personable in order to prospective patients.

Blogposts like this one from Massachusetts General Medical center are a shining sort of the much-needed personal touch that will patients want to see from their providers.

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Posted by Massachusetts General Hospital on  Sunday, Might 6, 2018

Understanding the big-picture goals of social media in health care is key to honing in on a content material strategy, which leads us directly to our own next point.

Which usually Types of Content Should Healthcare Companies Publish?

As outlined by the examples above, healthcare content material on social doesn’ t need to be all gloom and doom.

Nor should it become.

A diverse articles strategy is a smart move for any kind of marketing and healthcare providers are simply no different. For the sake of diversifying your content calendar and keeping your fans happy, consider the following types of articles which are fair game for health care marketers:

1 . Academic Content

The developing phenomenon of self-diagnosis   and letting Google serve as a physician again signals the need for practices to teach the public.

Whether it’ s the tips for the latest pester going around or touching on health-related information, marketers should strive to keep fans in the loop.

Health suggestions and “ Did you know? ” -style content is also popular for stimulating interactions and debate among your own followers. Whether it’ s smashing myths or quizzing your supporters, posts like Instagram Story through Cleveland Clinic are usually prime for healthy (pun intended) discussion.

And while not related to content directly, educating possible patients about your practice is really a vital piece of social customer care . If somebody has a question about treatment options or even what your practice can do to assist, strive to respond in a timely manner.

2 . Inspirational Content

Especially in the face of progressive illnesses such as cancer, patients and their particular family members could often use a dosage of inspiration and motivation.

As such, you’ ll frequently find patient success stories sprinkled by means of any given practice’ s feed to get a much-needed sense of hope. These kinds of posts are oftentimes the ones that obtain shared around the most, expanding your own reach and telling a persuasive tale at the same time.

At 22, university athlete and elite runner Gabriele Grunewald was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer. Today she continues to operate, not only for her health but in an effort to support other patients and increase funds for research. In Aug 2016 — seven years right after her initial diagnosis — Gabriele learned her cancer had came back. This time, it metastasized to her liver organ. She had another surgery, plus doctors believed Gabriele was cancer-free. But in March 2017, follow-up checks revealed more tumors in the girl liver. That’s when doctors suggested she head to Mayo Clinic, exactly where she now has biweekly immunotherapy infusions, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Via it all, Gabriele has continued to operate, applying lessons learned on the monitor to her approach to treatment. “You use running one day at a time, and it’s difficult every single day, ” she tells us. “Running has served me well in this particular. Gabriele believes it could serve other people well, too. She recently released a foundation, Brave Like Spende, in part to encourage cancer survivors to incorporate physical activity into their lives. However the most important goals of the foundation, Gabriele tells us, are raising awareness of uncommon diseases and funds to support the investigation that may lead to their cures. “So many things are uncertain for me now, but one thing I can do is usually work to make a difference, ” Gabriele tells us. “I have been inspired simply by so many people and organizations, and that produced me want to try to inspire other people. I’m trying to do as much as I could by sharing my life story. I am just trying to make some good come out of this particular diagnosis. ” Read the full tale on…. #MayoClinic #MayoClinicMN #Cancer #PatientStory #BraveLikeGabe

A post shared by Mayo Medical center (@mayoclinic) on

3. Taking Hashtags

Despite well-known belief, social media in healthcare isn’ t completely divorced from the entire world of social marketing at large.

For example , you can totally take advantage of smart captions and Instagram hashtags whilst still being totally tasteful about this. This post from Northwestern Medicine   for #NationalDonutDay is a primary example of how to do just that.

Additionally , there are tons of community-specific health hashtags such as #cancersucks plus #cancerfree in which patients and suppliers alike can show their support to one another. Including such tags on your content helps you expand your reach basically show off your practice in action.

4. ‘ Behind the particular Scenes’ Content

Talking about practices in action, highlighting the “ fun” side of your team if you take followers behind the scenes is always a smart shift. Posts like this one from Johns Hopkins   serve as both wholesome content as well as the brighter side of working in health care.

5. User-Generated Content material

Sometimes the best way to emphasize your practice is by allowing others do the talking. Through user-generated content , you can provide an unfiltered view associated with what your practice looks like from your eyes of your patients.

This is why geotagging on Instagram   plus allowing followers to tag where you are via social is so important. Individuals are checking in en masse in order to let their friends and family know what’ s going on, and such tags are usually critical to spotting UGC within the wild.

Check-ins and geotagging are important with regard to social media in healthcare

Don’ to Forget Your Practice’ s Popularity

Beyond publishing content material, we need to briefly touch on status management and its place within social media marketing and healthcare.

Interpersonal comments and sounding boards like Facebook reviews provide an avenue designed for patients to share their experiences each good and bad.

Reputation management is an important aspect of social networking in healthcare.

Since these types of comments are out in the open, it’ s crucial that you respond in a timely manner plus address any negative feedback along with grace. Just as practices are expected to deal with patient concerns in-person with outstanding care, the same rings true on the web.

The takeaway? Potential patients will undoubtedly check out comments plus reviews prior to checking out your exercise, so just keep social reputation management in the back of your mind.

Important: A Note on HIPAA Conformity

By now your head is most likely swirling with ideas.


But also, don’ t forget about the need to stay up to date with HIPAA in terms of social media plus healthcare. This is perhaps one of the biggest issues of practices which often flies beneath the radar.

In short, you have to take special care when submitting patient content which would potentially uncover sensitive information or otherwise violate HIPAA. For example , did you know that using your patients in your marketing materials requires explicit created consent?

As such, we urge you to check out our HIPAA and social media marketing cheat sheet to make sure that what you’ re doing is certainly on the up and up.

How Does Your Practice Mix Social networking & Healthcare?

Health care marketers have a distinct set of issues when it comes to social media and healthcare. With that being said, there are tons of opportunities for teaching the public, creating a sense of neighborhood and using your social presence like a force for good. Hopefully this guide has been helpful in providing both instructions in what you should do in terms of your social media strategy.

We would like to hear from you, though! What do you believe is the biggest responsibility for health care providers via social media? What’ ersus your biggest challenge? Let us know within the comments below.

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