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Social Media Marketing For Healthcare – How To Keep Your Patients Engaged

Healthcare professionals can leverage social media in multiple ways. Are you using it to promote your practice, raise awareness, encourage patient engagement, and to build a better voice for your brand?

Introduction

A staggering 90% of older adults use social media to find and share health information. This clearly shows that social media marketing can do wonders in the healthcare industry if used right.

The public uses social media for healthcare news and resources now more than ever. With the latest boom in the healthcare industry and the need for up-to-date news, it’s no surprise that healthcare accounts represent some of the most followed and engaged-with today.

Don’t believe it? Take a look at the CDC’s 1.9+ million followers on Facebook alone.

However, there’s so much more to social media and healthcare than just the follower-count. Healthcare practices and organizations have certain duties that go beyond vanity metrics. These include:

  • Informing the public on treatments and latest health trends
  • Reassuring patients (current and prospective)
  • Abiding by HIPAA with respect to social interactions

Doing everything we mentioned above while also trying to engage and grow your audience can be tall order. With that said, here’s our complete guide to using social media marketing to promote & grow your healthcare practice. Additionally, you can simplify your healthcare social media marketing with an automated tool like Practina. The intelligent system will create, schedule, and publish customized posts on your social platforms at the same time (we’ll discuss it later in this blog). Keep reading! 

What is Healthcare Social Media Marketing?

According to a 2019 report, 72% of adults are active on social media while 47% of internet users conduct health-related searches. Needless to say, social media marketing in the healthcare industry presents a golden opportunity to engage with these patients, other experts, and the global community.

As for the patients, the power of the internet and social media offers them more freedom to make their own healthcare decisions.

The Role of Social Media Marketing in the Healthcare Industry

The situation is a bit tricky.

How? As a healthcare practitioner, you’re responsible for promoting a human necessity, unlike a traditional product or impulse buy. Combined with increasing healthcare premiums and general anxiety about well-being, healthcare marketers should understand their accounts’ roles and responsibilities on a bigger picture.

From spreading awareness to preventing miscommunication, below you’ll find a breakdown of the major benefits of social media marketing in the healthcare industry.

10 Benefits of Using Social Media Marketing for Healthcare Offices

1. Navigate Healthcare Crises

This is a major one, particularly given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

If you still need evidence to realize the importance of social media in healthcare, now is a perfect time. The likes of Facebook and Twitter have become the source for real-time news and updates regarding COVID-19. Since the virus’s outbreak, Twitter, in particular, has turned into a full-time hub for coronavirus discussions.

Though it sets a decent example of how social media is a force for good, misinformation around COVID-19 is still a major concern. Healthcare providers are responsible for guiding the public through an actual crisis and fact-check users at the same time. This brings us to the next point – misinformation.

2. Prevent Misinformation

Social media is the perfect medium for spreading information quickly to diverse groups of people, worldwide. This applies to information that is accurate, relevant, and clear. However, as much as you’ll find an abundance of useful data across social media, there’s also a pool of misinformation on social channels.

According to a 2019 study, the top 50 viral news articles with false health-related information earned over 12 million shares, comments, and reactions in total. This free information age is surely useful, but it has also led to severe issues revolving around fake narratives and hoaxes in healthcare, which can be a potential threat to countless lives. Reconsider your practice’s strategy to tackle such issues and use social media to positively impact your patients and the public. You can use an automated social media post scheduler to plan and post relevant content to all of your social media networks. 

3. Raise Awareness

Social media is the perfect tool to increase public awareness about the latest, emerging, and major health topics.

Medical experts suggest that healthcare systems must provide trusted information on immunizations, ebola, therapy, flu virus, and more. At times, raising awareness just implies reminding your followers about the most basic health practices or addressing healthy living and well-being concerns.

No surprises here. About 2/3 of people use the Internet to self-diagnose their conditions.

Using COVID-19 as an example, healthcare providers are responsible for sharing timely, fact-based information with patients in need of guidance. This can be:

  • Recommendations for people experiencing symptoms.
  • Self-help and third-party resources to obtain a diagnosis.
  • Links to new updates, research, and treatment options.

4. Offer Patient Support

Around 40% of youth ( 14-22 years of age) have used online tools to connect with other people with similar health concerns. Social media groups and forums are the major mediums for these interactions.

This informal connection offers real benefits to patients. Facebook groups are also a useful social media tool for healthcare professionals and patients to interact from anywhere, anytime. Some practices even create private, invitation-only Facebook groups to better serve their patients and caregivers.

Social group interactions go beyond conversations – it also covers patient support, awareness, and education. There are even ongoing studies to evaluate if a Facebook group for coronary heart disease patients can result in higher participation in cardiac rehabilitation. Interesting isn’t it!

Yes, privacy remains a concern when discussing health online and on public platforms, which is where Facebook secret groups come in handy. They do not show up in search results since users have to be invited individually to join.

5. Study Your Target Audience Well

You won’t find the same set of audiences on Twitter as on Instagram. Each social media platform carries a certain user base. To maximize your healthcare social media marketing strategy’s output, you need to plan unique campaigns for each platform. Sounds too overwhelming to handle? Let Practina manage all your social media from one convenient place, provide you with critical analytics, and even turn your customer reviews into engaging posts!

6. Share Preventative Health News

Time-sensitive posts or covering viral topics will always work in your favor. Use them to engage with your audience and educate them on trending topics. Such content can range from articles about current/recent health epidemics, routine procedures, and prevalent topics in the healthcare industry.

When you share informative, factual content on a regular basis, you create a lasting relationship with your audience.

How? Through their trust in you to provide them with the latest news in the healthcare industry. This ultimately makes them more likely to check your posts. Highlighting the topics that people relate to can help drive engagement, whether with your healthcare facility or other commenters.

7. Engage and Educate Your Patients

People expect healthcare facilities to educate just like they expect them to provide the best treatment possible. That’s why your healthcare social media marketing strategy must consider sharing educational content across different platforms. These can range from blog posts and videos to case studies and social media posts.

While you can share posts of your hospital, you can even share articles from other authority websites. Pro tip: always fact-check any content you share that isn’t created in-house. You don’t want to share inaccurate or misleading content, which can hurt the trust your patients have in your facility.

8. Promote Events, New Treatments, and More

A healthcare facility’s social media marketing plan can help promote:

  1. Upcoming events
  2. New research
  3. The latest treatments
  4. And any other updates

To achieve the best results, try to balance your promotional content with information. You may, for instance, highlight a forthcoming event at your location one day and then post some interesting research findings the next.

Whatever you post, keep your content fresh and relevant for your audience. Or simply use Practina to handle all your social media post creation and publishing tasks!

9. Start Trends & Create Branded Social Media Campaigns

Healthcare practices can leverage social media platforms to engage visitors via online contests, giveaways, and more. Surveys, quizzes, and #hashtag campaigns on common or trending health topics offer your followers a better perspective about your brand and additional valuable information. Don’t forget to add your brand name creatively in the hashtags to aid in brand awareness (eg. #Ask[Practina], #[Practina]Educates). Twitter also lets you use hashtags in your tweets; Facebook and Instagram have already been using them for quite some time now. Don’t just wonder “what if”, maximize your reach by doing something as simple as putting a couple of relevant hashtags on your social media posts.

10. Show Your Brand in Whatever You Do

Most healthcare facilities share similar values, such as maintaining quality care. Yet each carries a unique brand identity and brand voice. With social media, you can put the limelight on your brand. Wondering how? Use the power of  the content you share and the interactions you have with your audience.

Stand out from the competition by showcasing your brand in creative ways.

Let’s say you want to post about women empowerment along with healthcare topics: share anything you, as a business, may have done to support it. For your followers and target audience, such posts emphasize your commitment to helping, as well show them that you believe in quality care for everyone.

Do You Need Help with Healthcare Social Media Marketing?

Now that you know the ins and outs of social media marketing in the healthcare industry, it’s time you use it to your advantage. If you need help taking your practice to the heights of success & want to reach more people across social channels – Practina, the best social media marketing tool, can help!

The intelligent tool has helped healthcare companies like yours build stronger social media accounts, publish customized posts across all social networks, and attract new patients. Want to learn more about how Practina can automate and simplify your healthcare digital marketing? We’d be happy to connect!

For a limited time, when you create a free account with Practina, we’ll give you a $50 Amazon gift card!

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