One way to attract customers is by using social media. Social media platforms allow hospitals to connect with potential patients one-on-one, while also providing valuable information to help them make the best decision for their health.
Why Use Social Media?
Today, Social media has become the new word of mouth advertising. If something is generating buzz, it’s likely that those conversations are taking place on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube and Instagram.To get an idea of what people are talking about, look no further than the trending topics on social media sites, which tell you what people are writing about and clicking on.
It’s extremely important for any business to be involved in social media, but it’s even more important for healthcare. For starters, healthcare is a people-focused industry. You need to understand what people want and what motivates them, so you can tailor your communication to their interests… You also need to have the ability to address them directly.
Social media offers all of this. It is a powerful communication tool, and one of the best ways to market any service online. Plus, companies that do not employ social media appear dated and out of touch. Those are not words you ever want associated with you in the fast-paced, ever-changing world of healthcare.
Here are the four major social networks and how they can help your hospital’s social media plan.
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Facebook has the largest user base of any social media platform today and is a great place to share updates about your practice and events.
You might use Facebook to:
- Inform people about an upcoming open house
- Remind patients about seasonal health concerns
- Let people know about construction that is blocking the entrance to a parking lot
Facebook is most valuable as a reference point for patients and potential patients. If they want to know what’s going on at the hospital, they should have easy access to your Facebook page to find out.
Think of Twitter as the place for your healthcare facility’s breaking news. If there’s a breakthrough in a specific type of healthcare or a health issue that people should be aware of, you can share this information on Twitter. People check these feeds to find current information, and if you provide it, you can build a strong following that may eventually become patients.
You might use Twitter to:
- Post the results of a new study published by an employee at the hospital
- Announce a fellowship won by one of your doctors
- Highlight a story in the local newspaper about your hospital
Twitter is most valuable as a source of news and information for patients, but it also targets anyone who wants to learn more about your hospital. Update your feed regularly, and make sure to respond to any comments or questions.
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LinkedIn is the social media site for professionals. Every company should have a LinkedIn account, but how much you use that account may depend on your industry. For healthcare, it can be a great resource.
LinkedIn offers a great deal of in-depth discussion and analysis. You may not connect with new patients, but you can bolster your reputation as a research hospital or a teaching hospital. You can also add to dialogues on topics of interest to your industry.
You can also help establish your healthcare company as an authority in the field. When you develop a track record of answering questions related to healthcare, it gives you credibility. Other hospitals and even some patients will notice and give you more respect.
YouTube is the Google-owned video sharing network that streams billions of videos each day. Hospitals can set up their own channels on the site where they share videos relevant to patients and potential patients. Think of it as the hospital’s own video network, where important information can be shared.
For example, instead of sending out a packet of information on check-in policies, rules, and regulations for the maternity ward, post a short YouTube video explaining the information. It’s much easier for your customers to sit through a video than it is to read a big packet—and it’s far more likely that a video will be watched than a packet will be read.
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YouTube is a unique way to engage patients with videos that are interesting and informative. It rewards creativity because people will share clever videos with friends no matter what the source. And there is always the hope that your video will go viral, getting shared across the web with millions of people.
We hope these tips on using social media for hospitals can help your company communicate with patients. Our team has helped healthcare companies like yours build better social media accounts, update them regularly, and earn new business from them. If you want to see how well social media can work for your hospital, feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation and custom quote. We’d love to hear from you!