How to Create a Social Media Strategy for Healthcare
There’s no question that social media is here to stay. Businesses across every industry are discovering the value a social media presence can have on their bottom line. This is also true for the healthcare industry.
Social media is a great tool for connecting physicians and healthcare providers with patients. Over 40% of consumers take information found on social media into account when dealing with their health. Plus, 60% of doctors agree that social media improves quality of care delivered to patients. If your healthcare organization hasn’t yet hopped on the social media train, now is a good time to get on board.
Where to Start
In an industry as regulated as healthcare, it is important to start with a clear strategy, guidelines and policies on how you post and respond to social media activity. Laying this groundwork before you embark on social media activities will help keep your business, employees and patients protected. Here’s how to get started with your social media strategy:
Follow the rules
First and foremost, you want to make sure that everything you are doing on social media is in compliance with privacy laws and ethical standards. This needs to be clearly outlined in your social media strategy and all employees who are interacting on social media on your behalf need to be well versed in the guidelines. If you’re part of a physician network or hospital system, you might also have internal guidelines already in place for social media. If so, make sure you are following those as well in your own plan.
Craft a written social media strategy
Now that you’ve established the rules for posting, it is time to develop your social media plan. What are you going to post? How often are you going to post? Who is responsible for scheduling the posts? Establishing the plan before you start posting will help eliminate confusion. Here are some articles that can help you lay the groundwork:
- Picking a social media tool – how are you going to monitor, post and respond to activity?
- Managing a crisis – what are you going to do when people leave negative comments or complaints?
- Finding your audience – how are you going to attract customers to your pages?
Pick your channels
Not all channels need to be part of your social media plan. Your last step should be reviewing the resources you have available to determine which channels make the most sense for your organization. Do you have a lot of videos? YouTube might be where you start. Do you attend a lot of events and conferences? Maybe Twitter is a good option. Are you trying to recruit new employees through social media? LinkedIn is probably your answer. A few questions to ask yourself when picking the right platform(s) for your business are:
- What goals are you trying to achieve through social media?
- What platforms do your competitors use most?
- What platforms do your audience use most?
Pick a few social media channels to start with and add others later. The Mayo Clinic also has a helpful health care social media list broken down by state. It will give you an idea of some of the more popular networks. In the table below, you can also find a general overview of some of the major social platforms and common uses to see which ones align with your business goals.
|1.39 Billion||187 Million||288 Million||540 Million||1 Billion|
|Engagement & conversation||Business focused content||News & updates||Content heavy articles and information||Informative videos|
|Customer Communication||Thought Leadership||Brand Exposure||Brand Authority||Brand Credibility|