After writing about social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google + I've come to realize that even though each of them differ in their platform, a Healthcare Organization can be successful by having a good understanding of these 5 Key Principles:
1. Don't just post random information, have a purpose in what you post.
You are a healthcare organization and your followers look to you for information regarding your specialty. Having a strategy and purpose in what you write will keep people interested in what you have to share. If the information is random, disorganized, and unrelated followers are less likely to keep an interest in your business.
Aflac's is a great example of using purpose in social media for a year-long media campaign was.
- Help deliver relevant and timely information to help small businesses understand more about the HCR changes and how they would be affected by them.
- Help clarify regulations and helped make educated decisions about their benefits programs.
2. Know who you are speaking to versus just blindly sending out information hoping someone is interested.
Just like standard advertising in magazines, on TV, or billboards you have know who you are sending your message out to.
It's important to be interesting to the those who are reading your posts.
In order to do that you have no know who your followers are, what they like, their age, their interests, what is important to them.
The Red Pump Project is a non-profit organization that focuses on educating women about HIV/Aids. They know who they speak to, their demographic focuses on women of all ages.
Their posts are geared towards empowering women with information whether it is by educating, providing outreach or educational workshops, or posting new and exciting medical research.
3. Make sure that your brand is seen throughout your posts, keep them relevant.
There is a lot of information available on social media, what is going to make you stand out? What is going to differentiate your business from the other businesses? You need to brand yourself. You have to find a way to tie in the information you post, pictures you share, videos you provide, discussions you communicate with, etc to your specific business. It is a way of earning trust in the community, gaining recognition to those who don't know our business as well, and having a personal connection with your followers - all of which combine to portray quality of care.
Do you recognize some of the companies in this picture: Pfizer, Bayer Health Care, Merck? When you see these brands, do you they portray competent and successful Healthcare Businesses? That is because over the years they have continued to make themselves stand out from the crowd, and become more recognizable.
The American Red Cross is the perfect example of a large and successful non-profit healthcare organization that has branded itself around the concept of safety and caring.
4. Be creative - post pictures, about upcoming events, tag others, videos, create discussions
Please! Whatever you do don't just write a sentence and call it a day! You have SO MUCH to choose from!
Here's a list of things you can do to keep your followers interested, engaged, educated and coming back for more!
- Host virtual tours
- Find potential candidates for open positions
- Share health snippets
- Use hashtags and tie in other businesses
- Post videos of what is happening in your business
- Share research
- Post infographics instead
- Promote national health weeks/months
- Spotlight employees
- Have podcasts
5. Stay engaged - it's a two way street that requires 2 way communication not just posting facts.If you are not actively participating in questions, comments or discussions then you are not engaging in the conversations that you started. Answer questions that your followers post, even if they are negative it is a perfect chance to straighten out myths or show that you are willing to work at resolving issues. Thank followers for their comments, or answer any questions they may have. If you participate in a discussion you are showing them your invested interest.
There are even social networks for doctors that utilize this very concept! SERMO is a social network for the US and globally that allows discussion to take place virtually - helping solve medical cases, aiding in medical care to help access information for floating doctors, having a discussion forum with people from all over he world get together to resolve unanswered questions. This site is successful because of the interaction and engagement that occurs on this website.