A Healthy Story | How to Manage a Healthcare Social Media Presence
“74% of people online engage in social media, and nearly half are searching about a health professional.”
- Pew Research
From dental offices to multi-site healthcare organizations social media is becoming a place that can no longer be ignored. So how does a healthcare provider successfully manage a social media account? The key here, as with any industry, is understanding the opportunities and setting actionable goals. There are 5 major ways healthcare organizations and providers are telling a healthy social media story. While you don’t have to focus on all 5 aspects of healthcare social, it’s beneficial to be aware of them.
1. Be Informative
Healthcare providers are in a unique position to inform the public regarding health-related topics. From informational videos explaining details of your specialty (EX: dentists sharing good flossing technique) to hosting a panel of doctors from your hospital or industry in order to discuss important issues relevant to your field. Sharing information, and keeping the public up-to-speed on the latest in your field is a part of what is considered inbound marketing. Provide value in order to garner the attention of passive clients. This also extends to the idea of self-diagnosing. Many people will turn to Google before they turn to the professionals when trying to figure out what’s ‘wrong’. As a medical professional you can nip this behavior in the bud by sharing relevant information and pointing patients to their providers for a real diagnosis.
2. Be Helpful
Being helpful may, at first glance, sound like being informative, (after all, information is helpful). However, being helpful extends beyond providing helpful information to your followers. Having a fully completed profile and responsive nature will help patients and clients have their questions answered without needing to give you a call (such as: what are your hours, where is your office etc.). You can also connect the dots between various fields by partnering with specialists to produce content that shows the effects of behaviors, lifestyles, medications, and more between multiple areas of the body.
3. Create Community
One of the biggest opportunities for healthcare practitioners on social media is to create communities for your patients. Having any kind of medical condition can be frustrating, lonely, and frightening. By establishing a Facebook group, hashtag, or other kinds of community, you allow your patients to share advice, healthy tips, and stories. Creating a community does get your name out there and promote brand awareness, but it’s also a way to reach beyond your patients and promote health and wellness outside of your typical reach.
4. Balance the Emotion
When people think of healthcare and social media, we often think of the sad and personal sob stories patients share of their experience. Or, they think about that amazing story of their mother’s friends’ aunt beating cancer. When building a healthcare social media page, it’s important to note that strong emotions do garner shares. It’s also good to keep in mind that strong emotions can go either way. Keep your page balanced, if you plan to share any sad stories, or if your patients share them, be sure to balance them with positive stories.
The legal note here is to keep HIPPA in mind when developing your social content calendar. Do not share any real-life stories without specific written permission from everyone involved. No great story is worth getting into a legal battle over, so keep everything on the up-and-up.
5. Be Responsive
All companies that hold social media accounts should expect interaction, both positive and negative, from those they serve. Healthcare accounts are no exception. The most important thing here is to designate a team (or person) to handle incoming comments, questions, and requests from social media. Depending on the size of your organization you may not get many conversations, or you could get thousands. The important part is to have a plan on how to handle social interactions.
Start with a strategy for what kinds of responses are acceptable (vet these carefully with your legal team) then provide this to your team. Becoming a part of the conversation ensures you’ll have the opportunity to clarify any misinformation that might be spreading about your practice, people, or industry. Remaining responsive to these conversations also gives you a chance to highlight positive discussions.
Being proactive about interaction is another layer to the social equation. Keep a list of keywords relevant to your specialty and make a point to comment on a number of the posts using those keywords. This allows you to be helpful and share your name and expertise with a wider audience.
Healthcare providers have a unique position in that they provide a service that is a human necessity. And with the modern age of skepticism around healthcare advice, it’s more important than ever for healthcare experts to get involved in the online conversations to share truths and establish influence. If getting involved in social media is intimidating for you, well, you’re not alone. At Romer Social, we understand the importance of getting involved and establishing influence in a compliant way. Schedule a call and see how we can help your practice or organization get social!