As the Internet increasingly becomes the medium of choice for researching health information, social media has become an important channel for healthcare marketing. In today’s social media-connected, content marketing rich environment, healthcare marketeers who are not using social media as part of their strategy are missing out. In today’s post, I will outline the four essential steps required for successful healthcare social media marketing.
The first step is to gain a clearer image of who your audience is and what they are saying about you. Only then will you be able to create compelling, relevant and valuable content to fuel the social media engine.
(1) Identify and segment your online audience
Your healthcare marketing efforts will be much stronger if you can identify your target market and segment it so that you can tailor your content more specifically for them. Unless you take this first step, your social media marketing activities will remain unfocused. If you can clearly identify your target market, then you can plan the best combination of email marketing, social networking strategies, SEO, Pay Per Click, Banner ads, etc. You are looking to drill down deeper to discover their geographic location, their gender, level of education, family status, which social media sites they use, what conversations they are having online, how they are engaging with you, your competition and your online partners.
(2) Plan your social and digital media channels
Armed with this information you will now be able to plan which social media channels are most suited to your target market and direct your efforts accordingly. For example, if you identify that your audience is predominately female, you might direct some of your healthcare marketing efforts to Pinterest, a site whose rapid growth and success has been driven by women.
(3) Join in the online conversation
There is a support and community group for just about any medical condition or interest online. To further expand their reach and focus on patient care, these groups need the input of qualified healthcare practitioners to help validate the information discussed on their sites and to ensure balanced views that are in the best interest of patients. Participating in these communities by providing advice, educational podcasts, guest contributions to widely read blogs and websites can help you broadcast your brand and build your reputation, while providing valuable support to the group.
(4) Monitor your online reputation
Consistency, credibility and connection are the cornerstones of maintaining your healthcare brand’s integrity. It is important to listen to what is being said about your brand, not just to know what is going on and whether you are receiving any negative publicity or comments that need to be addressed, but also to know what you are doing right, so that you can do more of it. At a minimum keep an eye on tweets, comments and messages on your Twitter, blog and Facebook accounts. You should also set up Google Alerts for your brand and industry.
There’s no question that social media is growing in importance in the healthcare field and it is no longer an optional marketing strategy. The conversation is happening online with or without you, so for the sake of your healthcare brand, join it!