As hospitals across the U.S. realize the importance of becoming competitive online, there is a steady flow of healthcare providers pushing toward various social-media outlets. But that doesn’t mean they are using the tools correctly. Social media involves more than just a platform for advertising. Using such media effectively means knowing what to post so that you can engage your audience and grow your presence online.
Create an opportunity to engage patients and the community
When people “like” your page, it means that they are interested in your services and want to learn more. It is a huge opportunity to reach people—an opportunity that simply doesn’t exist with more-traditional forms of advertising. So while you can speak directly to people who are interested in hearing what you have to say, you also have a responsibility to provide relevant, engaging material.
Establish your reputation by providing information about health
More and more people are going online to get information about their health. This trend gives hospitals and clinics an opportunity to establish themselves as experts in their fields. Sharing links to relevant and timely health information and posting information about health-related topics on social media demonstrates that your hospital team includes local experts who are “in the know” about current health trends.
Talk about the hospital and the staff
Social media provide a great way to show off the high quality of care that your hospital and its staff provide. Use the platform to explain about services that the community might not know about. Online media allow you to go into greater detail than an ad in a newspaper or on the radio provides.
Engage with the local community
From local events to community partners, you can use social media to showcase your hospital’s positive role in the neighborhood it serves. And because posting online means the information gets out instantly, it is a great way to give a heads-up to the community about upcoming events or other local information they should be aware of.
Research has shown that people online engage better with visual content than text. Using graphics and photos is a great way to get people’s attention online. Visual media are more likely to be shared, meaning that there is a good chance of gaining a wider audience than would be possible with a simple text post. Think of how you can use photos and visualizations to explain and to inform.
Start a conversation!
Conversations are the most important aspect of communication. Social media are not a way-one street. Users expect to do a lot of the talking, and if they feel that your social-media venues are talking at them instead of with them, they will get bored pretty quickly. Encourage conversation by posing questions, asking for feedback and providing content that invites discussion and interaction.
With social media, the bottom line involves finding creative ways to engage your audience. Though it is an easy, cost-effective way to spread content, social media involve more than just platforms for advertising. Your hospital will have much more success if it engages with users through relevant conversation and information. Providing these takes some work, but if you build an effective strategy, your hospital can potentially see huge returns.
If you want to take your social-media strategy to the next level, give SRJ Marketing Communications a call. The team at SRJ specializes in online marketing for small hospitals, including websites and social media. To learn more about how an effective social-media strategy can help your hospital succeed, call SRJ Marketing Communications at 214-528-5775 for a free consultation.