1. What is the cost of a strong social media presence?
Unless your healthcare organization is using a paid advertising option, there typically isn’t a dollar and cents cost associated with social media sites themselves. And the more your audience builds, the bigger your reach. That’s the good news. But there are ‘hidden’ costs to consider. When estimating the impact to your organization to have a consistent social media presence, be sure to factor in the time, energy, attention, and staff needed to maintain your sites. It’s important to have the big picture.
2. Maintain a consistent schedule
Beware all posters and bloggers. Nothing is more disconcerting than a “past-due” or “expired” social media presence. There shouldn’t be a perception of neglect or expiration in your posts, blogs or tweets. An inconsistent, unreliable presence can do more harm than good, making consumers think they might be neglected as well. Don’t begin posting and blogging on a schedule that you aren’t able to maintain.
3. Know your audience
Healthcare organizations shouldn’t try to be all things to all people. Turn your focus towards the social media platforms used by the consumers you want to attract, retain and connect with. Just as you carefully examine patients, dissect what social media tools your target audiences are posting on, using as resources and reading. Don’t attempt to be a social media presence everywhere. Choosing a few key sites, and managing them consistently well, is better than trying to be one-size-fits-all for patients.
4. Use a soft touch
Social media is not intended to be a hard-sell of your healthcare organization’s services. Consumers can see right through that and you’ll lose their interest, and more importantly, their trust. Social media is meant to be much more subtle than that.
5. Engage your audience
Aim to connect the head to the heart. Leveraging your online presence by facilitating connected relationships, encouraging more meaningful involvement and promoting greater visibility will be more powerful. You want to engage your audience and build a relationship while instilling loyalty to your healthcare organization and its workers.
Social media, used properly, will solidify an organization’s reputation and presence, increase patient loyalty and engagement, all while increasing its’ bottom line. And as my previous blog, “10 Social Media Benefits for Healthcare Providers” stated, strong benefits for healthcare providers as well. Can a hospital afford not to engage?