Friday, July 3, 2015

It's time for your Healthcare Organization to shine on Social Media

You're in the Healthcare Business and ready to get started on Social Media, but don't know where to begin? Feeling a bit....... overwhelmed??

No worries!  I'm going to give you the tools you need I'm going to help you get you started, and help you evaluate your progress.   

Regardless of which social media path you choose, there are some basic start up strategies to help make your business successful

  • Listen.  When it comes down to it, social media is not meat to simply broadcast information it is meant to be a network that engages and listens to its followers.   
    • Google Alerts, Twitter search, Facebook Search, etc. are all great search functions to get you started
  • Communicate.  Know your target audience, and how much time and effort you want to put invest in your media presence.
    • One of the biggest benefits of social media is that you can segment your audience.
    • Keep it short and simple. Provide links for those who want more details.
  • Reflect a Brand.  Your content has to reflect your brand.  
  • Stay Engaged.  Social media is not like a website.  The key to effective marketing on social media is interaction.  Don't just set it up and walk away.  Build a relationship.     
  • Have a purpose with your Content.  Do not just post what you think.  Every post has a purpose.  
    • The personality of the business needs to be represented in your posts
    • Have some variety in your posts - educate, ask questions, give advice, share info, problem solve and by all means time your posts according to what is going on in their lives. 

Let's take a look at how the Mayo Clinic puts these strategies into action.  This hospital dominates social media in Healthcare and as you can see below even back in 2011 it already had over 4,000 Social Media sites!

Here are three examples of the Mayo Clinic on social media to give you a better idea of how these strategies are incorporated

On Pinterest: 

  • The main page is branding itself as a lifestyle choice with many avenues of information to achieving a healthy lifestyle 
  • It is staying engaged by allowing followers to only choose categories of interest
  • This also gives the hospital a way to communicate information and serve it's a purpose

On Facebook:

  • A perfect example of targeting your audience, how about making their Facebook page available to the Spanish Speaking population!  What a great idea.

  • Check out the column to the left and you'll see other opportunities for communicating to the followers by of offering information, keeping the followers engaged by offering an events tab, even showing photos to continue to brand the hospital as a place that encourages a healthy lifestyle
  • Look at the comment to the right.  Communication is important not to forget!  Listening to the community and actively responding is crucial to having an ongoing relationship that does not fizzle.

On Twitter:

  • Having a purpose with your content - in this case educating about Menopause and Tips for Parents and Caregivers
  • The Mayo Clinic can communicate new information and events in this way
  •  Great way to engage with the community by replying to other posts, follow the hashtags and actively listen to the community without necessarily replying to everyone but learning a lot about what is being said

Now that you have an idea of how to strategize a well functioning social media Healthcare site - we need to establish how to evaluate whether or not your site is giving you a ROI (Return on Investment) 

True or False:

What do you think?  Do you think that if you started a social media platform, gained hundreds maybe even thousands of followers, posted an array of information (links, events, videos, photos, etc) and then slowly dwindled away from posting daily, to weekly, to monthly that it matters that you have more followers?

  • Nope  -  Simply having more followers does NOT increase your sales 
  • Your followers are important in that they share your information, but if you have nothing to share they cannot do much for your business.  They are your tool to success.   
The key to increased sales is more than just having followers, it's listening, engaging, and communicating with them.  So how do you evaluate whether or not you are being effective in your social media if the follower count is useless?

How can my business evaluate its success in social media if not by the amount of followers then? 

  • Conversation Rate - This can be measured on every social channel (Blogger, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube) and is basically the number of comments per post 
  • Amplification Rate or Brand Reach and Exposure "Mentions"- If you have 5,000 followers and they repost, retweet, or share your post you've amplified your post to their network, all of whom can continue to share and spread your content increasing your amplification.  In turn you'll find out what it is that interests them (because you're listening)
  • Applause Rate - Different sites have different versions of this, but all versions tell you if your followers like what you have posted (Facebook has the "Like" option, Google+ the "+1s", or Twitter using the "favorite" posts)  
  • Share of Voice and Sentiment - This is very much like the applause rate, but it is a Quantitative approach that does not just count the number of mentions, but goes a step further to tell you what kind of mentions.  For example, "75% of the shares were negative." The data has to be collected on the number of times the brand was mentioned over a set time, and then given one of the three categories: positive, negative, or neutral.
  • Influence - How influential are you to your followers? You can measure that with tools such as PostRank, or TwentyFeet!  These sites give you a metric evaluation on the number of links to your content, retweeted messages, etc. 

Your Healthcare businesses has to have a plan that can be successfully carried out by the strategies provided to you.  The evaluation process focuses on those exact strategies.  It's simple folks, your social media healthcare sites are like a garden: With a little bit of time and effort your business can flourish.



Matthew Norcross said...

Great blog post! It's amazing how overwhelming using social media can be to individuals working in a particular business, especially in the healthcare industry. In my blog (which focuses on YouTube), I also talk about the Mayo Clinic is connecting to their patients. Most of the information that you cited is especially interesting.

Gianna DiSarno said...

Your blog is wonderful! It's easy to read, exciting to read, and has a lot of imagery and text spacing. It is a perfect example of a blog. I feel as if health orgs either pay too little, or too much attention to using social media. The Mayo Clinic is a great example that follows the tips you had in your blog. It is a trusted site that people go to for health concerns. I wonder if they have separate departments for each platform, because that seems like a lot for one person/ department to handle. I think the better understanding of communication of a health org, then the better feedback they will get on social media.

Chelsey Cobb said...

I really liked this blog post. What caught my attention the most is the way you showed and example of each popular social media site in conjunction to the tips you provided. I also though the pie chart was useful in seeing the breakdown of which sites are used the most for health orgs (hospitals). As always awesome job. really useful information in this post

Megan Hucks said...

Once again, great job! I liked how you used MayoClinic as an example. They do a great job of effectively using social media to provide information and connect with people all over. Using the images and showing a bit of your personality made the read more interesting as well. I thought everything you shared really summed up what we have studied over the course of the semester.