Social media has become part of many consumers’ daily lives. However, due to the private nature of healthcare, providers often assume their messaging is incompatible with these platforms. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
According to a 2012 study from Pricewaterhouse Cooper, one-third of U.S. adults turn to social media to discuss healthcare. Considering the number of worldwide social media users has more than doubled since the study took place, that percentage has likely grown. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that social media plays a crucial role in patient acquisition.
Social Media & Patient Acquisition
Chances are fairly high that your audience is already on social media — 69% of American adults have an account on at least one social site. Moreover, users are spending over two hours on social media every day. By developing a social media presence, healthcare providers can leverage that time and increase name recognition.
Social media is a free resource, unlike many tactics for getting in front of healthcare consumers and it offers paid options to boost your presence. Yes, it takes time to create posts, but these will slowly get easier once you identify your audience and define your brand’s “voice.”
Finding Your Voice
Everyone on social media has a voice. Individuals and brands adopt a certain way of posting. Often, a business’s voice on social media is more relaxed and less business-like than in other forms of communication. For healthcare practices, especially, it’s important to think about your voice and social media strategy before just jumping into a new platform.
Having a voice helps to humanize your brand, which is one of the most important things a healthcare provider can do on social media. Often, healthcare can be seen as cold, unfeeling and systematic. Social media is the perfect place to be “real.” Showcase your employee who just had a baby. Post a heartfelt message on a national observance related to healthcare, like Nurses Week. Be empathetic. Join in the online conversation and respond to comments or questions promptly on your page.
Consider talking with your audience to gather their input on your brand voice. Ask staff members and patients how they would describe your practice. Think about how you want your brand to appear to people and make them feel when they interact with your page.
Once you’ve found your voice, it’s time to decide what to post. We gave you a few examples above, but there are plenty of other ways to share with your audience. Share testimonials or create informative posts for new patients so they can get to know your practice. Link to blogs and other thought leadership pieces, so patients not only find value on your page but view your organization as an industry leader. If your patients are usually only in your office once a year, social media can be a great way to stay in front of them consistently with information.
Different Channels, Different Strategies
Depending on where your ideal audience is and where you want to be most active, you’ll probably have to create different posts for different platforms. Instagram, for example, is entirely image- and video-based and doesn’t allow links in its posts. Twitter, on the other hand, has a 280-character limit. Facebook is good for video content and LinkedIn is a great place for sharing thought leadership content with industry professionals. While Pinterest is a visual search engine, not a true “social media” platform — it works much more like Google than Facebook.
PatientBond’s patient engagement platform has a section entirely dedicated to social media and patient acquisition, and we can help increase your Google reviews and improve their quality. We’ve helped clients achieve 4.5- or 5-star reviews consistently and increase their Net Promoter Score by 30 percent. Our platform will also notify you of any problems affecting member satisfaction so you can address them in real time.
If you want to communicate with your audience more effectively, our psychographic segmentation model can classify patients into one of five groups based on their attitudes, values, personalities and more. In turn, this data can help you determine what content and voice your audience is most likely to respond to. For instance, if you find most of your audience is Willful Endurers, who prefer to live in the moment, you’ll want your content to focus on their motivations. You could do this by pointing out improvements they have made, how they can make small change today and how easy it is to take the first step to healthier living. By tailoring the voice using psychographics, you’ll motivate your audience to take action.
Social media isn’t something to consider adding to your strategy anymore. 37% of consumers are inspired to make purchases through social networks, higher than any other channel. If you’re not already on social media, it’s time to take the plunge. With PatientBond’s patient engagement platform and psychographic segmentation model, you can find your voice, strengthen your performance and engage with patients who are already online.
For more on how psychographic segmentation can enhance your social media presence and improve your patient acquisition strategy, download our case study.