According to a Datareportal survey, social media has 4.70 billion users worldwide as of July 2022, making up 59% of the global population. Social media platforms are primarily used for social networking. However, its function goes beyond that now, and people are getting more creative.
For example, there is immense value in the use of social media for healthcare, including raising public awareness, public health surveillance, peer support, and more. Each healthcare facility should know the importance of social media, how to create an effective social media marketing strategy, and what the latest trends are.
That’s exactly what we’ll discuss in this article. Read on to find out.
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How To Use Social Media for Healthcare
Social media is a prolific tool in society, not just for social networking, but for marketing and other things. Here are some tips on how to use it effectively.
1. Share Educational Content
A Forbes study found that 11% of Americans rely on social media for new health-related information. Although this percentage isn’t huge, it still represents a substantial number of people who trust social media as an information source.
As such, it’s essential to help educate the public by providing videos, tips, and bite-sized information on health-related topics.
2. Inspire Followers with Your Content
To maximize the benefits of social media in healthcare, you can post inspirational content that will tug at the heartstrings of your audience. Social media marketing in healthcare involves more than just posting factual content.
Healthcare can be an emotional industry, with patients and families being affected by progressive diseases and life-changing surgeries. By using patient success stories, you can not only inspire but you can show how your facility or practice makes a difference in your patients’ lives.
3. Publish Infographics to Increase Engagement
According to recent research, infographics are shared on social media three times more than any other visual content. That said, if you want to improve your social media strategy for healthcare, infographics aren’t one to miss. It’s a great and quick way to educate patients.
4. Use Health-Related Hashtags
Hashtags have become rampant on social media since they were first used in 2007. Hashtags are a form of tagging that allows users to cross-reference content by theme or topic.
Healthcare companies have many opportunities to use hashtags. You can use organizational or health-specific tags that will allow you to extend your reach and make it easier for followers to share content on such topics.
If you’re unsure of what hashtags to use or how to create a tasteful one for your facility or company, you can hire a healthcare digital marketing agency to help you out.
5. Stay Compliant and Secure
Compliance and data security are crucial things to remember when using social media for healthcare. You should always ensure that patient data is safe and that every piece of information posted is accurate.
Create a Social Media Strategy for Healthcare in 6 Steps
Social media has played a huge role in marketing for the past few decades — and healthcare is not exempt. You can have your social media strategy planned out by a highly-ranked healthcare SEO agency. But if you prefer coming up with your strategy, you can follow our six-step process:
1. Set SMART Goals
Before you start researching healthcare marketing trends, you should first set specific goals of what you hope to achieve with your social media strategy. This will help measure your progress and adjust your strategy as needed to achieve those goals.
Your goals need to be SMART, which stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and, of course, time-specific.
2. Know Your Audience
Like any other type of marketing effort, you can reap the benefits of social media in healthcare if you know your target audience. Many marketing decisions will be based on the behavior of the people you’re trying to reach.
What platform does your audience use to research information? When are they likely online? What health problems are they most concerned about?
3. Set a Budget
Posting on social media may be free, but you need to invest money if you want to extend your reach. If you plan on doing everything yourself, you may need a monthly budget of $20 to $100. You’ll need a budget for an SEO tool, content support, paid advertising, and analytics software. Whatever your budget is, make sure you can stick to it.
4. Pick Your Social Media Platforms
Another decision you need to make to reap the benefits of social media in healthcare is what social media platform you should use. It’s easier to make this decision if you already have a good understanding of your target audience’s behavior and demographics. If your resources are limited, it’s best to focus on one or two platforms that will generate the highest returns.
5. Build a Content Strategy
A crucial part of building a social media strategy for healthcare is creating a content strategy. You should consider the following things:
- Your tone and voice,
- The values your company stands for,
- The unique qualities that make you stand out,
- The content type that works on each platform.
You should post content that your audience can resonate with. It’s not always about your company, your technology, or your brand; you should also state what you can do to help improve your patients’ quality of life.
6. Track and Measure
Lastly, there’s no use in keeping up with healthcare marketing trends if you don’t determine how effective they are. You need to measure the results of your efforts using some key metrics, such as follower count, comments, and how much traffic you generate.
For this, you can use built-in tools like Twitter Analytics and Facebook Insights or third-party tools.
Top 3 Healthcare Marketing Trends for 2023
Any marketer will tell you that it’s important to keep up with the trends. Now that you know how to use social media for healthcare and come up with a good strategy, here are some social media marketing trends to watch out for.
Today’s patients want healthcare facilities to customize their care to meet their specific needs. This also translates to marketing. You can make use of targeted ads to deliver unique messages to each type of audience you can anticipate.
If you have a website, you should also create a web design that resonates with your patients and audience. You can either hire an in-house web designer or a seasoned healthcare website design company that has valuable experience working in the industry and understands the nuances associated with it.
The CDC states that in 2021, an estimated 37% of adults have used telemedicine in the previous year. Since the COVID-19 pandemic turned our life upside down, the use of telemedicine has increased — even now that things have gone back to normal.
Telemedicine is preferred because of its convenience, affordability, and accessibility. Even if telemedicine declines in use, a portion of patient care will continue to exist in telemedicine in some capacity, such as appointment notifications and discussion of test results.
The latest Oberlo statistics show that 86% of marketers use videos. Since the invention of television, videos have been essential in marketing to attract an audience and drive engagement. Videos are perfect for creating your company’s visual representation. You can post them on any platform you want.
Pros and Cons of Social Media in Healthcare
Before diving into social media for healthcare, you should first be aware of the pros and cons so you can maximize the benefits and be prepared for the challenges that may befall you.
The benefits of social media in healthcare include:
- It’s widely used by patients. Approximately 80% of patients have used the internet to search for health-related information, which emphasizes the need for physicians to have a strong online presence.
- It allows you to build a relationship with patients. A survey conducted on behalf of the AOA shows that 42% of adults want to follow their healthcare provider or professional on any social media platform.
- It’s cost-effective. You don’t need a huge budget to start using social media for healthcare, especially if you have an in-house staff.
- It helps raise public awareness. Because of its wide use, social media is a great tool to raise awareness of relevant health concerns. It also helps combat misinformation and is a great means of communication during a crisis.
- It attracts the best healthcare professionals to your company. A huge percentage (65%) of physicians use social media platforms for professional reasons. You need a strong online presence if you want to find more healthcare professionals to join your facility.
Since we’re talking about the pros and cons of social media in healthcare, let’s also dive into the common challenges you can face with using this tool.
- There are some security risks. Since healthcare providers must maintain patient privacy, cybersecurity should be top of mind. You should also censor or eliminate sensitive patient information when creating posts to adhere to HIPAA rules.
- You need to be vigilant of false information. The internet is riddled with false information. You need to ensure that every post you create is factual. You can even debunk some circulating false information to gain your audience’s trust.
- There will be criticism and negative comments. This is unavoidable when you use social media for healthcare. It’s best to stay on top of negativity and respond professionally.
- There’s the danger of self-diagnosis. Patents may rely on information they find on your page about their symptoms instead of scheduling an appointment.
Key Takeaways on Social Media for Healthcare
Like anything else, there are pros and cons of using social media in the healthcare industry. You simply need to stay on top of the challenges so that you can reap the benefits these platforms offer. Also, be sure to follow our six-step guide to creating a social media strategy to maximize your returns and ensure the success of your campaign.