It’s no secret that Social Media is here and here to stay.
Hospitals face unique challenges and risks when it comes to social media, mostly having to do with privacy control and potential HIPPA violations. Social media outlets are where a very large group of people (patients and potential patients) are spending lots of time and want to get connected and updated by their hospital in manner that works for them. This is what is at the heart of any smart and successful social media program. It’s about your patients!
The numbers speak for themselves. 34% of consumers use social media to search for health information according to research data from How America Searches: Health and Wellness.
However, in hospital marketing, it’s an understatement to say that gaining buy-in for social media isn’t easy. The team at FirstTracks works with many hospitals and we understand the challenges that hospitals are up against:
- A multitude of privacy regulations
- Nursing and support staff shortages
- Increasing demand for services
- Challenging reimbursement issues
It’s not difficult to understand why some hospital decision makers may be slow to adopt social media but instead of throwing in the towel, consider these four practical ideas for adopting social media into your hospital marketing program:
1. Connect with your community for event and program information
Many hospitals we work with have public seminar programs that cover a variety of topic areas. Imagine being able to publish and even offer sign-up and registration for these events through your hospital Facebook page. There are a multitude of ways to code custom information and functionality into your Facebook business page. Leveraging a direct geographically focused community with your most current educational offerings will make all your efforts more accessible and increase the attendance for your programs and your reach within the community.
2. Reach Mainstream Media
70% of journalists now use social networks to assist reporting. This is compared to 41% the year before according to a Middleberg Communications survey reported by PRWeek. With numbers that high, it only makes sense for hospital marketers to leverage social media channels in order to achieve coverage by both mainstream media and industry publications.
3. Communicate in Times of Crisis
When disaster strikes; whether it be a flood, an earthquake or a terrorist attack, hospitals and healthcare providers are at the center of it all. Hospitals can leverage social media networks to provide real-time updates both for those directly affected by the crisis and those watching from afar.
4. Provide Accurate Information to Patients
73% of patients search for medical information online before and after doctors visits according to this video from the HealthCare New Media Conference. With the magnitude of health information available on the web – both accurate and inaccurate – it’s likely that these patients can easily be misinformed.
This is just the tip of the Hospital Social Media iceberg
A good hospital social media program requires careful planning. You have many policy concerns and resource allocation decisions to consider, not to mention, the mix of technology and process you want to implement with your social media program. It can be seem overwhelming but that’s where the team at FirstTracks Marketing Group can help. We can strategically plan, implement, track, and improve your social media marketing program. We have the in-house expertise and experience. We work with hospitals every day and we understand your business.
Give us a call at 603-924-1978 or fill out our online request form for more information about getting a social media program started for your hospital.