The usage of smart phones and of social media sites such as blogs, podcasts, YouTube, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. is causing a cultural phenomenon that is changing the way all businesses operate. Customers are demanding more social media interaction, because they want to be heard and connect. Social media networks make it possible for hospitals to directly communicate with patients in a personal way that wasn’t possible before.
If you want to stay current and gain an edge on competitors, then you need a social media strategy!
(The information is from Hospital Social Network List and the infograph above was designed by PowerDMS and found at Healthcare and Social Media [infographic].)
Why is Social Media Critical for Hospitals?
A recent study by PwC of 1,000 consumers and 124 healthcare executives revealed vital information:
- 57% of consumers said a hospitals social media connection would strongly influence their decision to receive treatment at a facility
- 41% reported that tools like “Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and online forums influence their choice of a specific hospital, medical facility or doctor”
- About 33% use social media to share or seek medical information.
Grow as a company by increasing positive publicityJust a few of the potential uses of social tools currently available to hospitals:
- Make credible information about health, news, and events easily accessible
- Better understand and communicate with customers
- Attract well-suited staff
- Increase customer loyalty and brand recognition,
- Allow customers to create online appointments or have access to useful apps
- Evaluate your own company
There are some basics to social media strategy for hospitals that you should bear in mind because of regulatory policies and legal risks. For your reputations, it’s crucial that your strategy has cohesive, comprehensive goals that maintain privacy, adhere to legal polices and provide oversight.
To begin, you need to outline strengths and weakness to be highlighted in your media campaign, to compile a list of opportunities and threats, and to fully understand the culture of social media among hospitals. There should be a cohesive form of communication that infiltrates the entire organization so that it’s consistent.
Then you can proactively respond to patients and strengthen your brand recognition and loyalty. The strategy should start small and go slow so that you have time to build on success and learn from mistakes along the way. Lastly to ensure goal attainment, constant improvement, and success of the strategy, metrics should be examined on various media platforms with regularity.
Among hospitals, there are lots of social media success stories that show social media being fully utilized to its potential.
To illustrate social media’s power, there are two anecdotal success stories provided below:
- With Facebook, At University of California, San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital, they surpassed their $100,000 goal and raised over a million dollars for an 83-bed UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital at Mission Bay.
- With Twitter, at Scott & White Healthcare during the Ft. Hood shooting crisis, an employee tweeted real-time updates about a victims to the large amount of people near and far. Updating Red Cross and reporters, it provided emergency room access and hospital operation status. As a result, their twitter followers increased by 78% in 3 days; “Scott & White” became a trending topic; and during the crisis even pushed the hospital’s YouTube ranking to one of the most viewed non-profit channels.
A paradigm shift among hospitals is currently taking place, and you must show your customers that you are listening to their demands. We not only understand the intricate needs and culture of social media among hospitals but we also want to help you create and implement a smart, manageable and realistic marketing/business strategy that fits your organization.
Don’t get left in the past, you need to get started on your business’ social media plan now in order to thrive!