Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What’s in Your Healthcare Social Media Wallet?


After a slow start, healthcare organizations of all types, large and small, public and private are rapidly adopting social media as a channel for marketing, public relations, developing their brand and providing service to their customers. Since 2008, I’ve witnessed some of these health-focused companies – mainly vendors and providers – make great strides in leverage social media. I’ve also seen quite a few false starts and some real goof ups.

With all the information, how-to’s, good examples and readily available resources on social media, why do so many healthcare organizations – providers, health plans, and vendors - seem to be missing the boat when it comes to leveraging social media?

What Does it Mean to ‘Get’ Social Media?


What are some of the key “things” healthcare providers, payers and the vendors that support healthcare must understand and do to establish and maintain an effective social media presence?

They Have a Clearly Defined Objective

There’s a huge difference in how social media channels should be used for marketing, developing a brand, establishing thought leadership, driving traffic to other channels and serving customers. Firms leveraging social media to their advantage understand what they are trying to accomplish and how different social media platforms and approaches to using those platforms will best serve their objectives.

They Know Different Platforms Serve Different Audiences & Needs

Social media platforms can be loosely grouped into three categories: Network-based, Conversation-based and Image-based. Each of the following social media platforms belongs to one or more of these categories and addresses certain objectives.

Platform & Objective
Network-Based
Convo-based
Image-based
Blab: Sharing long form content. Establish thought leadership, customer service, PR and branding
Yes
Yes
Yes
Facebook: Build brand loyalty and reputation.
Yes
Yes

Google+: Sharing long-form content, branding
Yes


LinkedIn: Sharing long-form content, connecting with professionals, brand exposure
Yes
Yes

Snapchat: Not quite sure on this one but it’s supposedly very popular
Yes

Yes
Twitter: Share breaking news and quick updates, promoting new products, networking and making connections, collecting feedback.
Yes
Yes

YouTube: Brand awareness, customer service, How-to instructions,
Yes

Yes
Blogging (ex. Word Press & BlogSpot) – Sharing long form content. Thought leadership, customer service, PR and branding

Yes

Instagram: Showcase products, marketing


Yes
Periscope/Meerkat – Public relations, storytelling,


Yes
Pinterest: Online scrapbook, showcase products, marketing


Yes
Podcasting: Sharing long-form content and connecting, establishing thought leadership, customer service

Yes

Slide Share: Sharing long-form content and connecting, establishing thought leadership,


Yes

They Provide a Comprehensive Social Media Presence

It’s not necessary – and in my opinion, counter-productive - to maintain a presence on all the social media platforms. But companies that really get social media have more than just a Facebook page and the obligatory Twitter presence. I believe the key activities separating those that ‘get’ social media from the also-ran's and has-been's include, among other things:

1. Publishing blog posts on a regular basis; including posts from senior executives and operational leaders

2. Sponsoring and participating in ‘tweetchats’ and other online discussions like blabs

3. Creating original content and sharing it intelligently using appropriate channels

4. Curating and sharing relevant, helpful and useful content created by others

5. Commenting on industry goings on and happenings and guest posting on other media sites

6. Being frequently quoted and referenced by prominent industry accounts and influencers

7. Creating and publishing podcasts and videos – by themselves or via available healthcare media outfits

8. Interacting with consumers, prospects and their followers on a regular basis

9. Building relationships with influencers and others as ambassadors of their brand

What’s in Your Healthcare Social Media Wallet?


Is your firm’s social media program close to broke? Or is it flush with cash and growing daily? If I were charged with drumming up excitement for the use of social media by healthcare payers, providers and vendors, I’d hire Samuel L Jackson and run commercials with him asking “What’s in your healthcare social media wallet?”

For more information, ideas and opinion on healthcare social media, data, technology and services, consider following me on Twitter where I share as @ShimCode.

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