The Coffey Blog

7 ways your healthcare organization can use social media

Posted on: Monday, September 21, 2015

Jeremy Dietz, Executive Digital Editor
Marjorie Reece, Lead Senior Editor

Is your hospital or health plan getting all the value it could out of social media?

If the answer is no, this blog post is for you.

Whether your healthcare organization's social presence needs recharging or you're just now getting started, the first thing you should do is make a plan. Taking some time to consider what you're hoping to accomplish and how you'll use social media to further your overall healthcare marketing goals will help give you a solid foundation to work from.

In this post, we've excerpted some tips from our e-book, Selling—or Upselling—Social Media to the C-Suite. We'll take a look at some ways your hospital or health plan might use social media. And we'll also give you insights on which social networks you might focus on first.

What social media can do for a healthcare organization

Here are just a few of the things you can use social to do:

1. Build your healthcare brand. Social media can help raise awareness of your brand in your community—whether that's local, regional or national.

2. Highlight your staff and services. Quality healthcare is more important than ever. And social media channels are a great place to highlight your expertise. For example, you might promote blog posts written by specialists, post videos about your service lines, or host Q&A sessions about important health topics.

3. Deepen connections. Social media gives you a chance to commune with healthcare consumers. You can hear—and share—personal and powerful stories and connect directly. And social can give people an everyday look at who you really are—highlighting your caring staff and culture.

4. Discover positives—and problems. People are probably talking about your hospital or health plan on social media already. Maybe they're raving about your classes or the healthcare their loved ones received. But they could be grumbling too. If you're not available on social, you won't know about these conversations. That means you'll miss the opportunity to see successes and show off your great customer service when someone has a complaint.

5. Share trustworthy and valuable health content. Let's face it: Social media can be a hotbed for bad health information that can spread and cause harm, from fad diets to false claims. You can help counter that. By sharing reliable, reader-friendly materials and tips, you can help serve and protect your community—and become a go-to source when people need answers or help.

6. Support your other marketing channels. Looking to bring more people to your website? Hoping to up your hospital or health plan's e-newsletter subscriptions? Social media can get the word out.

7. Communicate with your followers during a crisis. When a tragedy strikes, people often turn to social media to get news and connect with others who are affected. As a healthcare leader, your hospital or health plan can be a valuable voice in those discussions, providing up-to-date information and trustworthy advice.

Focus your social media efforts

There are a lot of social media channels out there. And though it may be tempting to jump in and establish your hospital or health plan on as many of them as you can, it's OK to start small—and build momentum.

For many healthcare organizations, starting small means focusing on Facebook first and moving to other channels, such as Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, later. But the right channel for you will depend on your audience and your goals.

The infographic below offers a look at who's on some of the major social platforms and how you might use those platforms to engage healthcare consumers.

Getting your social media efforts off the ground

Once you have your sights set on your social media goals, let us help with the next steps. The rest of our free e-book Selling—or Upselling—Social Media to the C-Suite can be a helpful guide as you plot your strategy and pitch your plan.