The Coffey Blog

Top healthcare marketing tips from NESHCo 2017

Posted on: Monday, June 26, 2017

Chris Widell, Business Development Consultant

Healthcare best practices are always changing. That's what makes working in consumer and member communications so exciting. There's always something new to share.

Last month, I went to the New England Society for Healthcare Communications (NESHCo) spring conference, where change was the main topic. I came away inspired by all the work healthcare teams are doing all across the country, and I picked up a lesson or two that might be helpful for those of you who couldn't make it to the conference this year.

Mentioning the unmentionable on social media

Often when we think about healthcare social media, we think about discussing an organization's strengths and community benefits. And we look for ways to steer clear of controversial or sensitive topics. In this Penn Medicine presentation, we had a chance to discover a creative use of social media, taking on a touchy subject: bladder control.

We saw how social media could work as a key patient acquisition tool. The goal was to raise awareness of bladder control issues so the team could increase appointment volume. Each post helped to target and reach potential candidates, and those posts were both engaging and a little bit funny.

People who clicked on those posts were taken to a dedicated landing page with a form. Engaging with that form put these potential patients into a traditional marketing funnel that included email messaging and a push for conversion.

I know plenty of our clients use social media to help drive program enrollments, and I've seen quite a few clients use landing pages to help create retargeting campaigns. But this particular program seemed even more effective and innovative. If you're interested in trying something similar, I'd love to talk with you about it.

Tapping into the power of storytelling

Content that tells a story has the potential to change behavior. And that content could help shift longstanding beliefs. A presentation by a team from the University of Vermont Medical Center demonstrated just how effective stories can be.

The team highlighted their participation in a community initiative to address homelessness. There is a stigma associated with homelessness, and the team wanted to find ways to both address and help remove that stigma.

Their idea: Feature someone who was homeless—in a filmed, candid interview. This was an incredibly delicate story to tell. The team had to make sure to tell a story that was compelling but not exploitative to the gentleman highlighted in the video.

The finished product tells that story beautifully. In addition to featuring someone coping with homelessness, medical center staff and community partners also get a chance to speak about their mission. Often, people who watch the video are moved to tears. And the team continues to field requests to discuss the project at national marketing shows, like NESHCo.

They have great results to share. On Facebook, the video has been remarkably effective—it's been viewed more than 48,000 times. It's also been viewed more than 2,000 times on YouTube.

The takeaway: Don't shy away from telling tough stories. It can take time and patience to find the right voice and the right message. But when you create content with an authentic message and a lot of empathy, people respond.

Collaborate with Coffey

I attend marketing conferences several times each year, so I can meet with marketing teams and share information about Coffey's solutions. But you don't have to wait for a show to hear more about how I can help. Email me or call me at 509.526.2203. I'd love to connect.

Related links

Writing great healthcare stories: What is the best way to interview patients?
7 ways your healthcare organization can use social media
Healthcare marketing on Facebook: To pay or not to pay?