The Coffey Blog

Your questions answered: How does social listening help healthcare marketing?

Posted on: Monday, August 6, 2018

Molly Phillips, Digital Content Specialist

By now we all know that social media offers us an amazing platform from which we can broadcast compelling healthcare content and engage directly with our audiences. But there's something else that social media has to offer healthcare marketers—it's the ability to listen. In marketing speak, we call this skill social listening.

If done properly, social listening can yield valuable insights on everything from your audience to your competitors and industry. Let's explore more.

What is social listening?

Now for the nitty-gritty definition. Social listening is the process of monitoring your healthcare organization's social media channels for conversations and mentions about your brand, competitors and any other relevant industry information. Once you compile that data, you look for trends in those social mentions and identify any actions you can take to help your audience and your brand thrive.

So if you thought social listening was simply a matter of reacting to your followers' comments in a timely manner (please continue to do that!) it's a little more complex than that. But just imagine what you can learn from this type of organic market research.

4 steps to start social listening

There are plenty of ways to accomplish social media listening—and not all of them involve buying a new tool or a new product. Here are four steps you can take right now to start a social listening strategy.

1. Spot patterns in complaints.

Complaint comments contain key data you can use. Rather than reacting to them individually, you can look for patterns that help you correct a global problem.

An example: You notice that patients are writing Facebook comments about wait times at your urgent care centers. Dig deeper, and you notice that those comments are about one center in particular on one day of the week (Saturday), usually after 5 p.m.

Now you're really listening. Take that data to your team, and get the problem solved.

A bonus: You may find a compliment in the comments. A great patient story could become an article in your newsletter or part of a billboard, newspaper or magazine advertising campaign.

2. Move off your channels.

Keeping a close eye on your channels is always smart. But people could be talking about you on their own channels or on other public channels.

Pick a social channel, and run a search for your organization's name, your facility names, the names of your doctors and the names of your leaders. You could spot problems that may have remained hidden, simply because people didn't think to tell you directly.

3. Cruise the competition.

Using social listening to stay a step ahead of competitors is smart and effective. Look for positive, negative and neutral discussions about the hospital across the street or down the road.

These comments about your competitors can provide you with a lot of useful information. Are they doing something you're not that people really like? Which posts of theirs are most successful and why?

You can follow your competitor's social channels and take a pass through their pages every day. Or you could identify a few competitors and visit each channel once per week. The key is to be consistent, so you don't let a trend pass you by.

4. Connect with super-fans.

You may have a lot of followers, but you need to identify your super-fans — those who are loyal to your healthcare organization and frequently comment positively on your pages.

Once you've identified these people, use them to help promote your campaigns. Engage with them. Show them you're listening by letting them know you've noticed their loyalty and are grateful for it. Do what you can to keep these super-fans and create new ones too.

Make the most of your social data

Tapping into a sophisticated social media analytics dashboard will help you get the most out of your social listening strategy. You want it to be a place where you can collect all of your key social media metrics in one spot, so you never miss a trend.

The Coffey Social tool features an easy-to-use dashboard that does just that. We'd love to give you a demonstration and discuss the ways in which you can boost your social listening strategy. Contact us to find out more.

Related reading

Your questions answered: How can hashtags drive healthcare social media?

Show and tell: How Instagram can help you find key employees

Digital healthcare content trends to watch in 2017