Embracing social media: tips for health care marketers in 2017

Hospitals and pharmaceutical companies are slowly coming around to embracing the power of social media and social listening. Health care marketers are finally starting to leverage the channel to become thought leaders, engage customers where they are, build their brands, discover more about their patients and strengthen their organizations.

This is the thrust of this article on marketingland.com – A healthier, happier social presence: Tips for health care marketers in 2017. It’s a good, quick read written by Rob Begg, VP Product Marketing for Social Products at Salesforce. He also cites two health systems (Mercy Health System and Mayo Clinic) and one pharmaceutical company (Lilly Diabetes Feed) as organizations effectively reaching, serving and listening to their communities, using the examples of their Twitter feeds.

At Trajectory, we believe that all organizations, whether they like it or not, are now social organizations. But while the majority of us human beings are social beings, we don’t necessarily want to engage with brands – let alone health system and hospital brands. What we want is meaningful “value-for-me” vs “what-you-want-from-me” content. This will be the holy grail of an organization’s social media success.

So how do you create real customer value (and follow-on brand value and business value) from social media? What we at Trajectory refer to as “Social Capital.” We believe it requires organizations to embrace social media as a central part of their business strategy, beyond marketing and as an adjunct to campaigns. Embedding social media across all aspects of the organization, and alongside mobile and digital, to keep close to consumers who incorporate social media across all aspects of their lives. Who are using social media to search, evaluate, choose and use your services and forge new connections through your brand.

Rob Begg’s tips for healthcare marketers article mentions the power of social listening. And he cites that in general, healthcare organizations have found four uses for social listening:

1. Monitoring brand health
2. Tuning into conversations about issues that are important to patients
3. Assisting in enrollment for trials
4. Discovering patient communities

While these are powerful uses, using social media strategically beyond the marketing department means also being able to spread its value across the organization, e.g. as a resource for data, a tool for relationship building, for customer service and as a feedback loop for service improvements.

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Social media gives healthcare organizations the ability to punch above their weight. To drive preference, choice and build stronger brands and businesses. And the way to do that is to provide meaningful “value-for-me” vs “what-you-want-from-me” content across the entire brand journey. Think of it like two gears that engage one another to set things in motion. The more you give today’s social consumers the ability to efficiently and effectively move their lives forward, the more you’ll move your healthcare brand and business forward.

Eric Brody

Eric Brody is President of Trajectory, a brand and marketing firm specializing in creating momentum for businesses across the health + wellness continuum. The common threads are consumers who want to get well, stay well and play well, and brands that fulfill these aspirations and goals.

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