Five steps to improve your social media in healthcare

Most marketers don’t need to be convinced of the importance of social media in healthcare. In a marketplace increasingly defined by authenticity, openness, transparency and creating relationships, social media is integral to staying competitive and opening up communication with communities and patients who are looking for better ways to connect, communicate, create and share content.

Here’s another way to think about it. Your communities and patients are the media. Your employees are the media. WE (consumers) are the media. And if our jobs are to make our client’s brands more relevant in people’s lives, this is an important precept to follow.

But time and again, we still see healthcare social media marketing being thought about and executed as a step-child to more traditional marketing tactics. The result is that too many social media efforts backfire. Because planning isn’t as sharp, audience targeting isn’t as sharp and therefore messaging and relevancy isn’t as sharp.

“Social” is a reality for customers and employees, and there’s no dialing it back. Your healthcare social media marketing program needs to embrace this and reflect this if it’s going to deliver the returns you’re looking for. Here are five steps to follow to ensure your social media program is strategically sound and smart in its execution.

1. Planning & Research

Determining Business Goals:

  • awareness
  • thought leadership
  • support
  • prospecting/leads
  • public relations
  • investor relations
  • research
  • recruitment
  • morale
  • CSR

Understanding Audience and Competitor Practices:

  • who
  • where
  • why
  • when

2. Social Media Platform

Defining Your Niche/Singular Message

Determining Your Big Picture Strategy:

  • thought leader (influencer)
  • education (knowledge)
  • entertainment (experience)
  • engagement (sourcing)
  • empowerment (involvement)

3. Social Media Strategies & Tactics

Content and Conversations:

  • type
  • style
  • sources
  • guardrails (frequency, quality, legal considerations, authenticity)

Type of Outreach Channels:

  • tools (to gain maximum participation)
  • compliments to core

Initial Awareness-Building Activities:

  • SEO
  • traditional vehicles

4. Internal Resource Planning & Policies

Time & Resources

Cross-Functional Representatives

Social Face & Voice:

  • CEO
  • leadership
  • marketing
  • multiple employees

Internal Training

Policies & Procedures:

  • employee participation
  • brand consistency
  • confidential & proprietary information
  • conflicts of interest
  • crisis situations
  • defamatory behavior

5. Monitoring Progress & Performance

Ongoing Internal Monitoring:

  • compliance
  • message consistency
  • tracking
  • opportunities and gaps
  • new/emerging channels

Performance Criteria:

  • simple to use
  • making decisions
  • taking actions
  • harvesting value

Agree to metrics:

  • qualitative
  • quantitative


Trajectory has specialized in working across the health + wellness continuum since 1999. If you want to talk about how to improve your social media in healthcare program or healthcare content marketing program, reach out.


Eric Brody

Eric Brody is President of Trajectory, launched in 1999, the specialist health & wellness branding and marketing agency using every moment to move customers, brands and businesses upward. Prior to Trajectory, Eric served as EVP and Management Board member at Interbrand (the world’s most influential brand consultancy). Before Interbrand, he held senior marketing positions at Beiersdorf Inc. and L’Oreal and advertising account management positions at Marschalk and Benton & Bowles.He has also taught as an adjunct professor at Seton Hall’s Graduate School of Communications and has lectured at Wharton Business School and Emory Goizueta School of Business.