Why Is Your Healthcare Practice Flatlining on Social Media?
With 91.9% of marketers already utilizing social media as standard, the need to create social profiles is by no means new. In fact, with 1 in 3 consumers now heading to social platforms to discover brands and products in the first place, there’s a strong argument that a viable presence here is the single most prevalent detriment of modern marketing success. However, while we all know this to be the case within industries like retail, far fewer of us consider what social media means across sectors like healthcare.
After all, far from selling a product, healthcare providers operate with trust and high-quality care in mind. ‘Traditional’ marketing often goes out of the window as a result, but the fact that 90% of physicians use some form of social media regardless suggests that there’s still a great deal of value to be found on these platforms. In particular, the ability to further improve client relationships and healthcare standing through effective social media management make this a tempting marketing subsect. The trouble is that, often, the ‘rules’ of social marketing done right still don’t apply to this unique industry.
This can lead countless healthcare providers to commit fatal social media mistakes that can not only fail to provide results but even leave hard-won reputations at risk. If this is the reality you face right now, then immediate action is crucial for both undoing that damage and enjoying the benefits of social media down the line. The question is, what’s causing your social media to flatline as it stands, and what can you do about it?
1: Failing to Find a Consistent Pulse on Social Media
The primary argument for healthcare providers to approach social media in the first place is to ensure easier access to lasting, loyal patient relationships. Unfortunately, if social media is treated as an afterthought where comments are only responded to intermittently and posts only appear every once in a while, then you’ll instead make yourself look unreliable, and even untrustworthy.
Overcoming these setbacks in a busy healthcare setting isn’t always easy, but seeking dedicated social media management from the best healthcare marketing agency that you can find provides a simple and easy-reach solution. With a dedicated team on the task, you can certainly ensure regular uploads, content schedules, and comment responses that are immediate enough to keep your followers happy without forcing you to compromise on all-important in-person appointments and other commitments.
#2: Falling Over Privacy Laws
The most fatal mistake a healthcare provider can make is to compromise privacy laws like HIPAA in their quest for better standing across social media. After all, healthcare practitioners are strictly bound by their inability to share any client details. For this reason, even something as simple as an upload that contains unapproved patient pictures could lead to legal hot water and malpractice suits.
This doesn’t mean that healthcare providers are doomed from ever sharing things like testimonials, quippy anecdotes, or even day-in-the-life photos, but it does mean that extra care must be taken. Bringing a dedicated legal team on board (or outsourcing a marketing team with dedicated healthcare experience) can prove especially useful here for ensuring that everything is above board. Even without that help, though, things like patient consent that’s given in advance, and even the blurring out of patients who don’t wish to be included, are the best ways to avoid significant fines and reputational damage to boot.
#3: Choosing the Wrong Social Media Treatment
Generally speaking, experts recommend that companies stick to two or three social media platforms. However, with as many as hundreds of social sites to choose from, there’s still plenty of scope for healthcare providers to go wrong here. When that happens, not only will you fail to access the audiences you need, but you could even compromise your standing with your existing patients.
Of course, as is the case in any industry, finding the best platform from which to successfully brand your business most often comes down to who you’re trying to appeal to, with younger audiences generally found across platforms including TikTok and Instagram, while Facebook tends to appeal to a much broader age range. For healthcare providers looking to boost their industry standing within more professional circles, however, it’s also always worth considering more niche, specific social options like Doximity and Sermo. With this in mind, it’s essential to think about where you’re dedicating your efforts right now, how those platforms serve/fail your purposes, and whether there’s realistically an option that’s going to help your cause a little better in the long run.
#4: Keeping Quiet About What You Know
It’s difficult to know what exactly you should be posting on social media in any industry, with most guides recommending things like days in the life, personalized pictures, and so on. However, while all of these still have some value for healthcare providers looking to win patients over, it’s worth noting that a complete failure to share any uploads of medical worth/informative purposes could still damage you in the long run. After all, when push comes to shove, nobody follows their healthcare provider because they want a special insight into their days – we follow our healthcare providers because we want first-hand knowledge of things like current conditions we should be worried about, symptoms to look out for, and so on.
Ultimately, the extent to which information of this nature is shared will depend in some part on the social platform of your choosing, with things like informative, in-depth uploads inevitably going down better on medical-specific communities. However, even if you’re sharing information on Instagram, making sure to post shareable infographics on things like world health updates, prevalent conditions (e.g. hay fever during summer, etc.) and so on is guaranteed to help not only put you in better standing but also get your uploads circulating. This, in turn, can lead to higher follower numbers that see you as a trusted health-based resource, rather than just another profile in a long list.
#5: Letting Your Competitors Infect You
Competition in healthcare has always been a complex matter, with providers who don’t sell any service, as such, continually struggling for ways to differentiate. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts to achieve this goal in other areas through things like unique treatment options, cutting-edge tech, etc., many healthcare providers slip into doing the same as everyone else on social media. Unfortunately, as you will have discovered already, this can make it difficult to see real returns here and could render your efforts wasted if you don’t take immediate action.
In particular, healthcare providers looking to see genuine social results need to focus on creating social content that can’t be easily found elsewhere. In large part, this means doing ample competitor research to ensure that you know precisely what is being offered by healthcare providers nearby. From this starting point, you can work on developing a more unique social offering, which should most often include varied forms of content such as video tutorials, infographics, and so on. That way, you provide yourself with a much-needed edge and ensure that your social profile is never at risk of being lost in the crowd.
A Final Word
As important as it is, getting your head around social media marketing isn’t always easy, especially in an industry like healthcare. Make sure that you’re utilizing these crucial platforms as well as you should be by always avoiding potentially these fatal mistakes.