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3 Steps to a Social Media Content Strategy for Healthcare

Does your healthcare organization (HCO) have a social media content strategy?

Are you wondering what that involves?

I find that there is often a disconnect between social media execution and content strategy in healthcare marketing. In other words healthcare marketers understand the value of social media but they don’t always relate it to content marketing.

Social media is only a vehicle for delivering compelling stories (content) across the social web. Your audience then shares and discusses what is relevant and interesting to them.

Megaphone 3 Steps to a Social Media Content Strategy for Healthcare

Content is the message. Social media is only a tool to amplify your message.

Photo credit: http://bit.ly/10JRkP3

It’s not just about having a Facebook page or Twitter profile. It’s about using those platforms to attract and persuade patients and consumers who can then make decisions that are profitable for your business.

Here’s how to develop a social media content strategy for your HCO:

#1. Content and consumers

The first step is to evaluate your content from a patient or consumer’s perspective. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I want my HCO to be known for? E.g. Chiropratic services
  • What are my patients’ challenges or needs? E.g. Back-pain or back injuries
  • What kind of content format do they typically consume? E.g. blog articles and podcasts
  • How can I create interesting content that will attract them to my website? E.g. Start a blog and a weekly podcast that provides answers and solutions for back injuries; publish twice a week; and share on social media platforms where my target audience hangs out.
  • How will I know that my plan is working? By evaluating or measuring how many new patients I have gained since launching my content strategy

#2.  Patient needs and online behavior

The next step is to understand consumer online behavior and particularly what kind of experiences potential patients are looking for:

  • They hang out on different social media platforms i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ communities, Pinterest etc.
  • They consume and share content that is interesting to them e.g. content about lifestyle, healthcare, work etc.
  • They evaluate brands based on content i.e. As Clayton Christensen author of ‘It’s the Purpose Brand, Stupid’ once said, “People buy products to accomplish something”. A brand’s content needs to explain what that ‘something’ is e.g. comfort, security, self-esteem, self-confidence (remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs)
  • Consumers and patients are connected on social media (where they discuss brands such as yours). Hence they are able to influence one another’s perceptions and buying decisions.

#3. The conversation opportunity

Healthcare organizations that understand consumer social media behavior are able to communicate successfully on social media platforms and thus shape consumer perception of their brands. Here’s how a conversation opportunity might present itself:

  • Research where patients are hanging out online (e.g. Google+ healthcare hangouts or Twitter communities based on conversation hashtags) and join those communities.
  • Establish a listening campaign to figure out who’s doing the talking (influencers) and what’s being said.
  • Consider how you will connect with those influencers. Will you share your own original content with them, retweet their articles, or simply reach out and say hi or ask them questions. Maybe all the above?
  • Remember to share whatever is going on in your offline world with your online community (post pictures and videos).
  • Reach out to other bloggers (guest blogging).
  • Respond quickly to feedback and comments on your blog.

 Quick wrap up

Social media is about giving consumers something interesting to talk about, not just for the sake of conversation but for the sake of growing your business. As a healthcare marketer you have to ask yourself, “What makes my brand so interesting that people will want to talk about it?” Having a content strategy means preparing a compelling message which you can then distribute through various social media channels.

Your turn: Do you have a social media content strategy for your HCO? Which of these tips do you find most or least insightful?

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