The past few years for any business owner have been a challenge. Simply keeping the doors open, even if that has been virtually, has taken creativity and a lot of sleepless nights for healthcare business owners.
One of the tools that has increased its presence within the marketing plans and branding efforts of all types of businesses has been social media. It was important before everyone was locked away at home but it became the lifeblood keeping businesses viable when the world was kept behind closed doors for months. It is an inexpensive way to put your business in front of your current patients/clients so they don’t forget you, as well as an effective way to attract new patients. It takes consistency and imagination and it works.
Everyone has learned a great deal about how to use social media to market a business in the 21st century. A business’s presence in the world of social interaction is critical in attracting and solidifying customer loyalty. Plus, Google is ranking websites in ways that reflect a business’s social media presence, including reviews. Hopefully, your digital marketing plan also includes consistent, professional local SEO efforts to help move your site up closer to the top of consumer search results.
One of the components of knowing how to incorporate SEO and social media is how many social media platforms there are and which ones are best for your healthcare business. Who is interacting with which sites and are they potential clients for you? Gaining that knowledge leads to another component: Managing it all. This takes a daily juggling act to keep track of it in a way that is efficient, creative, and productive.
The next step for any healthcare business going into 2022 is finding a way to automate social media interactions. This puts the owner and key personnel back in control of their time so their focus can remain on patient and client care. If your business hasn’t taken this leap yet, identifying the resources that work for you in this way is a vital step into the future.
Before we get to some examples of social media automation tools, let’s examine this topic in the framework of compliance with healthcare privacy concerns.
Social Media and Healthcare Privacy: By The Numbers
The issue is to ensure social media compliance to protect patient confidentiality, especially when dealing with any specific patient-related content. Social media automation platforms must integrate across social channels and also be alerted to unauthorized changes on a platform. The system used must be ready to lock down quickly when needed to adjust for compliance. There has to be a mechanism to move a patient offline when discussing personal health issues and concerns.
Digital media has also changed the concept of medical expertise. It is no longer viewed as one authoritative voice but as a network of innumerable sites, with blogs, videos, podcasts, and streaming information sources. In the midst of all this, the goal of any healthcare provider, large or small, is to be at the helm of a social media platform that ultimately brings in new clients. HIPAA rules state that “Social media channels can be used for posting health tips, details of events, new medical research, bios of staff, and for marketing messages, provided no PHI is included in the posts.” As this shows, the use of social media in healthcare is allowed within these parameters.
Spectrum Health, for example, uses a social media automation platform that allows integration of several sites to:
- Respond to inquiries within the required 24 hours.
- Remain compliant with HIPAA regulations.
- Engage in social conversations to dispel health rumors and share trusted knowledge.
- Integrates HIPAA compliance and security monitoring across every social channel for 12 hospitals.
If these criteria are met with intention and consistency, potential clients and patients seem to trust social media as a part of the current technological landscape, i.e.:
- Consumers are more likely to trust social media posts and activity by doctors (60%) over any other group. This is followed by nurses (56%), and hospitals (55%).
- The Mayo Clinic’s podcast listeners rose by 76,000 after the clinic started using social media.
- 35% of adults report going online to begin self-diagnosing for themself or someone else before contacting a doctor.
- Younger patients usually Google their symptoms first and then seek out a doctor; older patients tend to seek out medical information from doctors first and then complete their research online.
- 30% of internet users have read and considered online reviews or rankings of healthcare services or treatments.
The message is clear: As long as the healthcare community plays by the rules set out by HIPAA, the use of social media is allowable and touches a responsive chord with the public.
If you are thinking about implementing social media automation to save time on your marketing efforts, it is beneficial to compare some of the platforms available first. Take a look at a few with your marketing team and then decide if it’s something you want to keep in-house or get expert help with. (My KPI can help!)
Social Media Automation Platforms to Consider
There are dozens available. It is important to pinpoint one that meets your needs for the effective use of time, energy, and money available to you. So, here are 8 of the top platforms to start with as you try to identify the one best for your healthcare business:
The 8 Top Social Media Management Software, 2021
- Best Overall: Sprout Social.
- Best for Small Teams: SocialPilot.
- Best Budget Option: Buffer.
- Best All-in-One Tool: Zoho.
- Best for Automation: MeetEdgar.
- Best for Large Team Collaboration: Loomly.
- Best Integration: Sendible.
- Best for Analytics: Hootsuite.
When looking for a social media automation platform, keep in mind that analytics and engagement reports, which provide vital information to your healthcare practice, are a must-have functionality.
MY KPI And Social Media Automation
Many business owners are looking to 2022 for a full return to normalcy. It will take a strong team to take charge of your social media marketing efforts while you take care of patients and clients.