Social media is a wonderful way to connect with your potential patients. It builds the like, know, and trust that is so imperative to patient and brand trust. If you search for social media strategies, you’ll find thousands of articles on how to build your platform via regular posts, transparency, and engaging content, but healthcare businesses have several challenges that they face when it comes to HIPAA.

This unique situation opens the door for more opportunities than you think. Here are some of our favorite tried and true social media strategies for healthcare businesses:

Custom Multimedia:

If the human mind can process visuals 60,000 more times faster than text, why aren’t more medical organizations taking advantage of this? The use of photos and videos in your social media strategy will gain up to twice the amount of engagement than a text-only post. Keep in mind that social media platforms also push video and image content to users more often than those without. Videos and images strengthens overall engagement.

Here are some ways to use multimedia in your organization:

  1. Create health and wellness videos that tackle some medical misconceptions. While it may be tempting to talk about money and insurance, most people are more interested in learning about the human body.
  2. Offer expert medical tips on health and wellness.
  3. Have a photo of the week where you highlight a member of your medical team, a clinic, etc.
  4. Highlight patient reviews in a short pitch video.

Real-time responses to patient questions:

A patient typically has two expectations when they contact medical organizations online: friendly and accurate responses. Here are two of the most common patient posts that you’ll face and how you should respond:

  1. Soliciting medical advice: People will almost always ask for medical advice over social media. Keep in mind that an online diagnosis is detrimental to your reputation, but ignoring them can have the same effect. Have several responses in place to respond to these posts. You want to direct them to the appropriate doctor, service group, etc. at your organization. Make sure you provide the contact phone number, hours of operation for that particular clinic, suite, or service group, and a contact person, if possible. This shows that you are both helpful and courteous. In addition, you’ve given your potential patient a call-to-action that drives them to your facility.
  2. Bad service: It is imperative that all complaints about bad service be addressed promptly and respectfully. If you attempt to argue with the patient, it will reflect poorly on your organization. A quick and helpful response will show the patient and all those who have seen the complaint that your patient’s experience is important to your organization.

Here are some quick tips to help you with those response posts:

  • To save time, compile a copy and paste list of contacts that you can use as needed. Technical problems with the site, insurance coordinators, patient advocacy, and POCs for key medical teams should be included.
  • Ensure every response aligns with your medical brand in both tone and accuracy.
  • Create a response matrix of pre-written posts for common problems. It will save time for your social media team if they only have to paste the template response, personalize it to the individual’s comments, and insert the appropriate contact information than it would be to type out every response individually. This also ensures the medical brand voice mentioned above.

Restrictions:

Finally, make sure you use social media with the integrity of your patients and practice in mind. You want to steer clear of these three D’s:

  1. Disclosure: HIPAA violations, revealing trade secrets, sharing intellectual property, and more are dangerous to your business. It can cost your business its reputation and cost you your job. This is why it’s imperative that any online review responses are generic in nature, and not a specific breakdown of the patient’s medical history/record.
  2. Defamation: This should go without saying, but don’t make statements about someone that are false. This could result in legal action and destroy your online reputation.
  3. Discrimination: One offensive tweet or Facebook comment is enough to damage your business. This isn’t the place where you want to go viral on social media. The social web is an amplifier of your voice, and the person who uses their admin privileges to post and comment wears the cloak of your company.  

Your social media strategies are unique to your business and should be laid out in an organization policy. Remember that your staff is also a part of your business brand, so their social media accounts are also an influence on your organization. What strategies have you incorporated into your organization’s brand?