Insights on Healthcare Marketing

Social Media: How Do You Measure Up?

From Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn to YouTube, social media has become the marketing darling with more and more companies establishing their presence on these sites whether it be for brand building, providing basic location information, enhancing patient/customer support, promoting an event or connecting with patients and referring physicians in a new way. But how do you know if it is working for you? Measuring success means more than just generating “buzz” and measuring traffic. When you are ready to venture into the social media world, know specifically what you want to achieve and then before you jump in, be sure you have a plan for how you will measure those results.

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Dare to Delight

In the world of healthcare, too much is the same.  The experience at one medical office is too often the same as at another.  And among those experiences, there are certainly too many negative ones. Problem is, thanks to today’s technology, these negative stories are instantly amplified on social media sites and the Web.  The good news:  standing out from the pack and generating good “buzz” doesn’t have to cost a ton of time or resources.  It is often the little things that can separate you and get folks talking: 

Smile.

Engage.

Answer the phone cheerfully. 

Return calls promptly.

Write a heartfelt thank you. 

Remember a tidbit about someone’s life or family and ask them about it.

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A Confidence Booster: Healthcare Away From Home

I am spending the holidays at my farm in Wisconsin.  The second day here, I broke out in an itchy rash unrelieved by Benadryl.  Fortunately, I was able to make an appointment as a new patient with a primary care practice in our little town.  Yes, I had to fill out the paperwork of 2010.  Yes, everything was done on computer rather than a paper chart. Happily, it was a wonderful appointment with caring, interest, discussion and engagement.  All in all, a great doctor's visit that helped me while traveling and also boosted my confidence that healthcare delivery is NOT going down the tubes.

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The Season of Giving

Tis the season of giving.  I would argue, however, that “giving” is always in season. To me, it is simply a part of living in and building community. Giving is easy to do, and the gift doesn’t always have to be large to make a big impact.  Support your local food bank, invest in a school health program, deliver refreshments to a nursing home, contribute to your local cancer center, donate to an arts organization you believe in. You WILL brighten someone’s day (and yours as well, I bet.).   Some of the causes near and dear to my heart:

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Everybody’s Doing It

So many people and businesses jump into social media because it is the latest craze.    However, like most things, that is NOT a reason to do it.  There are however, many valid reasons: 

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Social Media: Commit, Invite, Engage

Ready to incorporate social media into your marketing?  A few tips: 

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Social Media: Think Before You Leap

Seems everywhere you turn today, you read or hear about social media.  For healthcare organizations, social media can be a great tactic to help build and strengthen your base.  However, like any tactic, it is not the “end all be all.”  It comes with its own set of unique challenges. And if not done properly, it can turn into wasted resources or even backfire on you.  Like any new marketing vehicle, we recommend that you think through how social media will fit into your overall marketing plan (meaning it should be just one tactic of many) before you dive in. And remember … the power of social media is in its ability to engage in conversation and build interest and loyalty at a grassroots level.

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Give Back

I am a big believer in giving – whether it be your time, talents or financial resources.  To me, it is a responsibility … a part of community.  So when our clients turn to us to find out how they can better reach the communities they serve, we always recommend giving back to one or two local non-profits, often focused on healthcare, always with missions that inspire them.  However, just giving isn’t enough … you need to make it personal.  Write a thoughtful note or letter to accompany your contribution. Send a photo.  Drop it off personally. Create a memory for the receiving charity, and they, in turn, will remember you.

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Hitting the Mark

Those who are new to marketing (and even some who aren’t) often want to jump in with a pie-in-the-sky approach.  They want an ad in the major local newspaper, a billboard, a drive-time radio blitz, a seminar series or a television commercial.  While these mediums all have a place and purpose in the world of marketing, they also come with high price tags and often are not the best approach for a small business or medical office, especially one with a limited budget just starting out.  You want results. Or as one of my favorite marketing leaders, Seth Godin, emphasizes, you need to build your “tribe.”  Some of the best ways to do that?

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Making the Rounds

So you are new to your community or perhaps you have recently brought on an associate or partner who is.  How do you get the word out and expand your network?  Letters and announcement cards are always great, but almost everybody does them.  Yet, very few new physicians take the time (which they often have in the beginning) to truly reach out.  Visit your neighbors and top referring physicians.  Stop by the hospital and visit the administrative offices, the ER, the Nursing Director.  Let them know who you are, what you hope to achieve and how you are excited to be a part of their community.  Be sure to make it a two-way conversation.

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