Social media is often used in marketing and advertising efforts by business large and small, but healthcare providers have to position themselves somewhat differently than a typical business. Healthcare providers should aim for branding and value-based communication in their social media and they should always stick to their modus operandi: promoting a healthy community.
Healthcare – The Business.
The healthcare industry operates much like any other industry. They seek to make a profit, healthcare providers differentiate themselves from one another, and many within the industry advertise. Even if two clinics have identical human capital resources, it’s common to see totally different advertising, branding, and positioning strategies.
Social media services a great tool to help healthcare businesses differentiate themselves from their competitors. Social media and the audience that a business has are a unique reflection of the content that the business puts out and the customers that it serves. Building up that segmented audience through your social media is a long process, but completely worth it when you reach a point at which you can use that audience in a relevant business objective.
Healthcare – The Content.
Social media is first and foremost a communication tool. The healthcare industry should focus on reaching out to their patients and community with the goal of improving the daily lives and health of those that they reach; the corresponding engagement will increase organizational visibility.
From a branding angle, the healthcare industry could focus on anything under the healthcare niche. Cause-based fundraising would be an obvious choice; promoting a healthier community and building a positive public image would benefit the healthcare provider in both PR and reputation.
Social proof or social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions and reviews of their peer groupare more trustworthy than the actions and reviews of a business entity. It makes sense when you really think about it, people trust each other as consumers when compared to the business entity seeking to make a profit.
A form of social proof used by many healthcare providers that’s as old as the industry itselfis word of mouth advertising from previous patients. Social media is essentially social proof in action. The larger the social media following and the greater the number of positive reviews that a healthcare provider has, the better.