For many consumers, the process of seeking healthcare has changed. Hospital admissions are falling as higher insurance rates prompt patients to seek more affordable care outside of hospitals and decrease the demand for elective procedures.
As patients become increasingly savvy about where they receive medical care, it is more important than ever to proactively build relationships with the public through social media.
Here are five social media tips to convert consumers to trusting patients and brand advocates:
1. Pay it forward. Show the public how much you appreciate them by rewarding social media followers. This could include a coupon code for your practice or another local business. Or, it could be as simple as providing valuable content on a regular basis. If you want to go above and beyond, I highly recommend Woobox. This easy to use social media app allows businesses to set up and manage rewards for people who engage with their business Facebook page. This is a huge crowd favorite.
2. Say thank you. People love being acknowledged, so when your business reaches an important milestone, make sure to thank patients for contributing to your success. Milestones may include a five-year anniversary, reaching a certain number of likes on Facebook, or reaching a certain number of new patients over the years.
3. Own up to mistakes. If a patient writes a complaint on your practice’s Facebook wall, don’t delete it. This is an opportunity to let your customer service skills shine. Address the issue head on and publicly show people how dedicated your practice is to creating a positive customer experience. In addition to your own comments, brand advocates will often chime in with positive posts, effectively turning a negative situation into a big win for your business.
4. Provide personalized responses. Don’t be a robot. If a patient posts or sends you a message via social media, it is so important to respond. Develop a voice to your social media posts that is relatable and personable so people feel comfortable interacting with you.
5. Encourage participation. Today’s consumers don’t like being talked at. Rather, use social media channels to engage patients in conversation. For example, rather than just saying that your office is closed for the holidays, ask patients what their plans are. The more dialogue you can generate, the more awareness you are building around your brand.
Practices that put time into building their online presence through social media have the opportunity to build their brand through demonstrating compassion and building conversations around their service. For people who are researching healthcare options online, social media channels may be one of the first steps in the decision-making process.