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3 Intangible Returns Healthcare Businesses Get From Social Media

As a healthcare marketer, my job is to evaluate the latest marketing trends and implement them into my overall marketing strategy. In today’s world, social media happens to be one of the most prevalent ways marketers are communicating. Whether it’s posting a photo on your story or live tweeting, social media is a great way to stay connected with consumers. However, one of the most common questions that marketers are asked every day is: what do we get in return for social media? In other words, is there a return on investment

Although it is one of the most common questions asked, marketers often freeze when they hear it. In fact, according to Meltwater, “only 35% of marketers said that understanding the ROI of their campaigns is “Very Important” or “Extremely Important.” Are you shocked? I was too! Well, if there is anything I want you to take away from this post, it’s these three powerful intangible returns that brands and businesses do get from social media:

  1. Brand Awareness. With such a wide variety of social platforms available, posting on social media will give your brand visibility, increasing overall brand awareness. By increasing brand awareness, consumers will be more likely to recall or remember your business when they are in the first step of the marketing funnel moving towards consideration. For example, if a hospital has a clear and consistent brand image (i.e. brand colors, logo or slogan), and they regularly represent their brand via social media, their audience will easily be able to recognize the brand. Here is an example of a post from HCA Healthcare, a healthcare system with a clear brand image depicted through social media:

  1. Brand Engagement. The best part about social media is that it allows brands and businesses to directly interact with their consumers. By the click of a “comment” or “share”, hospitals are able to engage with their target audience, increasing the chances of moving them through the funnel towards action. For example, many hospitals host Facebook Live Q&As where they give their community the chance to ask doctors specific health-related questions. Westside Regional, a local hospital in Plantation, FL, increases their brand engagement by hosting a weekly virtual lunch and learn, where patients can find out more about some of their health concerns. Here is one of their live sessions, which reached 5K people, garnered 2.4K views, 11 comments and 20 shares:

  1. Brand Trust. Last but certainly not least, actively posting on social media can give hospitals the chance to earn their consumers’ trust. Most of the time, consumers are simply looking for a way to connect or resonate with a brand before taking action. They want to know that the brand is there for them. By posting patient testimonials and using the Facebook Live feature, hospitals are able to humanize their brand and show empathy, hence, increasing the chances of gaining their patient’s trust. For example, let’s say a woman is afraid to go get a mammogram, however, she knows she needs to for preventative measures. Wouldn’t watching the video below, coming from another human her same age, help her overcome her fears and trust in the hospital who cared for this patient?

Although these three returns are less tangible than most returns in the short term, they have the capacity to become powerful in the long term. So, if someone ever asks you about how social media is an investment, tell them about how it increases brand awareness, engagement and overall trust. Hey, you’re already one step ahead of 65% of marketers!
Did you enjoy this post? Learn more about what a customer journey is and how it applies to healthcare in my last post.

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