Time is short for everyone working in a healthcare setting so adding in a social media initiative can often feel like just another burden for an overstretched workforce. Far from being a distraction from the day job, starting to interact on social media as an organisation can form a useful part of your everyday working lives. And it’s not off-limits in the healthcare profession. Finding new ways to support clients who are worried about their health and providing education about healthier lifestyles are pressing priorities. Social media can help you reach your target audience on their digital gadgets as they check in every day for all their usual Twitter and Facebook updates.
1. Your corporate content
Strategies for social media in healthcare settings need to include a fresh approach. Focus on inspiring, educating, and reassuring followers while taking care to keep within the well understood boundaries that are so important to the profession. Your public relations, legal and digital teams can lead the way on this front. And you can still point people to the content you’ve spent a long time putting together for your website, journals and existing clients. Turn articles into conversations and seek feedback through social media platforms.
2. Your staff and their stories
Given the delicate nature of health matters, the need to avoid conflicts of interest or breaches of patient confidentiality, concern about staff usage of social media platforms is understandable. The good news is that many large organisations within the healthcare sector have already taken the first steps. You can learn from their approach and adapt it for your colleagues. The NHS social media policy is a great starter for ten. You’ll no doubt spot parallels and elements that are relevant to your own organisation. The standards you’ll expect from your team on social media are very much the same as you’d expect from them with clients at the clinic, at reception with suppliers or at a conference in front of key influencers. Online they can be your ambassadors, build credibility and gather learnings for your organisation.
3. Your clients speaking for themselves
Whether your organisation plays a part in saving lives, supporting people in staying well or providing the tools and basics essential to good healthcare, your clients have some amazing stories to tell about the difference you’ve made. By observing patient confidentiality and protecting the rights of those sharing their experiences, it is possible to include client content to bring your social media accounts to life.
4. Inject hope and ambition by showcasing new health studies
Encourage your in-house experts to join live chats and find out what is happening in their specialist fields. Let them help you to curate valuable content for the benefit of your clients. Show that you are at the cutting edge, taking an interest and influencing the future of healthcare.
5. Provide commentary on heath stories hitting the headlines
Work with your public relations team and media centre to be on the lookout for stories that will be of concern to your clients and your sector as a whole. Consider how you can use social media to help your clients make sense of developments. Taking care around associations with suppliers and your intermediaries, make your stance clear and invite Q&A where appropriate. Repost the content of trusted experts to provide additional background.
The publication of content via social media platforms by healthcare organisations is business as usual for many healthcare organisations, but if you’re still weighing up the pros and cons, focus on how you can gain from the likes of Twitter whilst managing the risks up front – rather than missing out on the benefits this powerful medium brings.