Back to Basics: Creating Patient Loyalty through Social Media

Incorporating a Social Media strategy into an organization, be it healthcare or other various industry, can be puzzling.  Questions ranging from, “What’s the point?” to “Are we even doing this right?” are bound to arise.  Everyone begins their Social Media adventure with a different level of knowledge and expertise.  For many healthcare organizations, we find this level is quite basic due to lack of exposure.  With that said, Carrie Vaughn recent published an informative article in HealthLeaders touching on the basics strategies needed for building patient loyalty.

Social Media sites are not meant for simply posting information or advice, but rather to build connections.  “To really build loyalty- and possibly even grow marketing share- hospitals need to engage consumers in two-way conversations.  Photographs, contests, and links to interesting stories can be a great way to get those conversations started,” Carrie Vaughn reported.

To get the full potential out of a Social Media site, it should:

  • Incorporate humor:  Try to put a little humor behind the serious topics.  Most somber topics are usually spoken with a heavier tone, which could in turn drive followers away if this is the only voice used.
  • Integrate your Social Media channels: Connecting your organizations’ media sites together will allow followers to navigate through the various Social Media offerings.
  • Keep the budget simple:  An organization needs to create a budget for any contest they are looking to hold.  Prizes will attract participation, but should not be too extravagant because this could bring about too much competition; finding a medium between engaging and overkill is the key.
  • Tie Social Media to services lines:  Social Media should be tied to something the organization is trying to promote.  Establishing the purpose for integrating a Social Media channel is crucial for buy in and motivation.

“We are no longer talking to the community, but talking with them, connecting to them and helping [the community] to connect with us on a personal level,” Michelle Kustra, marketing coordinator at Sherman Health in Illinois stated.


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