Social media is no longer a choice in healthcare marketing. Whether you’re marketing a hospital, health system, physician practice or health plan, consumer engagement is key to your success.

Yet with constantly changing social media platforms and 24/7 response requirements, managing this important avenue of communication can be overwhelming, leaving many marketing professionals asking one question: “Is the dog wagging the tail or the other way around?”

Our advice: Develop a strategic plan with goals and tactics – and stick to it. Here’s how to get started.

Step 1 - Define Your Goals: What is it you want to achieve with your social media efforts? Are you seeking to drive engagement with health & wellness seminar offerings? Increase community physician practice appointments? Or promote an upcoming event such as a 5K run? The more specific you can be with your goals, the easier it will be to measure and benchmark your success.

Step 2 – Define Your Target Market: Do you have the ability to segment your social media efforts by a specific demographic or service line? If you’re pushing a birthing center, you may want to focus individual campaigns toward young adult women. Another example: promoting your heart-health seminars specifically to seniors. Blanketing your social media platforms with broad messaging will fall flat, so spend the extra time on developing tailored messaging and calls to action for maximum ROI.

Step 3 – Research Your Competition: Take a close look at your top competitors. Identify ways that they are successful with their social media campaigns. And then focus on how you can do better.

Step 4 – Choose Your Strategy and Tactics: Your time is limited, and social media marketing requires consistent monitoring and timely response. Launching too many campaigns simultaneously will overwhelm staff, so focus on one thing at a time and coordinate the platforms you choose to use. To get even more bang for your buck, make sure to integrate your social media tactics with traditional media campaigns whenever possible. For instance, a well-produced radio spot with a 10-second tag can help push listeners to your Facebook or website to further engage with your organization.

Step 5 – Keep It Simple and Memorable: Remember not to over complicate your message. If nothing else, your ultimate goal is to enhance and increase your brand image. That begins with establishing a strong brand platform, so that you speak with one voice regardless of the specific service line or program you are promoting.

Step 6 – Measure and Adapt: The best thing about social media is the ability to constantly tweak and adapt your messaging based on consumer response – and all at a fraction of the cost of traditional media, such as TV and radio. Listen to your consumer audience. Keep a constant pulse on your campaign. Measure success.

For help with creating a great social media strategy for your healthcare facility, contact Wax Custom Communications at 305-350-5700 or visit waxcom.com.

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