Beyond the Buzz: Let’s Get Visual with Healthcare Social Media

February 27, 2015
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beyond the buzz

beyond the buzz

I recently published an article on the key trends to watch in social media and their relevance to healthcare marketing in 2015. The continuing growth of visual platforms, such as Pinterest and Instagram, confirm that incorporating visual content into your social media strategy is a must. Not only do these platforms drive more traffic and shares, research has shown that tweets and Facebook posts with images encourage more engagement. 

Source: Hubspot 

visual content healthcare social media

21 Ways To Capitalize On Visuals in Healthcare

1. Use images with a Creative Commons license

Don’t be tempted to use an image you have sourced from a Google search unless the image is licensed “Creative Commons”. A random image search on Google will usually result in images that are copyrighted and not free to use. Instead search the Creative Commons section of Flickr for an appropriate image. Using a tool like Compfight, a free Flickr search tool, will makes image sourcing easier.

2. Use stock images sparingly

Another option is to purchase a royalty free image from a stock image source like Shutterstock.  Be mindful that this may result in you purchasing an over-used “cheesy” image, so use this option sparingly.

3. Create your own images 

Finding the right image can sometimes be challenging, so why not create your own?  There are many free tools available to help you such as Canva and PicMonkey.

4. Build up a photo library

Use your own photographs to build up a library of images you can use freely. Images of people are the most memorable but do make sure you have their permission to use their picture. Showcase your product in action. 

5. Add relevant images to blog posts

Add an image to every single blog post you write. Use images to break up the tedium of text; images make it more likely your reader will read to the end of your blog post.

6. Optimize your images for Google search

Optimize your images for Google search by writing an image caption and adding relevant keywords to the file names that describe the content of the image.

7. Add text to your images

Adding text to your image helps personalize your message and makes it stand out. You can effortlessly add text with Canva or PicMonkey (two of my favorite image tools).

8. Use screenshots to explain a concept 

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Get creative with your screenshots by using a tool like Awesome Screenshot which allows you to speedily add graphic elements right there in the tool. 

9. Turn your screenshots into video

Using a tool like Screencastify you can turn your screenshots into video tutorials which you can upload to YouTube. 

10. Add your presentations to SlideShare

Turn your presentations into shareable slide-decks using SlideShare. Make sure you enhance your presentation with visually striking images. 

11. Create infographics

Infographics are great tools for healthcare providers to present complex information, educate patients, and brand and market a healthcare service in a creative and visually attractive way (the Cleveland Clinic makes great use of infographics).  In terms of social media marketing, they are an effective way of spreading information (the “viral” process) across multiple social networking sites.  If you are serious about using infographics to inform and educate your patients or market your brand, it’s best to hire a specialist infographic designer. But, if you just want to have some fun and test your design skills, there are several free tools available to help you do so. Piktochart is a good tool to start with. 

12. Make a meme

A meme is an image, video, or piece of text, typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users, often with slight variations. You can make your own meme with www.mememaker.net. However do use with caution, as humor in healthcare can be misconstrued. 

13. Visualize your data 

Use a tool like Visual.ly to create impressive graphics to share. Check out this stunning data visualization of Health Datapalooza by Symplur. 

14. Create visual word clouds

Wordle is a great tool for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. 

15. Set up a Pinterest account

If you haven’t yet dipped your toe into Pinterest waters, take some time to explore the creative ways it is currently used by NGOs, hospitals, healthcare professionals and pharma.  Creating boards of interest that highlight your knowledge allows you to build a personal brand and company people can relate to.

16. Create “pinnable” images

Pinterest is an effective way to share your blog posts with a wider audience, so make sure your blog images are easy to “pin” to Pinterest. Even if you aren’t active on Pinterest yourself, many people who read your blog are, and may pin your blog post to one of their Pinterest boards.

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17. Promote your medical practice with Instagram

Instagram is a good way to promote your medical practice and create community through using photos and videos. Instagram post engagement is up 416% over the last two years.  Use Instagram to share photos of your conferences and events. Host photo contests (for example ask people to post their pictures of healthy eating); use a hashtag to link the images.  Check out http://instagram.com/AdvocateHealth for an example of a healthcare brand on Instagram.

18. Add an impactful cover image to your Twitter, Facebook and Google+ accounts

Make your profile stand out with an impactful image that humanizes your brand, shows your passion for what you do, or showcases your product in an eye-catching way. Canva is a great tool for creating cover photos. 

19. Use the recommended sizes for Twitter and Facebook images

When adding images to Twitter and Facebook, familiarize yourself with the recommended sizes. I find the Social Image Resizer Tool is invaluable for this. It lets you upload your own photos and resize them to set sizes for Facebook, Twitter and Google+, as well as custom sizes and common icon and avatar sizes.

20. Try Twitter video

Twitter has just released a new video feature for its mobile app with the ability to share up to 30 seconds of video (Vine videos are capped at a maximum of six seconds each) – long enough to convey a significant message but short enough to be viewed quickly. Learn more at https://about.twitter.com/videos-on-twitter

21. Curate content on a visual sharing platform

Rebelmouse is a content curation platform with a visually appealing interface. It’s an attractive way to showcase your interests. You could also try paper.li and scoop.it.

Creating compelling visual content can be a powerful way to connect with your audience.  People connect more emotionally with images than text, and in an increasingly crowded digital landscape, when our minds are attracted more readily to content that draws our eye, images can break through the online content clutter to quickly communicate key healthcare messages.