Three Types of Social Media Content Your Hospital Needs

Over the years, I’ve had many successes and failures with engaging audiences on social media. Through trial and error, I’ve learned that three basic types of social media content (when well-written and accompanied by great photography) always perform well, earning likes, shares and comments galore.

Boost engagement on your social media channels by posting the following types of content:

  • Warm and Fuzzy. People want a hospital that’s friendly and compassionate. Show off your warm and fuzzy side through patient stories and photos, thanking donors or sharing stories from employees. Don’t make these posts about your marketing; keep the focus on the person doing the talking. People love a good story and love to see good things happening at hospitals.
  • Truly Helpful. With the gobs of bad health information on the internet these days, it’s vital for hospitals to share reliable, useful health information. Again, don’t make these posts about you; these posts are about truly helping your patients with a problem they are facing. Maybe you post a blog about how to manage chemo side effects; maybe you share a video of how to properly swaddle a baby. Find out what questions your patients are asking and give them the answers, free of overt advertising.
  • Behind the Scenes. People find the medical field fascinating, even when it is a little gross. Find ways to bring your followers behind the scenes. Share what music your surgeons listen to. Show them what the rods inside a broken arm look like. Explain exactly how small da Vinci robotic tools are and make a video of your surgeon painting someone’s nails with the machine. People want to feel included and like they’ve learned a secret.

This content stands out among the sea of wellness blogs, articles about various studies and announcements about new doctors or certifications. Remember, social media marketing is about writing what people want to hear, not about what you want to tell them.

Write What Your Patients Want to Hear

You do everything right with your blog; you update frequently, you quote doctors, you promote your blogs on every social media channel known to man, but still your traffic is slow. Before you pay for that boosted post, really take a look at your content. Are you writing what your patients want to hear or are you writing what you want to tell them?

Traditional marketing has all revolved around telling people what you want them to know (We have a new doctor! We’re holding an event!), but social media marketing and blogging demands that you create content that people are looking for.

You can find out what your patients might want to hear by doing some quick (and free!) research.

  1. Hop over to Google Analytics and check out which pages are most popular on your website. Write about these topics.
  2. Head to YouTube. Which of your videos are most popular? Which of your competitor’s videos are most popular? What about industry leaders? Make a list of topics related to these frequently searched subjects.
  3. Check your Facebook. What posts do the best?
  4. Ask your followers on social media. Why not crowdsource blog ideas? You’ll have a better understanding of what your followers want to hear about.
  5. Ask your healthcare providers what questions patients ask most often. Your doctors and advanced care providers know best what patients want to know and are confused about. Answer the frequently asked questions your doctors hear.

Also consider writing blogs that are tailored to the audiences of popular programs at your hospital. If you have an autism clinic, write a blog series about parenting children with autism. If you have a robust cancer program, write blogs with tips on how to handle chemotherapy side effects. Let your patients know these blogs are online to help them, and you’ll have an audience from your very own waiting rooms.

Running short on time to write blogs? Tag me in to help with your blog writing needs.

What Your Hospital Can Learn from the HONY Memorial Sloan-Kettering Posts

 If you haven’t seen the beautiful photography and heart-wrenching stories from Memorial Sloan-Kettering on Humans of New York’s Facebook page, do yourself a favor and go check them out now. I’ll wait.

Now that you’ve cleared the tears from your eyes, it’s time to take a look at how your hospital can learn from the success of these posts and find new ways to connect with your patients and community online.

Besides benefiting from HONY’s massive following, these posts succeed because of:

  1. Gorgeous photography. It can’t be said enough. Beautiful, original photography does extremely well online, receiving more likes, views and shares than any other type of post. If you don’t have a lot of photography of your hospital, it’s time to bring a professional in.
  2. Truthful storytelling. Social media marketing is not so much about claims, but stories. The stories of doctors, nurses, administrators and families in HONY’s posts are honest and touching. They seem unedited by a marketing team. Consider letting your hospital show all aspects of care. Sometimes bad things happen. Sometimes treatment is really hard. Don’t shy away from these truths.
  3. Doctor involvement. Your doctors need to be engaged in your marketing, period. Show off their humanity. They aren’t just robots writing prescriptions and removing gallbladders. They got into medicine to help people; tap into this altruism and let it shine.
  4. Short posts. Sure, you can write a 900 word patient story, but a great photograph and a quick paragraph or two can be read quickly and often jumps out at people from their newsfeed. Consider breaking up your patient stories (even those you already have) into easily-digestible posts to boost engagement and promote your services.

Need help writing a patient story or managing your social media? Contact me and let me see what I can do to help!