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Online Social Media: Five Strategies That Can Help Healthcare Providers

social mediaA strong presence with online social media can help healthcare business and health care practitioners improve their visibility on the web. More and more, it’s becoming essential for hospitals and health providers to reconsider their marketing strategies and start mixing social media into the equation.

To help understand the possible applications, consider these five examples of how the social web can work for hospitals and others in the healthcare industry:

  • Share Information with Patients
: With the magnitude of health information available on the web – both accurate and inaccurate – it’s likely that patients can easily be misinformed. By integrating social media into your healthcare marketing strategy, organizations can share accurate, timely information regarding symptoms, diseases, medications, treatments and more.
  • Live Procedures Tweeting: 
Social media channels have helped open an area of healthcare that was, until recently, available to a select few: the operating room. Last February, Henry Ford Hospital became one of the first hospitals to use tweet a live procedure from an operating room. Doctors, medical students and curious non-medical personnel followed along as surgeons posted short updates on a kidney surgery to remove a cancerous tumor.
  • Appeal to Mainstream Media: 
Reporters have become tech savvy. Seventy percent of journalists use social networks to assist reporting, compared with 41 percent the year before. With numbers that high, it only makes sense for healthcare marketers to leverage social media channels in order to achieve coverage by both mainstream media and industry publications. As part of healthcare marketing efforts, organizations can use social media channels – including blogs, forums and microblogs – to share success stories from out-of-the-ordinary operations or treatments, medical research or other significant achievements.
  • Communicate during Times of Crisis: 
Whether it be a flood, an earthquake or a mass shooting, hospitals and healthcare providers are at the center of it all when a disaster strikes. Healthcare providers can use social media networks to provide real-time updates both for those directly affected by the crisis and those watching from afar.
  • Train Medical Personnel to Tweet: 
Some healthcare organizations have begun leveraging social media channels to complement training efforts. The Mayo Clinic, for example, incorporated social media into a recent training presentation for local chapters of the American Heart Association. During the presentation, participants were encouraged to contribute to the discussion using the #AHAchat hashtag

The truth is the numbers: online marketing is crucial and social media can help lift your business through the rankings in Google searches. A study by iCrossing and Opinion Research Corporation, “How America Searches: Health & Wellness,” discovered 34 percent of consumers use social media to search for health information and 36 percent what to see what other consumers say about medication or treatment. The study also found 67 percent use online search engines to find healthcare services.

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Seven Fun Facts About Social Media

When we blog about social media, we’re mostly talking about its growing influence on marketing and B2B relations – but websites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are showing a growing Facebookinfluence over our daily lives, too.

Have you ever wondered who else is using social media?  Who else is online while you’re on?  How many people around the world are members?  Check out these statistics.

  1. According to the Social Media Examiner, there are currently over 800 million people using Facebook as active members.  One-quarter – about 200 million – joined in 2011.
  2. The average Facebook user has about 130 friends.
  3. According to a survey by Mashable, 57% of users “like” a brand because they want to receive discounts and promotions.
  4. 20% of marketers claim to have closed a deal using Twitter, according to a report from AllTwitter.
  5. Twitter has over 100 million active members (members who log in at least once per month).  Half of those log in daily.
  6. 32% of users will retweet for an offered incentive.  92% will retweet interesting content.
  7. 40% of Twitter users don’t actually tweet!  These users simply check their timelines to check out what their friends are up to.

Three Unique Holiday Internet Marketing Ideas

You and your clients may be relaxing and winding down a bit during the holiday season, but there are plenty of ways you can take advantage of the festivities to boost your SEO campaign.  Holiday MarketingHere are some unique tips from an internet marketing agency to help out your holiday SEO efforts and make your customers smile.

1.  Change your homepage to a holiday theme.  Putting a holiday message on your homepage brightens the website and gives people something new to look at – as well as a reason to tell their friends to check out your site.  If your company sells a product or service that people buy more of during the holidays, putting a holiday homepage up early will help customers remember to do their holiday shopping while browsing your site.

2.  Offer a promotion or holiday deal with an email blast.  Send out an email blast offering a special holiday deal.  A discount or freebie will make your clients more likely to stop by your page for their holiday needs.

3.  Put out a holiday contest on your social media accounts.  Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are great for setting up contests – which are one of the best ways to attract clients to your web pages.  Consider a raffle or a slogan competition that will engage your customers and put them in the holiday spirit.  You can spread the word about the contest in an email or with a link on your company’s home page.

Best Times of the Day to Post on Twitter and Facebook

There’s a science behind using social media effectively.  Social media users are more likely to be on social media websites at different times of the day, and given that the United States is spreadTwitter and Facebook timing out over five time zones there’s an enormous variation in what times of the day users will be on.  If your campaign is aimed at local users within your time zone, it’s easy to take social media timing into account to maximize the benefit of your Twitter and Facebook posts.

When should I post on Facebook?
The greatest amount of Facebook sharing happens over the weekend, with twice as much posting on Saturday as on Sunday.  Share your new posts on a Saturday if possible.   During the day, most sharing occurs around noon and around 7pm.  Don’t post more than two to three times per week – any more than that and your followers will get sick of your constant updates and may leave your page.

When should I tweet?
Most people are checking Twitter during the middle of the week and on the weekends.  Aim to tweet around Wednesday or Saturday.  Hourly, most users are online tweeting and checking other users’ tweets at noon and around 6pm.  Additionally, most retweets occur at about 5pm – so tweeting at noon has the additional benefit of setting your tweets up to be retweeted during the evening Twitter rush.