Thursday, January 27, 2011

Patient Experience in a Healthcare Social Media Marketing Campaign

In a previous post, I explained how Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital in Michigan has created a whole new level on which to compete by focusing on the patient experience. Here, I'll show you how that focus creates a goldmine of social media-friendly content that is fuel for a successful healthcare marketing campaign online. And how you can create a similar campaign at your hospital.

Henry Ford has tons of social media-friendly content. The uniquely beautiful facility the events it hosts as well as the heartwarming patient experiences they create every day yield an abundance of photo, video, live tweet and other content that are easily shared across social networks.

For example, the upcoming wedding that will be held at the hospital will surely yield many photos that are so unique, people may be inclined to share them with their social networks ("Check this out...these people got married at a hospital -- isn't that wild?!"). A hospital can help the process along by posting photos (after getting the appropriate permissions) on its Facebook page. Then send a simple tweet with a creative hashtag that links to either the photos on the hospital's website. By the way, the website landing page should also include information on how to book a wedding or other event at the hospital.

Okay, so maybe your hospital won't be hosting any weddings any time soon. That's ok, you still have plenty of opportunities.

Your goal should be to make people feel included in whatever is going on at your hospital. You want your hospital to feel familiar and comfortable to people. You accomplish this by helping people to visualize your hospital in friendly and comfortable light, perhaps not how they may normally see it. When they think of your hospital now, they probably think of a crowded emergency room and sick people shuffling through dimly lit halls (we know that's not accurate, but that's what people imagine, hence the challenge here). So if you show your hospital the way it really is as well as the friendly people who work there, you can change that perception. Also, allowing people to see things before they check in helps to reduce anxiety.

Here are just a few ideas to integrate "the patient experience" in your marketing campaign:
  • Give them behind the scenes look at operations or events.
  • Show them community benefit events such as health fairs, car seat checks, immunization clinics, whatever. Show them that your hospital is not just a place where you go when you get sick, but it is also a partner in your community's health. As a bonus, if you do this in real time using Twitter, you may also see increased event attendance. Even better, promote the event in advance by showing setup preparations and detailed information on what the event covers.
  • Interview doctors, nurses, staff a patient is likely to meet during his/her stay or other interesting people.
  • Show a day in the life of the emergency room, cath lab, L&D, or whatever service you'd like to grow (or that you have a public perception problem with). This will be tricky, especially because you'll need to keep your video under 3 minutes and you'll probably have to blur a lot of patient faces. Also read our 5 tips for using video in healthcare marketing.
  • Illustrate some of the things you do different from other hospitals. If you have a concierge service, do a quick video showing how it works. If you meet surgical patients at the door when they arrive, show that.
However you decide to do it, using the patient experience in your online marketing campaign is a great way to help people see your hospital in a new light. It is the best way to get your message to travel across social networks and to help people connect with your services and programs.

1 comment:

  1. This proves social media is only limited by imagination! This is a great approach for healthcare.