Healthcare & Social Media: A Perfect Match?

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You might not immediately think of healthcare and social media working together. And to some extent, it’s true that they don’t always work together. Healthcare marketing is quite unique and comes with its own set of challenges like sensitive subjects and tight advertising regulations. So what are the pros and cons of social media for healthcare campaigns?

The health (and marketing) benefits

We’re all aware of how successful social media marketing can be. With carefully placed ads, beautiful creative and well-crafted messaging and targeting, campaigns can reach a huge number of people and make a real difference.

If you apply that to healthcare, the difference you can make with a well-planned social media campaign is even bigger.

You can educate. Despite our huge appetite for content, there’s still things that we just don’t know enough about. Social media is a great way of getting valuable information to your target audience that could not only educate them on a particular subject, but help them improve their health and make informed health-related decisions, like our HIV and Hepatitis campaign for NHS Lanarkshire.

You can change behaviour. Convincing people to do something is particularly difficult. Charities find it hard enough to convince people to part with their money so imagine how difficult it is to get someone to part with their blood? The NHS Missing Type campaign aimed to reverse the downward trend in new blood donors and help replace the more than 200,000 donors that were no longer able to donate.

You can raise money. Everyone remember the ice bucket challenge? Most of us probably took part, or at least watched our social media overflow with people who did. Several individuals have been credited with creating the challenge, which involved pouring a bucket of ice water over your head, posting the video online and donating to the ALS Association or Motor Neurone Disease Association. In 2014, the campaign went viral in a matter of hours. At the peak of the campaign, there were more than 70,000 tweets PER DAY about the Ice Bucket Challenge. Within a 4-week period, the ALS Association received $41.8 million in donations from new donors– double the yearly donation amount from 2013. And as a result of the money raised, in 2016 it was discovered that a third gene was responsible for the disease.

Getting the message out. Find out more about our social media marketing expertise.

The side-effects

While the benefits of healthcare marketing done well are great, there are also a few hurdles to overcome.

A conservative industry. Healthcare marketing, especially in the UK, is very heavily regulated. There’s also the industry of healthcare itself to consider. It tends to be more conservative in nature (also because of regulation) and the importance of patient confidentiality can make mining the data from this industry difficult. Complex audiences mean that campaigns need expert steering when it comes to targeting and finding the ‘online hangouts’ for a particular group of people. However, with digital taking over every part of our lives, successful marketing campaigns are far more attainable when done right.

Stakeholders. Aside from running a campaign which will benefit the target audience, healthcare clients tend to come with larger numbers of stakeholders with individual priorities. Stakeholder involvement in healthcare campaigns is essential to ensure the messaging and facts are correct, which means planning well in advance is critical to the success of a campaign.

Following the rules. Depending on the nature of your campaign, it can be incredibly difficult to get messaging and creative just right. If your campaign focuses on sexual health, for example, you’re going to have to understand exactly what you can (and can’t!) say on various digital platforms. They all have their own rules on what is considered explicit and when you add that on to algorithms that can’t always understand the nuance involved in marketing messages, and you can see why it’s complicated!

The cure

Getting expert advice on healthcare marketing campaigns is essential for targeting the right audiences in a variety of ways, especially when looking at social media. From creative assets to messaging, setup and management, Elastic can help you reap the benefits from your campaigns. If you’d like to find out more about our digital marketing offering, get in touch today.

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