How social media is shaking up hospital marketing

From clinical healthcare to public health campaigns, chief marketing officers are using social media to find meaning in data gathered from social channels to support and engage their patients beyond their health systems' walls. 

Here, three health system marketing leaders share how social media has shaken up the healthcare marketing field.

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.

Amy Stevens. Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Tidelands Health (Murrells Inlet, S.C.). Social media has removed the middleman from our conversations with consumers. In the past, we largely relied on media outlets — whether via paid or earned media — to pass messages to external audiences. Today, we engage directly with consumers via social media and consumers engage us. The result is a vibrant, two-way conversation that allows us to better listen and be more agile. It's the difference in talking "to" someone versus talking "with" someone.

Lori Howley. Executive Director Corporate Communications and Chief Marketing Officer of MelroseWakefield Healthcare (Melrose, Mass.). Social media marketing has forever changed the healthcare marketing landscape by providing the data, means and platforms needed to deliver highly personalized messaging and meaningful content to consumers. It allows you to connect with consumers in real time with content, resources and actionable items that support their needs and interests in alignment with your brand platform. This builds brand trust and consumer satisfaction. 

Delivering the right content, however, is key. Too often, we are eager to tell consumers all that we want them to know — or what we think they need to know -— about us, and the services that we provide.  It is important not to abuse digital data by over communicating or miscommunicating. 

To be successful, we must strike the right balance between informative content and relevant content that creates an emotional connection with consumers; and this is true across all media, including consumer-experience platforms. 

With access to so many digital opportunities, bringing social proof to your marketing can help bolster your efforts, and help to make and grow connections throughout all your platforms. There are always new opportunities with social media marketing, and consumers are showing us the way.

Sandra Mackey. Chief Marketing Officer of Bon Secours Mercy Health (Cincinnati, Ohio). Social media has changed the way our society communicates, and for healthcare marketing, it's no different. Gone are the days when a "hard sell" of services is the preferred method of engaging consumers. Social media platforms have made it easier to understand more about your customers and engage them in meaningful dialogue. Utilizing analytics, we can learn more about the things they're most interested in, allowing us to better identify preferences and deliver upon their needs.

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