When you check your newsfeed of your favorite healthcare social media site, there is always one – okay, many – of your friends, family, or co-workers whose updates are annoying enough to make you cringe. It may be posting a picture of every meal they eat or sharing too many cat videos.  It could be a bad joke or (especially this time of year) their political views. As much as you may “like” this person in real life, their actions have probably left you hovering over the unfriend button more than once.

Individuals aren’t the only ones on social media who can be annoying. Hospital brands are right up there. A report from Sprout Social titled, “Turned Off: How Brands Are Annoying Customers on Social,” contains some very interesting insights from a consumer survey centered around this topic. As you may have guessed, there are a number of things brands do to rub their audiences the wrong way. These include posting too many promotions, trying to be funny when they’re not, and not replying to their audience’s messages.

Lack of engagement on the brand’s part is particularly a problem in healthcare. Per Sprout Social, healthcare is ranked number one out of 15 major industries in terms of how engaged consumers are with brands on social media. But, it is ranked number 14 in terms of how responsive the industry as a whole is to consumers. It boils down to this, consumers really want to communicate with healthcare brands and healthcare brands really aren’t responding. There is a huge opportunity for hospitals and other brands in the healthcare industry to separate themselves from the competition through appropriate use of social media.

To more effectively engage with your healthcare social media audience, keep these points in mind:

  • Be Timely: When someone asks a question they expect an answer in a timely manner. In fact, over 40% expect a response within one hour*. While this may not always be possible, efforts should be made to at least acknowledge the question as soon as possible while you are formulating the answer.
  • Be Relevant: This one seems obvious but it is worth stating.  About 41% of consumers have unfollowed a brand because the information posted is not relevant to their lifestyle, health interests, or daily activities. Those who follow your brand expect relevant content and for you to be reflective of who they are. How well do you know your customer profiles?
  • Be Authentic: Your audience has expectations for how your brand should act and communicate. When responding, stay true to your brand values. Don’t be something you aren’t because you think it is “cool” or trendy. Your audience will see through it and may decide you are not worth following anymore. Use a voice that reflects your unique brand and is aligned with your customer base.

There is an immense opportunity out there to engage with your audience, an audience that is hungry for interaction. Making this a social media strategic priority will put you far ahead of your competition. Just try not to annoy them.

Contact Springboard Brand and Creative Strategy for more information about working with hospital brands and social media audience.


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