Technology has helped reshape the health care industry dramatically over the last several years to the point that it’s almost impossible to imagine a world without Google and WebMD. But while Googling your symptoms for a quick – and possibly inaccurate – diagnosis is something we’ve all probably done at least once, social media integration has quickly become the “need-to-know” trend for everyone, from doctors and nurses to administrators and beyond. Below are five of the most common ways patients are interacting with health care organizations on social media. Use this information to help you build a content strategy and put the necessary processes in place to achieve five-star patient satisfaction.

Watching Video

If there’s one thing an advancement in technology – and wireless network speeds – has contributed to our daily lives, it’s an influx of video content and the ease in creating it. Smartphones are capable of capturing high-definition video with the swipe of a finger these days, and the only thing people seem to enjoy more than shooting video is watching it. In 2016, the average adult will spend approximately one hour and eight minutes per day watching digital video. Video helps add drama and impact to any story and can add a needed human element to the story.

Tip: Work with the health care professionals within your organization to create ongoing video series that are filled with quick and easy-to-understand health tips, relevant to the season and their expertise, to share across various platforms.

Checking In

After the standard paperwork has been completed, it’s practically impossible to ensure that each patient is seen without any waiting period. What’s a patient to do? Take a look around a waiting room at any given time and you’re likely to notice many patients ignoring the magazine rack in favor of their smartphone. Apps like Facebook and Instagram give users the ability to check in at locations to alert friends of what’s going on around them. It may seem like “oversharing” to some, but it’s the reality of the world we live in today.

Tip: Make sure to monitor social check-ins across all relevant networks. Not only is it necessary for keeping tabs on online sentiment, but it’s a simple and proactive way to practice good customer service.

Check In vs Review Display
On Facebook, it can be easy to confuse check-ins with online reviews.

Leaving Reviews

While online reviews and check-ins can sometimes be confused on social media, it’s important to remember each one is also unique in its own way. On your Facebook page, for instance, check-ins simply show the popularity of the destination. A review, on the other hand, comes with a rating, and those ratings are crucial to your reputation online. Don’t write off online reviews with the notion that each one was left by a disgruntled patient, since it doesn’t change the fact that the review is now out there for the world to see.

Tip: Acknowledge all reviews – both positive and negative – with a simple thank you or by addressing an issue head on. It’s a gesture of goodwill to show interest and concern in patients’ thoughts, while also giving you the opportunity to show your commitment to total patient satisfaction.

Asking Questions

A clinic may only be open from 9-5 but that doesn’t mean patients’ curiosity is on the same clock. It’s fairly common for people to seek out basic information they are having a difficult time locating online, such as facility hours, the names of providers and the types of ailments treated at particular locations. In some cases people will even ask for recommendations for specific issues or inquire about scheduling an appointment.

Tip: Designate a point person for all of your facilities and give them access to communicate one-on-one with patients and inquiring individuals to help answer questions in a timely manner. If it’s possible for your organization, you can also put steps in place to allow patients to schedule appointments through social media and recommend providers based on information shared.

Seeking Information

Perhaps the simplest – and most important – way patients interact with health care providers on social media is through information seeking. In this day and age, people are hungry for content in all forms online. They want to hear from the providers who make your organization stand out from the competition, and they want to learn simple ways they can improve their lives with easy-to-understand tips and facts. This thirst for education provides new opportunities for you to promote your doctors and specialists, while also raising awareness for various events such as forums, discussions, open houses and even nationally-recognized health weeks.

Tip: Plan your content calendar around the seasons and work with your providers to contribute relevant health tips – in text form or, preferably, on camera – that are simple for patients to digest. Make sure to also participate in relevant holidays, health weeks and trending topics on various social media platforms to provide value in real time to your audience.

While social media trends have been known to shift in the blink of an eye, the five we listed have become ingrained in the user experience and won’t be going away anytime soon. If your organization is struggling to get things headed down the right path, contact SKAR.

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