Creating a Unique Social Voice for Hospital Marketing

Six paths to authentic content and increased engagement

Women are not only the primary decision-makers for healthcare; they’re also more active on social media. Engaging women where they spend their time is crucial to your marketing success. Here are six recommendations for creating a unique and relevant voice on social channels.

  1. Develop a social voice strategy.

Stephanie Schwab, social guru and author, recommends a four-part approach:

  1. Character/persona: These are the traits you want women to associate with your brand.
  2. Tone: List three to five adjectives that describe your ideal voice.
  3. Language: Will your organization embrace medical jargon, current slang or emojis?
  4. Purpose: Why are you on social? To engage? Educate? Inspire?
  1. Be clear about who you are.

Your brand’s social voice should reflect your organization’s mission statement. It should also deliver the three traits women most desire from brands on social: honesty, friendliness and helpfulness. By responding promptly and authentically to positive and negative posts, your hospital can pave the way to stronger and smoother patient relationships.

  1. And remember who you’re not.

A great exercise for guiding your social strategy is writing “We Are/We Are Not” statements. Start with the features you want to be associated with, then curtail them to fit your organization. For example: “We are experts; we are not know-it-alls.” Remember, your goal is to further define your voice, not state its opposite. A dozen such statements will establish strong guidelines for social contributors.

  1. Define ROI in non-monetary terms.

The goal of participating on social is not to increase your income — at least not directly. Nevertheless, your goals should be aspirational and measurable: to deliver reliable information to patients, to build your audience, to open a dialogue with patients or to create an online community for patient interaction. What if your hospital created groups based on specific health topics or issues? There could be immeasurable value in helping like-minded patients connect.

  1. Be proactive about HIPAA.

Often hospitals forgo social participation due to concerns about privacy and security breaches. This valid caution can be overcome by setting and policing clear social media policies. Authorized contributors need to be educated not just about HIPAA, but other issues, such as copyright law, conflict of interest and restrictions on endorsement and medical advice. With firm policies in place, hospitals can move forward with confidence and vigilance.

  1. Emulate those who are doing it well.

Last, look to the organizations succeeding at using unique social voices to reach their female customers. Here are some great examples from various consumer and hospitality industries. Note also the hospitals and healthcare brands leading the way in our category, such as Cleveland Clinic, Orlando Health, Quest Diagnostics and others.

Kathy Selker
I’m Kathy Selker. My work as CEO of Northlich, a Cincinnati-based healthcare marketing agency, has taught me a great deal about how hospitals and health systems can best connect with women to make the most positive impact in their lives.
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