COVID-19 Update: Five Things Healthcare Marketing Teams Should Be Doing Right Now
Around the world, healthcare organizations have shouldered the brunt of the COVID-19 virus. Marketing teams at hospitals and other healthcare organizations are scrambling to understand the impact. Other than constant crisis communication on the website, “what else should we be thinking about?” They wonder.
In the midst of this challenging uncertainty and continued need for communication, your online visibility probably isn’t top of mind — rightfully so…Nevertheless, communication is key to your healthcare brand management strategy and Google My Business, Yelp and Facebook should be an important part of your communication plan. You need to make your patients aware of any changes in operations — locations temporarily closing, reduced hours, extended wait times, etc.
Below are five local listing management tactics you can use to bolster brand management and communication for your healthcare organization:
Change business hours across all of your local listings.
If hours of operation are affected by COVID-19, it’s important that you update your local listings on sites like Google, Yelp and Facebook to reflect the changes so patients don’t visit while you’re closed and become frustrated by inaccurate information online.
Temporarily close local listings.
If you have certain non-essential locations closing for a period of time, make sure you update your local listings to reflect a temporary closing. Each local directory has slightly different rules and processes to complete this. For example, you can update a location to “Temporarily Closed” through your Google My Business account. And even though Google announced a delay in updating business information, it is prioritizing health-related listings.
Note: If you have a partner like Chatmeter, we will handle all of these changes in bulk for all of your listings versus handling one-by-one.
Manage your communication.
Use the “From the Business” field on your local listings to explain how your operations are affected by COVID-19. You can share information about any extra precautions your hospital or healthcare facility is taking, such as requiring the use of a mask to enter the building. You can also share if you’re providing any additional community services, or whether you’re experiencing delays. This could be a good place to encourage the use of virtual visits and other telehealth options.
Create a Google Post.
This is an easy way to share detailed and timely updates about what’s going on and other resources you may have available. For example, you can post about specific visitor and screening policies. Since Google Q&A has been temporarily disabled, Google Posts may be a good place to post recent Q&A content you’ve made available on your website. You can continue to use Posts to directly communicate with your patients on a regular basis as the situation progresses. Remember: Google Posts remain active for seven days, so be sure to continually update or re-post.
Forward or update media and patient experience phone numbers.
If the marketing, communications, patient experience and/or public relations teams will be working remotely, be sure to forward office phone numbers or update the phone numbers on your website for media inquiries and patient experience feedback. As a healthcare organization, it is important to stay on top of media requests and avoid a public relations disaster. It is imperative that the right people on your team receive and respond to these requests promptly.
That’s all it takes!
Initiating a proactive brand management strategy that includes local listings management will help your healthcare organization maintain a good relationship with patients and hopefully better weather the impact of COVID-19. By making a few updates you’ll be able to get accurate and up-to-date information in front of health consumers, reduce call volumes, and provide a better patient experience as you prevent frustration from patients and families.