Generally speaking, strategic schedules for social media content maximize your ability to reach your audience and can make an impact on your lead generation efforts among prospective patients. They also boost overall brand visibility and patient engagement. But then this happens: An unprecedented, world-changing pandemic coupled with nationwide protests for racial equality.
This health crisis and social climate should have affected your content and social media strategy. In fact, you’re likely still re-assessing and adjusting your content development plans day-by-day. So you might be asking: Where should we focus our efforts next? And how can we make sure our adjustments will still serve your audience, even in the face of such a rapidly changing environment?
Here are five simple steps you can take to crisis-proof your healthcare content and social media efforts to make sure your messages match current demands.
Step 1: Get Your Team on Board
Things are slowly starting to re-open, but due to everything that has happened, including social distancing, cancellations of elective procedures, delayed preventative care, and other local and state COVID-19 mitigation policies, healthcare facilities and providers have faced swiftly evolving changes — from clinic closures to personnel redeployment and furloughs.
As you can imagine, these changes have immense implications for your healthcare marketing plans. So, make sure your entire team is aware of the sweeping changes within the foreseeable future in order to better accommodate your local market needs. Ensuring your brand and marketing teams are on the same page can minimize confusion and unnecessary stress (and let’s face it, most of us are already dealing with more stress than usual) and help promote prompt action.
If you hadn’t already done this, now is the time to invest in a technology solution for managing your social media presence at scale where your entire team can plan, collaborate, schedule and execute a social strategy that meets and exceeds the needs of your community for information.
Step 2: Pause and Adapt
You know all those pre-scheduled, pre-written, and automatic posts, email newsletters, text messages, and other content you’ve worked so hard to prepare and optimize for SEO? Sorry to say, but you likely need to hit pause on all of them, or at least the ones that are no longer relevant.
This doesn’t mean you have to delete everything. But you may need to funnel and categorize your content in order to stay more organized and create space for newer media.
- Content that is still relevant as is and can be used
- Content that needs to be adjusted but can be used
- Content that is not currently relevant and needs to be saved for later
This may also be a good time to go over your recently published content and update, edit, or repurpose it as needed in order to appropriately address the current situation. We recently published a blog post with tips on using content that conveys confidence and authority which is what your community needs from you right now.
Public Opinion Strategies recently surveyed 1,000 adults across the country in an attempt to understand the public sentiment and appetite for returning to a “normal” healthcare setting. The results show that while trust in nurses, physicians and hospitals is higher than ever, a majority of Americans are not yet confident to return to healthcare facilities today – and might not be ready to go back for “normal services” for seven months or longer. This means that developing a content strategy that includes a message of not only availability, but also safety measures and commitment to a contactless and virus-free experience, is absolutely vital. And that message needs to be delivered using every vehicle possible, including on your website, social media platforms, and other public forums like Google Q&A.
Step 3: Update Your Patient Personas and Channel Mix
Now is the time to update your high-value patient personas and most effective channel mix to ensure your content reaches them at the most appropriate points in their patient journey. Updating those personas with data around what information they seek in our “new normal” and what channels they are using to seek that information, will help you figure out what content you need to publish and where that will ACTIVATE them into coming back to receive care.
For example: With more people working remotely and staying put in their homes, now might be the perfect time to reallocate resources for outreach programs via social media with increased audiovisual content in order to tap into a larger online audience.
Another tip: Be extremely mindful of patients’ needs. Right now, as many healthcare providers and facilities begin to open up, the community needs to know these changes and how it may affect them, including:
- Reduced hours of operation and closures
- Extended wait times
- Updated visitor or screening policies (e.g., many hospitals are no longer allowing visitors, except under select circumstances)
- New accessibility options, such as televisits and telemedicine
- New or existing community outreach and volunteer opportunities
- Contact-less check-in options
Step 4: Take Action and Be Rigorous About It
So far we’ve hit pause on your pre-scheduled content and re-evaluated what kind of new content you need. Now it’s time to create it! Use the information you’ve gleaned from step 3 to start developing and publishing valuable, concise, and accurate content.
Do your due diligence and make sure you implement your updates across all relevant platforms: Google, Yelp, Facebook, Instagram, and organizational websites. It’s imperative that content is consistent across all your channels. People are frustrated and anxious enough as it is—no need to add to it by having conflicting information out there for the public to find.
Step 5: Stay Light On Your Feet
Now that you’ve launched your new content and social strategy, take a deep breath—you’re doing a great job! But as you can imagine, the work is far from done.
Healthcare marketers understand that live content is most useful for gauging impact and receiving valuable feedback. So, stay vigilant and focused on patient sentiment and feedback loop as you continue to monitor and modify your content in order to keep everyone well-informed in this highly uncharted environment. Learn more about the best way to stay informed of public patient reviews, sentiment and satisfaction with the experience your healthcare brand is providing. Then use what you learn to guide your overall marketing strategy, and zero-in your content and social strategy to answer the questions your patients need most.