Forty per cent of people say information found via social media affects how they deal with their health. Joining these conversations gives you a voice and the chance to influence these audiences – but it can be hard to know how to make social media work for you.
This is one of the many reasons we created our comprehensive new social media toolkit for the healthcare sector. Developed alongside Public Health Wales, industry experts and employers, the toolkit is packed with bite-sized information and insights on everything from strategy to content to help you use social media effectively. Here are our top tips.
1. Do you have a strategy?
Are you trying to raise awareness, gather feedback or build relationships with stakeholders? What audiences should you speak to make these things happen? A strategy will help you clarify these goals and what you need to do to achieve them. Download our strategy template to get started.
2. Do: make it ‘social’
As well as pushing out your own messages, join in the conversation. Speak to your audiences to learn about their needs and concerns. Make connections and follow other influencers to find credible, relevant and interesting information to share. Start with our list of top 25 healthcare social media influencers.
3. Do: get your team on board
Getting staff excited about social media is key to making it work for your organisation. Make them part of the process. Include information about social activity in weekly updates, and offer specific social media training and resources – like our toolkit! Draft a policy setting out how you would like staff to engage with social media and be prepared to provide them with support to get started.
4. Don’t: ignore tricky interactions
You will inevitably have interactions with someone who is angry or upset. The worst thing you can do is ignore them. Responding professionally and appropriately shows you have acknowledged their issue and are taking steps to resolve it. Don’t rush in with a response and if necessary ask for their contact details to take the issue offline. Our toolkit contains a helpful flowchart for dealing with these interactions.
5. Don’t: let things slip
Effective social media is an investment worth making. This is an opportunity to take a central role in conversations your audiences are already having about their health. Sharing useful, timely content and interacting with followers will build a meaningful social presence reinforcing your organisation’s position as credible, authentic and relevant to their lives.
Dawn Bratcher is senior marketing manager at Skills for Health
Download the toolkit here
Join the conversation using #healthsocialtools
For more information about Skills for Health, visit www.skillsforhealth.org.uk