5 Tips for a Strong Healthcare Twitter Strategy

As savvy marketers know, connecting to your audience is the primary goal across business to business or business to consumer marketing. Whether through news releases, blogs, website copy, or events (the list could go on); providing trustworthy, relevant, and useful information when and where your audience is looking is one of the most essential ways to make this connection.

And where are 317 million people looking every day? Twitter.

Long gone are the days when this veteran social media platform was limited to just fueling millennials’ social lives. The 140-character revolution has spread far and wide across the business world, with more than 67 percent of US companies using Twitter for marketing in 2017. Whether your audience is consumers and patients who benefit from your product or service, providers or hospital leadership who buy your product, or attendees at a healthcare conference, Twitter is the one of the primary venues for connecting with your audience by participating in their conversations and sharing your point of view.

With more than 500 million tweets every day – or 6,000 tweets posted every second – Twitter is one of the fastest-moving information streams, making it feel hard (maybe impossible) to get your message noticed. To help you get noticed in a channel that’s flooded with content, we’ve pulled together a few tips that can easily be incorporated into your Twitter strategy.

1. Post frequently

To use Twitter effectively, it’s key to have a steady stream of engaging content. If you’re posting too infrequently, your audience will forget about you, but if you’re posting too often, your audience may feel overwhelmed and possibly click that dreaded “Unfollow” button. A Socialbakers study that analyzed the performance of a random sample of more than 11,000 tweets from global brands over a month found that engagement started to decline after the third tweet posted on the same day. As every situation is different, it’s important to take these results with a grain of salt. For example, if you’re attending a conference, it’s perfectly normal, and expected, that you’ll shoot out tweets left and right with nuggets of wisdom.

2. Develop a social media calendar, leaving gaps for timely news

Developing and posting engaging content can be a lot of work, especially if it’s not your primary work function. One of the best ways to stay on track is to develop a social media calendar that includes a brief overview of the content you will share throughout the month. Speaking at a conference? Plug that into the calendar, and don’t forget to include pre- and post-event tweets. Launching a product or service? Tease it out with several tweets and make a big splash the day of the announcement. If you are unveiling a whitepaper or making a company announcement, make sure to develop and plan content accordingly.

With your calendar filled with company-focused information and announcements, it’s time to get creative. National observances are a great place to start. For example, National Hospital Week just wrapped up on May 13, and ReviveHealth client athenahealth took advantage of the observance to showcase a few hospital client stories.

It’s also important to keep in mind that a social media calendar should have placeholders for timely news that you can tap into. As we know, the world of healthcare evolves daily with new regulations, policies, studies and more, so keep an eye on the daily trending topics to see if there’s a way to tie your brand message into the conversation.

3. Develop content that your audience cares about

Now that the social media calendar in place, it’s time to develop the content. A good rule of thumb is to be as genuine as possible in those 140 characters; if you’re being too salesy or promotional, it will likely impact your following. Understanding your audience should play a big role in the content you create and push out, so it’s important to have a solid definition of who you are targeting. If you develop and share content that relates back to what your audience cares about, it’s far more likely that you’ll spark up a conversation, which is ultimately what Twitter is designed for – engagement.

In addition to creating content that’s geared toward your audience, it’s always best to include visual components – like pictures and videos – in your tweets when possible. Hubspot, a leading social media management platform, reports that tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than those without images.

4. Make sure your content is searchable

Don’t forget to make your content searchable. Did you know the first #hashtag was posted on Twitter back in 2007 by former Google developer Chris Messina? Essentially, hashtags are keywords, so only hashtag words or phrases with which you want to be aligned. It’s also important to not go overboard with hashtags, as studies have shown that tweets with more than two hashtags show a 17% drop in engagement

5. Build relationships with influencers in your industry

A great way to establish credibility, and even increase followers, is to network with industry influencers via Twitter. Influencers are people who have an influence over potential buyers or users of your product or service. They can range from journalists and analysts, to bloggers and broadcasters – really anyone who is well respected in your industry and has a significant following (of your audience). In the health tech industry, there are many influencers to engage with. Last July, Healthcare IT News unveiled the #HIT100, which is a crowdsourced list of health IT experts on social media. Check it out here.

Once you’ve determined who your influencers are, start engaging with them on a regular basis to build or strengthen a relationship. General interactions like a retweet, favorite or reply are the most common ways to engage, but it’s also beneficial to ask them questions on a topic that’s geared toward the audience –remembering not to make it overly self-promotional. Once you’ve started to get traction with influencers, it’s important to keep building on the relationship by checking their feed to see what they’re posting about and letting them know you’re following along.

While these tips are a great way to get started on Twitter, there are also many effective paid options. If you’re ready to invest in Twitter promotions, keep an eye out for our upcoming post on the key ways to understand and engage your audience with paid promotion.

May 26, 2017
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