Hospital marketers, Chris Boyer has an important message for you: People don’t like your hospital.
But before you take it personally, it’s not just your hospital. It’s every hospital.
Boyer is director of digital marketing and communications for Inova Health System in northern Virginia, a member of Mayo Clinic social media advisory board, and was recently named one of 11 social media faces to follow by Fierce Health IT. I interviewed him last week.
“The majority of people don’t care about hospitals,” explains Boyer. “I don’t like hospitals. I have type 1 diabetes, and my whole life is actively trying to stay out of a hospital.
A hospital marketer’s dilemma
This presents a dilemma for hospital marketers. “If people don’t want to come to your hospital because they don’t want to be sick, they certainly don’t want to hear about your da Vinci robot or that you won an award.”
Most hospitals spend a lot of money on what Boyer and others call “interruption marketing:” TV, billboards, newspaper advertisements and direct mail. “A very small percentage of people respond to that,” Boyer explains.
So what do people respond to?
“The most powerful way of having people discover your hospital is to engage with them on topics that are relevant to them in avenues where they like to be. That’s social media marketing. Don’t talk about your awards or your doctors. Talk to them about things they care about.”
Which brings us to wellness
“A large majority of the population aspires to be healthy and fit. Wellness and fitness provide a really good opportunity for hospitals to engage with people,” Boyer says. “When we build trust by engaging them with wellness information, that will help them make the choice to come to our hospitals when they get sick.”
There are times you’ll want to point people to your website to sign up for a seminar or to download health information. “We are using our social media as a way to engage and facilitate the healthcare conversation in northern Virginia,” says Boyer. His team shares latest studies and comment on what’s happening in the news about health.
Done right, patients may still not like you, but they will trust you. And that’s worth more than a hundred direct mail campaigns.
How we help
Hive Strategies helps health systems create HIPAA-compliant online communities for better health, lower costs and greater loyalty.