Healthcare social media strategy and tactics for 2021
… 2021 healthcare social media strategy and tactics …

Preparation For Successful 2021 Healthcare Social Media Marketing Campaigns

New social media opportunities and challenges lay ahead for healthcare marketers in 2021


John G. Baresky

Social media is a key element of many healthcare marketing strategies. Many analytical models, usage reports and other sources of measurement profile the most popular trending topics and the times of peak volume when the highest level of traffic is present on specific social media platforms.

While these provide a glimpse into the wilderness of social media, they are not enough to guide a revenue-effective healthcare social media strategy. There are further strategies and methods to refine them and a 4-phase process enables healthcare marketing professionals to precisely zero in on and productively engage their target personas.

Business-to-business and consumer social media usage

The first phase focuses on understanding the timing of posts starting with the social media audience at large. These are some of the busiest timeframes during the workweek (Monday through Friday) that serve as windows of opportunity for digital marketing professionals on some of the largest primary social media platforms:

  • Facebook: Noon through 4 pm
  • Instagram: 10:30 am to 1:30 pm
  • LinkedIn: 9 am through Noon
  • Pinterest: 7 pm to 11 pm
  • Twitter: 10 am to 1 pm
  • YouTube: Noon through 4 pm

Weekend social media usage has distinctly different high and low periods of participation. All of these choices and corresponding “best posting times” have to be re-evaluated when aligned with healthcare marketing strategy.

The social media habits of highly coveted healthcare customers with distinctly different personas do not necessarily conform to these timeframes and in the case of national social media campaigns, they only loosely account for the targeted personas located across the 6 time zones of the United States.

The development of effective social media marketing strategy in healthcare requires more thinking

A second step is recognizing the fact that healthcare has been a 24/7 industry well before the advent of social media and digital marketing. The demand for care continues to expand and this applies to caseload volumes as well as the varieties and complexities of care that are sought.

Effective social media strategy takes much more than a handful of images and brand messages nicely packaged and posted on a selection of social media platforms.

Some of the main factors in the web marketing formula to account for are:

  • There are multiple roles in which large numbers of medical professionals and administrative staff have shifts well apart from the mainstream social media participation timeframes
  • The variety of targeted personas in healthcare has multiplied as nurses, nurse practitioners, doctors and pharmacists become more specialized and their supporting cast encompasses nursing assistants, physician assistants, pharmacy technicians and many other credentialed patient care professionals
  • Mobile phones and tablets support immediate access to social media around the clock in almost any point-of-care location for on-duty clinical or administrative staff — and this goes for their personal time as well
  • The conventional patient care centers consisting of doctor office, pharmacy and hospital has evolved into multi-site medical groups, health systems, ambulatory care centers, urgent care centers and other healthcare provider organization models
  • Following shelter-in-place measures and cancellations of non-essential care during early 2020, COVID-19 disrupted healthcare marketing as it altered practice hours, medical procedure scheduling, purchasing patterns and other elements of healthcare provider organization operations
  • Telehealth and remote patient monitoring has changed the routine of clinicians, their organizational operations and their patients
  • Work-from-home and other shifts have moved many consumers and patients into new social media patterns as the pandemic has redefined their professional, home and social routines
  • Ongoing consolidation across the industry encompasses metropolitan, suburban and rural markets; these shifts impact the scope and scale of influence that executive leaders and clinical decision-makers have
  • The pandemic has reduced opportunities for the sales teams of healthcare product manufacturers and service companies to engage customers face-to-face, to offset this they have invested more into digital marketing and social media options that contribute to crowding and distraction
  • The variables based on social media options and persona targeting require consistent budget management to assure profitable performance

While this list of variables seems daunting, they should not dim any optimism for healthcare social media marketing. Each has a different bearing and weight depending on the product or service being promoted and the targeted personas involved.

Refining healthcare social media targeting strategy

Accounting for the elements featured in the first two phases equips healthcare marketers to proceed to phase 3. Innovative healthcare marketers will explore and confirm better timeframes in a workweek just to avoid the crush of social media marketing by other companies within the 2 to 4-hour timeframes.

On an even narrower and more strategic scale, healthcare marketers can develop a more granular understanding of their targeted personas and their respective social media participation. They gain this knowledge through:

  • Closely gauged A/B social media campaign testing purposely focused on targeted personas
  • Competitive comparisons
  • Recent social media campaign data and trend analysis from successful and unsuccessful initiatives
  • Social media usage survey data generated from targeted personas
  • Syndicated research reports and data purchased from social media platforms and other sources
  • Virtual advisory boards and focus groups focused on social media use by targeted personas

This calculated understanding of targeted personas and their social media routines enriches the precision in timing and selection of social media platforms and helps develop more effective campaign messaging.

Applying these insights reduces waste and helps outmaneuver competitors aligned with conventional social media strategies.

Deploying additional digital marketing measures to strengthen social media marketing campaigns

The final phase of healthcare social media campaign refinement is reinforcement. Email marketing initiatives, Google Ads and selective retargeting measures are necessary to fortify social media campaigns. These require the application of the first 3 phases as well.

Social media campaigns alone do not always immediately generate the leads or direct sales that are anticipated. A strategic combination of digital marketing resources deployed within the boundaries of a defined budget greatly improve the odds of solid success.

Healthcare social media marketing enters a new chapter in 2021.

As the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and antiviral agents continues and is accompanied by great anticipation towards ending the pandemic, the healthcare industry will reset itself. It is far too complex to assume that following the status quo of social media norms guarantees commercial success.

Enriching healthcare social media campaigns by equally accounting for each of the four phases drives the development of robust initiatives that exceed KPI and ROI expectations.

Thank you for reading this story

Read my other articles about medical and healthcare business trends, content marketing and digital strategy, brand and product management, consumer wellness, managed care and market access strategy. Contact me today for your healthcare content writing and content strategy needs for medical, business, academic, patient and consumer healthcare audiences.

I have over 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry producing valuable healthcare content for audiences and customers spanning physicians, nurses, pharmacists plus pharmaceutical companies, medical technology manufacturers, healthcare provider organizations, managed care, investors, consumers and other stakeholders.

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This experience was earned through working at Walgreens, Pfizer, AbelsonTaylor, TAP (Takeda Abbott Partnership), Hospira Worldwide and Boston Software Systems. ​

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