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Social Media in Health Care, Part 4 | Messaging Topics

Engaging your brand in social media is kind of a no-brainer – unless you’re in the healthcare industry. In our experience, some health organizations have been hesitant to foray into social media due to confusion about what to discuss, how to engage with patients, or fear of running afoul of HIPAA regulations.

This series attempts to break down the basics and offer some guidance as to how to navigate the social media waters.

Generally speaking, patients & consumers find the health care industry to be confusing, frustrating and intimidating. Anything you can do to alleviate this perception will help strengthen your patient relationships and improve patient experience.

One of the most effective methods we’ve found is to think like a patient. Remove yourself from the administrator role of a hospital, and assume you have no knowledge of the inner workings of the hospital or even health care as an industry.

  • What are patients looking for?
  • What do they want to know?
  • What are they worried or confused about?
  • What do you want them to know about your organization?

Then, set to work on resolving those questions with your messaging and content strategy. This strategy lays out messaging points over a period of time that work to allay those concerns. It’s not a giant messaging dump, but a trickle of digestible bits of info that your audience is interested in.

When it comes to generating the content, recent national surveys indicate that a focus on any one of these four topics yields better engagement*:

  1. Offer disease awareness & treatment options;
  2. Educate consumers about types of services offered;
  3. Educate consumers about specialty technologies;
  4. Discuss or show quality and expertise

Here are some thought-starters on potential messaging content to include in your annual strategy. This is by no means comprehensive. Tailor it to your organization and your audience. Make sure that basic info like directions or hours of operation are readily available on your Facebook page, Google Business profile, website, and all social media outlets you use.

General topics

  • Clear, simple healthcare insurance tips & info
  • Simple health tips, such as how walking more can improve your health
  • Re-post any positive news articles your facility appeared in
  • Emergency info, such as operational changes due to a natural disaster (or sometimes, that you’re still open despite the conditions)

Surgical topics

  • Pre & Post-operative care tips
  • What to do when you arrive the day of surgery
  • What to have prepared before a surgery/procedure
  • What to expect (in broad terms) before, during, and after the procedure

Facility & Staff

  • Simple information (no medical speak!) on new procedures
  • Doctor introductions: don’t just list their credentials – make them human, reveal who are they as a person (thereby making them relatable to your audience AND building reputation of quality)
  • New office locations, closures, unique features – such as new equipment, or local artwork on display in your lobby
  • Publications your staff or facility are mentioned in, such as research papers
  • New procedures the general public should follow


*Source: “Hospitals.” Advertising Age. Healthcare Marketing, Kantar Media supplement. October 17, 2016. pp.10

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