Powerful patient relationships are the driving force behind your medical practice success. When your patients know, like and trust you, they are far more likely to buy your products and services and recommend them to friends and family.
But how do you build these relationships? How do you create real, meaningful rapport?
Twitter offers an exciting solution. The platform’s unique microblogging format keeps exchanges short and makes it easy to tag people, answer tweets and engage in conversation in real time.
Here are some essential tips you can implement to effectively engage with your target audience on Twitter:
1. Create “snackable” healthcare-related information
One of the effective ways to engage your target audience on Twitter is to create content that is specifically designed for the platform. Considering the character limit and real-time nature of Twitter, “snackable” content usually performs the best. These could be tweets that tell a short, compelling story.
But for the story to be compelling and to make potential patients want to engage with it, it must evoke emotions. Some healthcare brands do a fantastic job of telling stories by sharing content that makes people stop and take notice, either by making them laugh or filling them with useful information.
Of course, it is not easy to predict what kind of content will catch on and generate attention for your healthcare brand. The only way to find out is to be adventurous and experiment with content, especially humor.
However, be cautious when creating content or campaigns that are “controversial” in nature. Be sure to run it in a small group of trusted audience members and gauge their reactions. These could be your family, friends or colleagues.
This will you fine-tune your content and iron out issues before sharing it with your audience on Twitter.
2. Use Twitter polls
Polls are a relatively new way for healthcare brands to engage their audience. Poll tweets are different from normal tweets because Twitter lets you use up 140 characters in addition to the poll responses. That will give you a lot of space for creativity.
One more great thing about polls is the anonymity. This is because anonymous votes tend to generate more participation from the target audience. Just like normal tweets, polls can be retweeted, helping you get additional engagement, reach and votes.
3. Use shortened links and hashtags
Using links and relevant hashtags is an excellent way to increase the chances of your tweets being found by people who may be searching for similar content. If you are creating healthcare content around trending themes on Twitter, including a hashtag will positively affect your engagement and reach.
In addition to using hashtags, most healthcare brands use links to direct traffic to their websites. If your objective is to direct traffic from social networks to your website, using links in your tweet copy can work very well. However, it will work even better if you shorten the links using a custom domain that will also help you track clicks on these links.
4. Use visual features
Taking a cue from other visual platforms like Snapchat, Pinterest and Instagram, Twitter has added heaps of visuals over the last few years.
For instance, there is a feature called Twitter photo collage, which allows you to use multiple images in a single tweet to tell a story.
Another way to visually engage your target audience is with GIFs. You can use GIFs from Twitter’s built-in library or create your own GIFs.
Why stop at images when you can achieve even more with videos? Healthcare brands, in order to widen their reach, often share videos of up to 140 seconds in each tweet.
5. Do not forget to retweet your tweets
Now that Twitter lets you retweet your tweets, healthcare brands can rehash their older content. This is an excellent way to share older content that is still relevant, or content that you think can get more engagement than the first time you tweeted it.
You can also add a comment to your older tweets or continue a story that you started telling with a previous tweet.
With the retweet and quote-your-own-tweet features, your healthcare brand can make a #Throwback post from any old piece of content.
6. Offer great patient support
Because of its real-time nature, Twitter is an excellent platform for offering patient support. Every time a patient tweets to or about your brand, they’re allowing you to engage with them. Even negative tweets from patients provide healthcare brands an opportunity to change the outcome and turn them into positive, happy experiences.
Of course, offering excellent patient support on Twitter is only possible if your patient care process is smooth overall. Twitter is just another channel that can be integrated with traditional channels your healthcare brand uses for offering patient support.
7. Use direct message feature
If you are using Twitter as a healthcare brand, we would recommend changing direct message (DM) settings so that anyone can send you a DM. Taking a public conversation off your brand mentions and on to the private messaging space has a lot of benefits. First, you can offer better patient support by understanding the exact problem that your patient has. Second, DM has no maximum character limit so you can have long conversations without running out of space.
You can also send rich media like GIFs, images and videos over DM. It is also possible to send out group DMs that let you have a private conversation with multiple users in one go. Twitter has announced support for reading-receipts on DMs so you can see whether recipients have read your messages.
8. Track, measure and fine-tune
In order to ensure that you are reaching your strategic goals, it is essential to measure behavior. Twitter Analytics is one of the many tools that you can use to manage your Twitter account better, monitor your influence, measure your reach and gain insights into your target audience’s demographics. Social media marketing is not rocket science, so do not be afraid to adjust your marketing plan and try something new.
Twitter gives healthcare brands a fantastic opportunity to engage with patients in real time. You can start answering their questions, offer patient support and find ways to delight them before they choose your competitors over you.
You can address patient concerns and issues before they become problems. And, most importantly, you can nurture loyal patients and turn them into brand advocates.
Include Twitter in your healthcare marketing strategy and use it to build long-term relationships. The results will be worth the effort.