While in some ways marketing for healthcare is different from marketing for other sectors – like retail/consumer or financial services – in many ways it is very similar. One of the best examples of this is the need for healthcare organizations – such as hospitals, clinics, private practices, and large regional health systems – to develop strong branding and maintain it consistently.

Branding across platforms
As I mentioned in my last blog post, healthcare marketing is becoming increasingly social. Indeed, healthcare organizations are finding ways to have a presence not just in blogs, on Facebook and on Twitter – but even on platforms like Pinterest and YouTube. In fact, many of the larger healthcare systems can be found on all of these platforms (and others). And while it’s a great idea to try to further your organization’s reach as much as possible, like any kind or aspect of marketing, it needs to be done well in order for it to be successful.

The first step in achieving successful marketing across multiple platforms is doing whatever you can to make sure people know they are on your Facebook page, they are reading your Tweets, they are watching your videos. You do this by maintaining a consistent look, tone and feel (LTF) everywhere you have a presence – starting with your main “hub” (often your website) and following the same LTF through to all of your channels.

Think about it this way: you’ve spent a lot of time and energy establishing an LTF for your brand that people (hopefully) associate with quality and a solid reputation. Your social efforts should work to build and enhance this. Consistent branding across these platforms will show your patients that your sites are trustworthy and dependable, because they will be recognized as being yours and will therefore align with your already-established reputation. In turn, this makes it easier to build and foster your social communities because people will already know you.

Boston Children’s Hospital is an example of one facility that is doing a good job of maintaining consistent branding across its platforms (see below for two instances). With a quick glance at its channels, you know exactly where you are:

Consistent voice
With all the available platforms your organization can choose to utilize, you’re going to realize very quickly that you’re going to need quite a bit to say. The second step to maintaining a consistent brand across these outlets, then, is deciding how you want to speak – what you want your voice to be – and maintaining that tone of voice across all channels. In fact, tone of voice is just as important to promoting a unified brand as are the design of your website and signage, the images you showcase on your brochures, and the colors and fonts of your logo, among other considerations.

Like consistent LTF, a consistent voice will draw people in because they will come to know you, to trust you. How you “speak” will contribute to the image and reputation you’ve tried to build… you should do your best to maintain it consistently to help enhance that reputation as much as possible.

And keep in mind, when it comes to voice, there are many directions you can take. Are you trying to position yourselves as compassionate? Technical? Maybe a little bit fun? Make a decision and stick to it in everything you write – that’s the key. Pick one, and run with it.

In upcoming posts I’ll discuss if you should even be on every available platform as well as how what you say should have a lot to do with your overall marketing strategy and objectives.