LET’S FACE IT, YOU’RE SCARED
Health care companies are not getting involved in Social Media because they’re scared. If you look at the hoops medical marketing directors have to jump through with their legal department, and then combine that with the pressures all marketers face, such as justifying marketing spend, it’s no wonder health care companies have chosen to stay on the sidelines.
SOCIAL LURES MARKETERS WITH MORE LEADS
But wait! Did you know that social media produces almost double the marketing leads of trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail, or PPC (Source: HubSpot)? It’s hard to not have your mouth water at the idea of doubling your leads. Why do we love leads? Because leads can be converted to sales, and everyone can appreciate an increase in sales (especially your boss and the C-Suite).
EVEN MEDICAL DEVICE COMPANIES ARE DOING IT
As Social Media becomes more universal and a basic tenant of business, even medical marketing executives are beginning to be tempted by the business benefits of going social. If you don’t believe me when I say that even medical device companies are embracing social media, just check out this Twitter list with more than one hundred companies involved in social media for medical devices. Allow yourself to be impressed, inspired by their brave step toward social, and reassured that it’s not a completely crazy idea. Don’t let the leaders scare you away either. Use them to light the way forward.
START WITH PINTEREST
Many businesses are finding that it’s possible to engage with patients, customers, and other stakeholders without running into legal problems. If you’re still feeling hesitant, that’s okay. Take one step at a time. Not ready for all of the conversational aspects of Facebook? Try a less conversational network. Here’s where Pinterest comes in.
JOIN THE TOP BRANDS
According to Simply Measured, 69 of the world’s top 100 brands are on Pinterest. Pinterest is driving more traffic to websites and blogs than Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, or YouTube.
WHAT YOU HAVE TO GAIN
You can also gain positive brand exposure when people see pins about your company, the people who work there, and the products and services that are changing lives.
You can teach patients about a new product you are launching so they understand how it works and how it benefits them.
Give patients a look inside your company and what makes your organization great. This is an opportunity for you to humanize your company. After all, your team probably got involved in health care because at least some part of you wanted to make a difference in people’s lives.
Now is your chance to show consumers the side of your company that feels their emotions, shares their desire to find the cure, wants to effectively treat a medical condition, dreams of ending suffering, and will do whatever it takes to save lives.
Driving referral traffic to a website from Pinterest is incredibly valuable for medical marketing. Why? This is a golden opportunity for health care marketers to ride the social wave without getting tangled in the legal complication. You get the benefits of social media: brand exposure and awareness, positive corporate PR, patient education, exposure for new product launches, and referral traffic to your health care website without the risks that are inherent in the more conversational social networks.
LOW RISK INVESTMENT
Pinterest is primarily a visual network. People look at images, share images, pin images, like images, and on occasion, maybe comment on an image. But Pinterest is no Facebook. Facebook is the water cooler where people really start talking about things. When people start talking, legal and regulatory departments get nervous. Breathe a sigh of relief. People don’t usually get too involved in conversations on Pinterest. Many people have probably never commented on a pin in their whole Pinterest history.
PINTEREST IS SOCIAL WITHOUT THE CHATTER
If you’re worried about people talking, start on Pinterest. It’s not a huge drain on resources because it doesn’t require you to monitor and respond to conversations all day. While I would recommend always having a plan in place before starting any social media campaign, I don’t think a detailed response matrix for responding to various situations is necessary like it is on Facebook.
PINTEREST ISN’T THE PLACE FOR AE’s OR OFF LABEL
Posting pictures of patient education materials and other images you already have visible to the public in your existing marketing mediums isn’t likely to elicit lots of comments. This means you aren’t likely to deal with complaints, negative reviews, potential adverse event reports, or off-label discussions. People just don’t use Pinterest in that way.
PINTEREST IS LESS TIME CONSUMING
It doesn’t require as many resources for content creation. You don’t need to post 3-5 carefully crafted messages a day and then be ready to respond to them. As the Marketing Communications Manager, you don’t have to worry about a flood of content you have to oversee for legal risks. Pinterest doesn’t move as fast as the other social networks. You don’t necessarily have to post every day. The work flow is manageable.
YOU ALREADY HAVE PINTEREST CONTENT
You just have to provide your agency with the visual materials you already have and they organize and repurpose the imagery for Pinterest. It’s that easy.
Yes, you, Director of Marketing for a healthcare company. I know you already have Pinterest content, even if you don’t think you do. Chances are, you already have images on your website that can be pinned. I would go as far as to venture that if you really surveyed existing marketing material, you would find a lot of images that can be repurposed for Pinterest. Did you know that you can pin video, too? Pinterest is a great way to get more exposure for your medical marketing videos, which can be a great way to showcase your technology and help customers to understand the benefits of your product in an easy-to-understand format.
Still need some Pinspiration? Here’s a list of 40 ideas for Pinterest that can help you get started.
YOU CAN DO IT
I know this is a lot to process, but if you think about it, this is an exciting, low-risk way to enter social media. With the help of an agency, all you have to do is provide some of your existing visual material, and they will do the rest. You don’t have to go through pages and pages of written material with the legal team. You just need a willingness to be open-minded about social media. Once you decide your ready, trust your agency as the social media experts and your legal department as the legal experts. If everybody does their job, you’ll be just fine.
Ready to get started?
Read ”Pinterest Marketing: Are You Pinning with Purpose?” to learn about why you need to establish objectives before executing a Pinterest health care social media strategy.
Or check out the many ways Pinterest can be used for Patient Education!
Pinterest is really less about social media and more about SEO. Yes, it’s considered a social network, but like you said, there’s “less chatter,” so it’s not really social, per se.
That’s not to say it isn’t valuable. I would highly recommend using Pinterest and Google+ at LEAST to gain more traffic to your website for SEO value. But if you really want to go social, you need Yelp, Facebook and Twitter…just make sure you’re not violating HIPAA.
I also wrote an article about why doctors, particularly cosmetic surgeons, aren’t trying social media and why they really should.
Great article! Sometimes, it’s definitely important to take baby steps, especially if you’re venturing out to manage your social media on your own. However, it’s a good idea to have a medical marketing pro handle your campaigns or at least help you handle them with an eye to the AMA guidelines for social media.