A few weeks ago, Crockpot owners across the country were ready to throw the kitchen appliance away and never use it again. Why? Because it had just been revealed that a slow cooker – cousin to the Crockpot – caused the death of
Jack Pearson on NBC’s This Is Us. (Sorry if I just spoiled that plot twist for you.)
Fans took to social media to commiserate and vowed to avenge Jack by never using Crockpots again. Meanwhile, Crockpot had to think of a way to calm their customers and stop them from breaking up with them. And what did they do? They made a social media account. Why? Because they knew that they needed to connect with their customers immediately and social media is the best way to do that.
Big deal – Who’s even on social media anyway?
A lot of people.
I’ll be honest, I don’t think that you’re going to face a crisis like Crockpot did and need to respond immediately on social media. But social media is still something you should be thinking about for your agency. Social media use has grown rapidly and will only continue to do so. As of the beginning of 2018, social media platforms have reached record number of users:
- Facebook: 2 billion users
- Twitter: 330 million users
- Instagram: 800 million users
- LinkedIn: 260 million users
You get the point – social media isn’t going anywhere. That’s why it’s important for you to take advantage of it. As more individuals begin making social media accounts, more are turning to these platforms to find information, and aid them in making final decisions. And that includes decisions about their health and treatment plans.
Open Minds found that 40% of consumers say that social media influences how they deal with their health and 90% of consumers between the ages of 18-24 trust medical information shared by others on their social media pages. That’s a lot of people looking to social media platforms for information. Still thinking that social media marketing isn’t a big deal?
Okay, so people are on social media…but what are they looking for?
There are a six things people could be looking for when they turn to social media:
- Emotional support related to their health issue
- Information about their conditions or treatment options
- Encouragement that a provider can help them with their health concerns
- Support from others to make them feel that they’re not alone
- Comparison to others’ experiences and conditions
- Emotional expression of their feelings without negative reactions
Essentially, they want to feel heard and they want a clear understanding of what their next steps are.
These wants can help you to build your social media pages and decide what information belongs there.
You’ve sold me, social media is important – but what do I do about it?
Social media can seem daunting if it’s not something you’re familiar with. Let me break down what your first steps should be and then help you create a viable social media plan.
What if I have no social media pages?
Make one! But don’t overwhelm yourself. If you’re starting at the beginning, you don’t need to make an account for every social media platform you find. Just start with one. Facebook is typically a good place to start since it has such a wide user base. It’s also one of the first places people search for an organization.
For directions on how to create an account for your organization, click on the name of the platform you’re interested in:
Once you decide which social media platform you’re going to start with, take a few minutes to fill out your basic information – name, address, phone number, email address, business hours, etc. You’ll also want to include information about setting up appointments and what type of services you offer.
What if I have a social media page, but I never use it?
Set aside time to go through your existing account and make sure all of your information is accurate. You’ll want to update contact information, logos, your list of services, etc. Once you know your page is updated, you can start focusing on creating a social media plan.
Creating your social media plan
There are a few components to consider when crafting your social media plan:
Louise Myers broke down how often you should be posting to your social media pages. Start with the “low” number and work your way up to a number that feels comfortable for you.
We talked about how often to post, but what about when? It can be confusing to decide what days or times to post to social media. Luckily, Hubspot walks us through optimal posting times.
- Days: Sunday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
- Times: 9am, 1pm, 3pm
- Days: Wednesday
- Times: 12pm, 3pm, 5pm, 6pm
- Days: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
- Times: 7-8am, 12pm, 5-6pm
- Days: Monday, Thursday
- Times: 2am, 8-9am, 5pm
What to post
Your posts should help visitors to your page get you know your organization better. Here are some examples of what to post:
- Links to news articles where your organization is mentioned
- Articles about new findings in your field. For example, a center focused on helping children through traumas might post David Gordon’s article on the ACEs study.
- An explanation of your services with links to your website
- A highlight of new services. If something is new at your organization, make sure everyone knows about it.
- A “Meet Our Staff” segment – you have amazing people working and volunteering at your organization. Introduce them to your social network (with their permission)!
- Open professional and volunteer opportunities
Remember the six reasons why people look to social media for answers about their healthcare – craft posts around those reasons to make sure you’re giving them what they need.
If you’re still not sure where to start, look up the social media pages of similar organizations for inspiration.
Interact with others
Social media is popular because it allows users to interact easily with friends and family. It’s the same with businesses – you need to interact on social media too.
As you build your social media pages, you want to follow organizations like you and national organizations associated with your field. As you follow them you’ll see their posts in your news feed. Interact with them – like, share, comment, retweet their posts. When you interact with other posts, others are more likely to interact with your posts which improves your social media page.
Encourage others to follow your page as well. Your staff and volunteers should follow your page and they can invite their friends and family to as well. Make sure clients know you’re on social media and include your social media handle on your website and any promotional materials.
Make sure to respond to questions and comments on your own social media pages. This is important. People often take to social media to voice complaints and concerns. If you respond to them efficiently and effectively, you’ll not only resolve their issue, but show others visiting your page that you’re responsive to problems. Most social media accounts will let you set up email alerts when someone comments on a post or messages you in addition to alerts within the platform. This can help you to stay on top of notifications and respond promptly.
Set aside time
The last piece of your social media plan is to set aside time to execute it. I’ve described a lot to you, and it might seem a little overwhelming. But now that you have the information you need, you just need to set aside time to do it.
And it doesn’t have to be a lot of time.
Remember, we’re starting slow. Posting a few times a week on you social media pages doesn’t have to take long. By using free scheduling tools like Hootsuite, you can sit down at the beginning of the week and plan your posts for the week within an hour. Facebook also allows you to schedule posts within their platform.
You’ll also want to think about who will be posting and make sure they have the tools and understanding to feel comfortable.
Now you’re ready for your Crockpot crisis
With these tools and behavioral health social media marketing on your side, you’ll be ready to handle anything that comes your way – even a Crockpot crisis.