6 Ways to Target Patients Using Social Media Marketing

Patients have become much more active on social media, using the different platforms to research care providers, ask questions and share their experiences. With patients taking to their smart phones to provide feedback and search for providers on the go it only makes sense for imaging centers, hospitals and doctor’s offices to have a social media marketing strategy in place.

We're excited to see more and more radiologists and other health care providers recognizing the value of social media in health care; because that has been a big hurdle to overcome. The International Society for Computed Tomography for instance, will be hosting a talk by Jenny K Hoang, MD about the importance of radiologists utilizing Twitter at their upcoming CT symposium in San Francisco.

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Today we’ll explore the six ways healthcare marketers can use social media to target specific groups of patients, this way their content marketing and messaging will be built specifically for different kinds of patients.

6 Tips for Targeting Patients Using Social Media Advertising:

1.     Use Facebook advertising to share a recent blog post with a specific kind of audience. Ex: Boost your post about the difference between screening mammograms and diagnostic mammograms so it is shown to women, aged 55+ who are located within a 10-mile radius of your imaging center.

2.     If you have a list of your patients’ email addresses, you can create a look-alike list from those addresses and launch a Facebook ad campaign.

3.     New to Twitter and hoping to build your following and improve your brand recognition? Create a campaign for gaining followers. You can select your audience based on one or multiple locations, filtering by other accounts they follow, interests, behaviors event event targeting.

4.     You can also create an audience to target on Twitter based on only people who have visited your website. Just put a snippet of code on your website to collect the visitors’ info and the ad you create will show to only those users on Twitter.

5.     You can limit audiences on Twitter based on their regular behavior as well. For instance, you can limit your ad so it will OR won’t show to a group of users who are “likely to have health insurance from Aetna” which has a potential audience of up to 1.82M users.

6.     LinkedIn is the best social media platform for industry experts. This article is supposed to be about using social media to target patients, but as a provider it’s also important to provide content for others in your industry. (ex: Referring Physicians or Community Organizations) These kinds of targets are regularly being active on LinkedIn where you can pay to sponsor posts and make it so that only users with certain job titles or employees of certain businesses see the ads.

Read More: 8 Healthcare Digital Marketing Tips >

If you're interested in an evaluation of your organization's current social media practices, fill out the form below and we'd be glad to perform a free evaluation for you. 

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10 Tweets for Your Imaging Center’s Twitter Account

Getting your imaging center or medical practice involved with social media can be a challenge, so if you’re not sure where to get started you aren’t alone. Following health care social media best practices means providing value, being genuinely caring and being accessible.

With more patients turning to the Internet and social media platforms for medical advice and resources, your healthcare marketing strategy needs to go beyond just referring physician marketing. Healthcare social media and radiology marketing on platforms like Twitter, will help improve your online reputation and reach more actively searching patients.

Read More - Physician in Social Media: Twitter and How to Get Involved

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Here are 10 tweet ideas for your imaging center to post on your Twitter account to get you started:

1.     Sharing current or past Blog Posts

2.     Engage with local media personalities or news casters discussing health in your town. Most people in the media are also active on Twitter!

3.     Spreading the word about health care news that affects your patient

4.     Share photos of your staff doing something unique, like celebrating Halloween by dressing up. Then be sure to use holiday hashtags that are trending!

5.     Funny industry meme

6.     #TBT Tweets – Share a funny picture of your staff or your radiologist from back in the day. Twitter users want to see that you can have a personality.

7.     Links to other interesting or valuable articles, even if they aren’t on your websit

8.     Comment on something trending in your area. For instance, if you have a parade or event or local holiday coming up, engage in that conversation. Everything you tweet doesn’t have to be about your services, it can be about your involvement in the community too.

9. Sharing your contact information with an image attached, side note tweets with image content are much more likely to be engaged with

10.     Use geo-tag searches to find people tweeting about your kinds of services in your area. For instance, you can use this formula “MRI geocode:27.9959851,-82.7343884,60km” to find people who are tweeting with the term “MRI” within 60 km of your Google Earth coordinates. See who is close by using your terms and reach out to them to see if you can help! 

Radiology marketing will never be the same, so it is time for you to jump on board!

Read More: How to Get Followers on Twitter with Health Care Marketing


What If My Imaging Center Gets a Bad Review Online?

Bad Review on Social Media

It’s a healthcare practice’s nightmare; to learn that a disgruntled or disappointed patient has left a bad review online.  As an imaging center, you attempt to provide top notch patient care to everyone that comes through your door, but no matter what, you might still meet a patient who is just hard to please.

Regardless of how well your staff treats your patients, they can develop a negative opinion of your imaging center. They can become disgruntled for a number of reasons that you can manage, but there are some ways patients can become frustrated that are out of your control.


Patient Experiences You Can Control

Feeling Welcomed – With a Smile

Clean, Comfortable Waiting Area

Easily Accessible Contact Information

Convenient Access to Patient Records


Patient Experiences You Can’t Control

Longer Wait Times – Due to External Delays

Frustration/Pain Based on Patient Ailment

Patients with Bad Attitudes

High Care/Procedure Costs


Read More: Why Your Healthcare Practice Needs Social Media


So, what do you do if a patient leaves a negative review of your imaging center on Facebook or Yelp? Or, what if a patient tweets something negative to you? How do you handle it?


How To Handle Bad Reviews on Social Media:

Step 1: Don’t delay. Be sure to respond quickly to reviews so you can take control of the situation before it has the chance to snowball into a bigger issue. Even if the bad review is in fact warranted, you can still salvage the situation with an appropriate response.

Step 2: Determine if the complaint is based on something you could control making it warranted, or if the complaint is something that doesn’t have to do with the quality of your service. Ex: “The front desk girl was very rude and was playing on her cell phone while I waited at the desk.” This is something you can fix as opposed to a review that reads, “I’ve been in pain for months so I tried to schedule an MRI at this imaging center but they wouldn’t give me an appointment unless I was referred by a doctor.”  We know that in radiology, diagnostic testing requires a script, but some patients may not know that. So, while you can’t change this fact, you can do a better job of explaining this to patients and giving them advice on what to do next.

Step 3: Always be sympathetic, no matter what. An apology isn’t always warranted if the patient’s negative review is unwarranted. Sometimes people just complain to complain but even if they are wrong, you need to show empathy in your response.

Step 4: Offer some kind of solution or compromise. You can’t erase the past and you can’t refund patients for their care, but that doesn’t mean you can’t offer some kind of solution. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is provide the patient with the contact information of your marketing representative or office manager so they can speak directly with a person who might be able to help them. This is also an opportunity to do some further investigating to see if this can be a learning opportunity for your practice.   


Some things to remember with regards to online patient reviews:

1.     Just because you don’t think you have a Facebook page for your practice, doesn’t mean there isn’t a location listing on Facebook where patients can check in and write reviews. You must take ownership of your business’ page and merge the listing page to control it. You can’t control a Facebook listing but you can control a business page!

2.     People are most likely to leave a review of their healthcare providers when they either have an extraordinarily positive or extraordinarily negative experience. You won’t often get people who say that their experience was just okay. Focus on branding your patient experience so it is something worth talking about in a positive light.

3.     Sometimes a negative review with a strong, helpful response from the practice is more influential than a positive review. As a patient, seeing that someone from a practice would go out of their way to make amends for a negative experience shows that they are willing to go above and beyond for their patients.

Read More: Why You Need to Brand Your Practice’s Patient Experience

Need help managing bad reviews online for your practice? We can help, just fill out the form below!

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Health Care Social Media Mythbusters

There are a lot of opinions about the use and effectiveness of social media in health care. Plenty of naysayers have voiced their thoughts on the lack of social media’s impact on patients, but the time has come to put these myths to rest. Social media is a powerful tool for healthcare marketing professionals to use and it works to drive patients in a number of ways.

Let’s explore a few of the common health care social media myths and misconceptions and bust them wide open. (Feel free to read this article while listening to Lil Kee’s “Buss It Wide Open”)

Myth #1 – Patients will only leave feedback or reviews on your Facebook business page or Yelp listing if they have a negative experience at your practice, so it’s best not to promote your social media pages to patients.

BUSTED: First of all, if you don’t take ownership of your business’ page, that doesn’t mean people won’t still be able to review your business and leave comments. It’s better to be in control and merge your Business Page with any relevant location listing pages. Secondly, we’ve found that patients are just as likely to share a positive experience as a review as they are to leave a negative review. People aren’t as likely to share their experience if nothing in particular stands out to them, but if you go above and beyond even in little ways you’ll be surprised by the reaction. At an imaging center on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, the staff hands out cards with their Facebook page and Yelp URL with a message of appreciation which they give to any patients who compliment the practice, their staff or service. More often than not, those patients take the extra step to review the radiology practice.

Myth #2 -  Most of our patients are elderly and the older populations don’t use social media.

BUSTED: 82% of the 65 million baby boomers and seniors, in the 50+ age group go online for health and wellness information. This demographic is also a part of the fastest growing online community. (Immersion Active, 2015) Older populations are very loyal to the brands and businesses that treat them well. They are most influenced by word-of-mouth style marketing and social media in itself is modern-day word-of-mouth. One multi-modality imaging center in The Villages in Florida, which is a 55+ community has a very active Facebook page on which patients and referring physician staff members engage regularly.

Myth #3 – My small town isn’t into social media; no one will engage with our Facebook page or tweets.

BUSTED: Of all Internet users in rural communities, approximately 67% use Facebook as compared to 72% in suburban communities and 74% in urban communities. (Pew Research Center, 2015) So while it is true, that patients in metropolitan areas are more active on social media, rural community users are still almost as active on Facebook as those in rural and suburban cities.

More myth-busters to follow next week! Read more: 15 Facebook Topics For Healthcare Marketers