social media engagement

Dancing Doctors on TikTok, Dr. Oz on Twitter, even the Dr. Pimple Popper Instagram feed has attracted an almost cult-like following in recent years. During the Pandemic, dance challenges and reels of people clapping for healthcare workers dominated social media, bringing both appreciation and a bit of humanity to a morale-strapped healthcare system. For years, Dr. Mehmet Oz’s musings on Twitter offered a wide commentary echoing his time on The Oprah Winfrey Show and later, his own. “Popaholics” flock to Dr. Pimple Popper’s Instagram feed, and she’s been hailed as the “dermatologist for the social-media age”, parlaying her online popularity into an equally popular television series.

Adapting to changes in the social media landscape, each of these examples have cultivated a following (and patient base) by engaging with the public in an online forum. In each instance, they are both gaining and engaging patients through social media use. 

So how did they get started? For each, their rise to viral popularity was the likely result of a happy accident rather than a carefully developed marketing plan, but they’ve managed to stay at the top of their game by delivering engaging content and by responding to the public. Both of these things you can do to increase interaction with your community of followers.

How To Keep Patients Engaged

Delivering

Once you’ve got ‘em, now you’ve got to keep ‘em. Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, Gen Z, each of these core patient demographics all use social media differently, but they all agree on one thing: variety is key. When it comes to ads, promotions, and social media posts, 66% of consumers feel that there is too much repetition in digital marketing. 

  • Consistent Branding – How many times have you found yourself watching a commercial and cannot figure out exactly what is being advertised until the last seconds of the spot? They’ve had 30 or 60 seconds to convince you to buy their product and you aren’t even sure what you’re buying until the last seconds. Now, imagine that heightened by the rapid-fire scrolling that we are all guilty of when perusing our online Feeds. Variety in posts is essential, but at the end of the day, it’s still got to be on brand and look like it’s coming from a source they know and recognize. 

  • Entertainment Value – That rapid-fire scrolling. Now you’ve got to get them to stop on your content. Then you’ve got to capture their attention long enough to gather a like, a follow, or a click. Introduced on now-defunct Vine, and translated to Facebook and Instagram Stories and Reels, Snapchat, and TikTok, short-form video content has seen a meteoric rise in popularity. Now, users are more likely to stop for a video than a static image. With Facebook Ad Manager and other content creation tools, you can create dynamic content in the form of videos and slideshows. 

  • Relevant Content – Combining your branding with entertaining posts, your posts should be relevant to the mission and services provided by your FQHC. When paired with an actionable offer or event, you can stand out among the masses. Whether it’s a Q&A forum, Event posting, Live Stream or other tangible interaction, create content that invites an exchange within the community.  

Responding

Again, no one wants to see the same content delivered day after day. Keeping your finger on the pulse of your patient’s needs, your posts should respond to changing trends, healthcare advancements, and other content that evokes an emotional connection with your patients.

  • Community– Creating a community with your online presence, it is important to interact with your followers. Respond to questions (and critiques) in a constructive manner, share likes, and make it easy for your patients to engage with your content. Holding contests, featuring community members (with permission…remember those HIPAA guidelines), and getting to know your community allows you to deliver content that responds to their wants and needs.

  • Authenticity – Creating a dedicated community (and patient base) revolves around connections, and the belief patients feel that their doctors and community health center staff care about their well-being. Translating this into an online presence, it is important to maintain humility and approachableness. Regardless of which platform you utilize, remember to read the room.

When engaging patients through social media, it is important to create a community of patients, staff, caregivers, and advocates. Create an active online presence that is an extension of the care and compassion they receive at your Federally Qualified Health Center. At Firefly Marketing, we are your social media partner to help you do just that! Let’s Talk!

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For Federally Qualified Health Centers featuring a varied patient base, diversified strategies allow your center to thrive as it provides care to entire communities. You don’t have to do it alone!

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