As the Internet has pervaded our lives in so many ways, we have evolved into an increasingly visual society. We gloss over articles while honing in on their attached videos, we skim our social media accounts until our eyes snag onto an engrossing image. It’s time we used this information to give home healthcare marketing a visible boost.
First Things First
Due to compliance and privacy issues in the health care industry, before diving into any kind of social media marketing it is highly recommended to first implement a social media policy for all employees that emphasizes the risks and responsibilities associated with social media. This puts into place a set of parameters which helps with standardization as well as protects your business, your employees and your clients. For an example of a social media policy designed specifically for the aging care industry, check out our Social Media Policy Template for Home Care. This template addresses both direct care staff and administrative staff, both agency-owned social media and personal social media, as well as items to be included in employment contracts and covered during training, ensuring all your bases are covered.
Businesses that haven’t yet been introduced to the highly addictive and wildly popular Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com) should be aware that since its soft launch to developer Ben Silbermann’s close friends and family in early 2010, the site has skyrocketed to become one of the most popular social media networks in the U.S. A highly visual site, Pinterest allows users to create a series of virtual bulletin boards, each with its own theme, and “pin” images from other website pages (such as your agency’s website) to those boards. These pinned images link viewers back to the website from which the image came. Then viewers can repin your pins to their Pinterest accounts, creating the potential for expanding your agency’s message to a vast network of new clients and referral sources.
The general idea with Pinterest marketing is that it serves as an entertaining, visually dynamic way to snag people’s attention online, showcasing your agency’s knowledge, services, caregivers and helpful resources. Tap into current and potential clients’ needs by creating pinboards like:
- Healthy Recipes: Many home care clients have special dietary needs, and the families of these clients are constantly searching for heart-healthy or diabetes-friendly meals. Pin images of tasty yet healthy recipes that your clients can enjoy on a Healthy Recipe pinboard.
- Exercise Routines for Seniors: The web is full of short workout videos, many geared toward seniors. Pin some exercise videos to help inspire clients to get up and get moving.
- Images from the Agency’s Website: One of the biggest benefits of marketing through Pinterest is that pinning images from your website will lead users right back to your virtual front door. If your agency maintains a blog, pin any images that go with blog posts to a “Blog” pinboard. Have an image that goes along with a Senior Resource page? Pin that as well.
For home healthcare, Facebook’s highly visual Timeline format opens up bigger and better branding opportunities and the ability to share more news and information, all while reaching a broader audience outside the typical referrals. Some great ways for home healthcare marketers to use Facebook include:
- Show off Your Caregivers: When family members begin the search for home care for a loved one, a top question is “Who will be caring for my mom, dad, etc.?” Providing potential clients with images of your caregivers in action can give them a sense of security and build trust. (Be certain to get releases from your caregivers to use their image.)
- Patient and Patient Family Member Testimonials: There is no stronger testimonial than one from a happy patient. With Facebook, agencies can post photos of their patients along with testimonials to showcase their happy patients and families. (Beware of HIPAA and get releases from any clients prior to showcasing them.)
- Showcase Your Services: Along with the agency website, Facebook is a great place to highlight service offerings.
- Promote Upcoming Events: Many agencies are involved in or sponsor local events such as Alzheimer’s or breast cancer walks. Facebook can help gain more attention for these community events through event postings and promotions.
Following the visual trend, LinkedIn has added several new features to its company pages to allow for more eye-catching pages and updates. The ability to create a nice banner graphic and use larger images with your LinkedIn updates gives company pages a fresher look and a new way to boost their brand! Take a look at this snapshot from the corecubed LinkedIn page to see what we mean.
Google+ may still not have the amount of followers that Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn have yet, but it does have tons of potential for companies to market themselves visually (as well as the all powerful SEO benefit!) Learn more about that here.
Explore the limitless ways to use social media to market home healthcare agencies, and give your marketing the essential visual boost that it needs to get attention in today’s crowded marketplace. Get with the visual social media movement, and you will be impressed with results in a short time! Need some help? Contact our social media experts today!