How to capture the full impact of social media on healthcare


The road to wellness isn’t linear. Neither is the road to social media maturity. The COVID pandemic was an unanticipated crisis for the healthcare industry, but one that opened organizations’ eyes to the crucial business impact digital and social media marketing can have.

Social can tackle some of the biggest problems the healthcare industry is facing. Employer branding efforts can help ease some of the nurse attrition pains providers are feeling. When new threats emerge, healthcare organizations can take to social media to educate the public on how to protect themselves. When medical misinformation starts brewing, social media is a direct line to setting the record straight with patients.

Social media can impact every arm of your business. But an effective social strategy isn’t possible without strategic investments. Attempting to integrate social media without investing in the proper tools and infrastructure is setting yourself up for failure. When healthcare organizations choose the right partner, they get back precious time and resources to focus on the most important objective: connecting communities with quality care.

The rising importance of social media for healthcare

Healthcare companies have to educate, understand and regularly communicate with their communities to make an impact. Unlike other industries, those communities span generations, each with specific platform and message preferences.

Public health threats don’t care about content calendars, meaning that healthcare companies have to be prepared at all times. As misinformation proliferates and breeds mistrust, healthcare professionals need to be able to engage in dialogues and fact-check to keep their communities safe and informed.

Managing these priorities requires consistent strategy and execution, understanding of and communication with your audience and frequent reporting on your progress. None of that is possible with legacy social media management solutions. Social media for healthcare is complex. Companies have to invest in advanced social media management resources to minimize the chaos.

3 ways to maximize the ROI and impact of social media on healthcare

Healthcare companies that intentionally embed social media throughout their operations will reap the ROI—but not without the right infrastructure.

Sprout Social commissioned a Total Economic Impact™ study conducted by Forrester Consulting to quantify the potential impact of investing in Sprout for social media management. Here are findings from the Forrester study, along with three ways an intuitive platform like Sprout helps generate concrete business results.

1. Customize your content strategy

Audience segmentation can get complicated quickly. Every demographic needs healthcare and every demographic uses social media. Multi-generational synchronicity across your content strategy is key. The family matriarch who primarily uses Facebook requires a different touch than the cousin who spends his time on Twitter or the daughter who is only scrolling on TikTok. Tailoring the message to both the audience and the platform becomes overwhelming without the right tools. For organizations that manage multiple profiles, it gets exponentially harder.

Sprout Social gives organizations the flexibility to tailor their content for each account—plus the peace of mind that all teams are adhering to a cohesive strategy and tone.

According to the Forrester study, over three years, Sprout’s centralized platform enhanced social media teams’ productivity by 55% in year 3, driving a total of $973,000 in savings for a composite organization representative of interviewed customers.

Large health systems with profiles for different locations and divisions can ensure their team is rowing in the same direction. For example, our publishing suite and Asset Library make it easy to duplicate posts and quickly tweak the message based on platform and audience. Since your entire social team is in the same tool, everyone has visibility into your overarching messaging and can align their tasks accordingly.

A screenshot of Sprout Social's create new campaign feature, where users input information about a campaign—from the name to the duration to the brief.

Sprout’s campaign management features simplify the burden of planning, monitoring and optimizing social content initiatives across your team. Campaigns allow you to group posts into categories, whether you’re tracking by audience, subject, event or something unique to your organization. Campaign reporting gives quick visibility into performance in real time or retroactively.

2. Retain patients with efficient, effective service

Healthcare moves fast and companies don’t have the luxury of being uninformed. When every second counts, your team needs swift access to what matters.

One dissatisfied patient airing their grievances on social media can quickly turn into thousands. If the story strikes a chord, your inbox can become flooded with inquiries and complaints from people throughout your community. According to our 2023 Content Benchmarks Report, health, wellness and fitness brands receive an average of 120 inbound engagements per day—and those messages only increase on a news-heavy day. When something goes wrong, customer service teams can become overwhelmed and run the risk of sending out inconsistent replies or not responding at all.

Sprout’s Smart Inbox is prepared for these situations, with customizable controls to let you know when an issue or crisis is unfolding. Spike Alerts can give you time to catch your breath and come up with a response plan while Automated Rules can help you manage the load. If there’s a touchy subject that comes up frequently, you can use saved replies to make sure you hit the right notes every time. Our integration with Salesforce Service Cloud gives customer service teams relevant patient context to guide their interactions, without having to leave the platform.

A screenshot from Sprout's platform that demonstrates message spike detection. In the screenshot, you can see the Smart Inbox and a message alert that reads: We started detected a spike 5 minutes ago.

The piece of mind Sprout Social provides for customer service teams is immeasurable. The cost and time savings are not.

According to the Forrester study, customer service representatives saved over two hours a week with Smart Inbox, a $142,000 cost savings over three years for the composite organization.

3. Unite internal teams with a centralized tool

With a breadth of audiences to engage and campaigns to manage, healthcare social teams don’t have the time to spend maintaining disparate tools and manual processes.

Whether planning posts for a major initiative or a crisis response, you need a streamlined content approval workflow that doesn’t involve emailing documents or multiple Slack messages. Organizations also need accessible data to understand and continuously optimize the impact of their social strategy. Identifying what’s working, what to tweak and what to eliminate is vital—but it shouldn’t take hours poring over spreadsheets to find out.

Partnering with Sprout has helped us to keep pace with the pulse of our audience. Our strategy is most effective when we can clearly see what’s working or not working, where our audience is growing and how we stack up with our competitors. All this data is at our fingertips in Sprout—from the 30,000 ft. big picture view to the granular performance of a single post.

Rosanna Jensen
Marketing Content Manager, MultiCare Health System

By uniting your social operations into the same platform, Sprout Social shows you the whole picture, whether you’re publishing, messaging, auditing or analyzing. Avoiding Excel band-aids frees your team up to be creative and reduces the risk of burnout.

According to the Forrester study, moving away from disjointed legacy solutions and centralizing social media needs in Sprout Social drove $473,000 in savings over three years for the composite organization.

Realize the ROI of social media for healthcare

Organizations responsible for delivering always-on care need technology that can keep up. Healthcare teams have to invest in resources that unlock the full power of social across their organizations, be it to engage communities, retain patients or recruit future talent.

Learn more about how Sprout generates significant social media ROI by downloading The Total Economic Impact™ of Sprout Social study.

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