If you’re working as a PR expert within the healthcare industry, keeping up with the latest trends in the digital world is no longer optional.
To do your job effectively, you must know about and understand the most effective things you can do to manage the public perception of the healthcare facility you are working with.
With that being said, we understand how difficult it can be to keep up with the latest digital trends in healthcare. Forever changing, it can feel like you’re just coming to terms with things before new trends overtake current ones.
For that reason, we have put together this article to keep you up to date with the latest digital trends in healthcare that you must know as a healthcare PR below.
Reviews – They’re More Important Than Ever
Reviews have always been important in certain consumer facing industries like hospitality and retail, but in recent years, digital reviews have grown in importance in the healthcare industry, too.
This replaces traditional word of mouth marketing, and allows more people to see the reviews of your practice—even if they don’t know the person who has left the review!
The good news is that, in an analysis of 4999 online physician ratings, the majority of patients will give favourable feedback towards healthcare providers.
As someone working in PR, however, you will know that it only takes one crisis for these reviews to completely flip on their head.
For this reason, PR experts should regular check online directories and healthcare review websites to see what people are saying about their facility.
This allows PR experts to control the public narrative about their facility. It also allows you to identify shortfalls tied to your company’s performance. If yiu see what people are saying about you online – especially negative feedback – you can solve problems from those who feel they received less than an ideal experience before it turns into a big PR crisis.
Voice Search Is Growing In Popularity
Despite initial reluctance to use voice technology when it was first introduced to the consumer market, it’s seen an exponential growth over the last few years.
To put into perspective, more than 20% of all online searches now come from voice technology assistants like Siri and Alexa. By 2020, we can expect to see over 200 billion voice searches per month using voice technology.
Though these devices are commonly used for tasks like listening to music, checking a shopping list or asking about the weather, they are also growing in popularity in the healthcare industry, too.
In fact, many of these smart devices can now be used to diagnose common conditions, monitor health conditions, and check out availability and wait times in hospitals across the country.
Voice search technology can also be used to find articles on the internet that answer the questions being asked, which could be big news for the healthcare field as it provides facilities with another way to share their message and raise brand awareness in a quicker, more concise manner.
Content Marketing Is Still King
Working in healthcare, you will know that content marketing isn’t a new thing. Having been used by PR experts to share press releases and other exciting news about facilities, you’re probably more than familiar with it by now.
Unfortunately, there seems to have been an attitude shift within the industry that means some people are ditching content marketing in favor of other methods that catch people’s attention spans quicker.
While the above method does work, it’s important to remember that content marketing still has its place within the healthcare industry.
With so much competition out there, however, it’s important to understand what content you should be writing about.
According to Digital Authority Partners, the best way to improve your content marketing and healthcare PR strategy is to write tutorials on topics relevant to your target audience.
This tells readers exactly what value they are getting from the content they are reading, and the usefulness they can expect if they are to become a paying patient at your facility further down the line.
Micro Influencers Are More Important Than Macro Influencers
Since embracing digital marketing, healthcare agencies have been blinded by the opinion that macro influencers are the best way to see the most return for your advertising.
In 2019, however, opinions are beginning to change as people embrace the impact micro influencers can have on their brands.
This is partly due to the buying followers scandal of 2018, where many large influencers were found to be purchasing their followers or using shady tactics to increase their social media metrics fast. These methods led to low engagement rates, and do very little for brand awareness.
It’s also due to evidence that shows that micro influencers tend to have smaller, dedicated audience who have far better engagement rates than larger accounts.
By connecting with healthcare-related influencers in your niche, you are giving yourself more opportunities for the message you want to share to be done so for a lot less money (check out this guide to influencer marketing for more in-depth discussions on the topic).
This is great in situations like PR crises, where you want to find your allies and get people on side as soon as possible. It can also help with speeding up the process of swaying people’s opinions and helping them to see the positive side of what your organization does within a smaller amount of time.
As the healthcare industry catches up with the digital age, digital trends are bound to change the way that PR experts work in order to keep the healthcare business they support at the top of their game.
These adaptations include understanding that the healthcare industry has less control than ever over its public image. However, with clever strategies, you can help to sway reviews in your favor by quickly dealing with customers who are unhappy with your services.
With that being said, it’s also important not to forget that old digital strategies are still effective today, and can still be used as part of an effective PR strategy, even in 2019.
Guest bio: Codrin Arsene is the CEO @ Digital Authority Partners, a healthcare marketing agency