Established hospitals and clinics are comfortable focusing on traditional metrics. They expect that sales agents (facilitators, travel agents, and tour operators) and traditional media buys to promote to their target markets and drive immediate sales.
Social media for any business is a longer-term sales cycle than traditional sales, but in social media for medical tourism is proving to be far more effective.
In medical tourism, the objective of social media is not to make an immediate sale. It’s about building relationships that drive potential and repeat customers love your brand and your products, trust your authority and position your company as the clear choice when it comes time to make their medical tourism purchase decision.
Social media for medical tourism marketing requires a strategy to continuously interact. If a person is your fan/follower for 3 months, interacting with your content, discussing how they benefited from your care or counsel, their personal story about their outcomes and their satisfaction, and what they enjoyed most about their medical tourism experience – they will convince others to select your business or destination over the competition.
There are six distinct ways to measure and achieve return on Social Media engagement investment:
What is reach?
Reach is the number of unique individuals who have seen social media content published by a medical tourism provider on a social network. For example, if you post a status update on Facebook and 700 people saw your post, you had a reach of 700. This means that you were able to deliver the specific update to 700 potential customers. What did they learn in exchange for their time and curiosity?
When people comment or share what they found on your social media platforms that interested them and that will interest their friends, family and followers. Consider this a form of free publicity. In reality, it is only free when someone share’s it. It costs the author /publisher an investment of money and time to create and post and build a social media presence in the internet. What is the return on investment (ROI) of the content you authored or published?
Fans and Followers
When medical tourism patients or prospects convert into fans and followers, a relationship is developed which enables a casual 24/7 marketing channel with them. You have the ability to literally promote your spa, hospital, clinic or destination to them whenever you want – which was never possible before. How will you nurture and grow this new relationship?
One of the most popular ways to build fans and followers is to run a sweepstakes. In 2009, the Medical Tourism Association tried this method by holding a sweepstakes for a medical tourism surgery. It made some key mistakes with this approach. First, winners were not published. This left people wondering what happened. Second, the deadline for entries was on one date and the “monthly drawing” was not maintained, such that the February drawing was still up and there was no result posted months later. While this approach might work with a chocolate confectioner, running a sweepstakes for a free gallbladder surgery probably won’t attract a large number of followers or fans.
In order to get your customers involved and attracting new fans, encourage them to share their user-generated content on your social network site. You should not, however, request fans and followers to “like” or “follow” your posts. New Facebook algorithms will classify you as “a spammer” if the robot readers can identify this word pattern in your post or photo meme. Instead, add value in that which you post so that fans and followers organically like or follow or share your post.
User-generated content includes posts, comments, star ratings, and reviews on social media platforms. User-generated content (UGC) is not difficult to enable on your website. It can be highly cost-effective when it works. User-generated content allows your online visitors to boost
your marketing by increasing the interactivity of your site. Google and other search engines award extra points for this in their algorithms.
User-generated content can enhance relevance, domain authority (DA) and page authority (PA) as well as help you provide a trustworthy and personalized source of information. Allowing medical tourism patients, visitors and prospects to share their opinion or ask questions on your site can enrich their online experience and make it more interesting for visitors to browse your site. Keeping new content continually appearing on your site can also help you increase your rankings in search engines. To achieve success with social media for medical tourism, you need a strategy and tactical plan to execute the strategy and maintain momentum and “share of voice”.
By create engaging questions for discussion you invite readers and visitors to your site or social media platform to engage. When you share your knowledge, you help your followers. If they aren’t interested in and don’t engage in what you have to say, they aren’t real followers. So often, medical providers solicit their employees to follow or become fans. That’s tantamount to “shilling” because if they don’t react, respond, contribute to the social media experience with user generated content, why are they there? Shills are people who are engaged in covert advertising. The shill attempts to spread buzz by personally endorsing the product in public forums with the pretense of sincerity, when in fact he is being paid for his services or presence.
While it takes more effort to learn how to participate and influence the conversation, you must fine the right balance between listening, sharing your own information and relevant content. Don’t attempt to grow user-generated content if you don’t plan to recognize people’s comments by retweeting or replying to them, or if you simply don’t have time to keep up the momentum.
Gathering New Email Addresses
It is important to send emails that are relevant to your visitors’ and patients’ interests in order to make your content more personalized and
your correspondence more likely to be opened. Your biggest lead source of email addresses is usually website visitors and a common way
to get their email addresses is through sign-up forms on a landing page or in a sidebar widget. Segment users by different data points to send highly targeted email campaigns to drive higher open rates, click-through rates and sales. Tell subscribers what to expect when they give you their email address.
Efficient & Effective Advertising
Advertising is paid promotion. Target ads to individuals and groups of individuals by creating personas that take into consideration these 11 different data points:
• Location (Country, State, City and Zipcode)
• Precise Interests: These are pulled from users profile activities, interests, job titles, education, preference lists, pages they have liked and groups they belong to.
• Broad Categories: These are pre-organized personas you create by examining basically anything a target or existing customer does, clicks on, or writes anywhere where you collect data.
• Connections: Users who like specific Facebook items on your Facebook Fan Page.
• Friends of Connections: Users whose friends like specific Facebook Pages.
• Interested In: This allows a business to target Facebook users according to the gender they are interested in for a disease, condition, cause, or other health matter they have disclosed.