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Social Media in Healthcare….

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The industry I work in is very particular in guideline and rules that they must oblige to especially since we do work with the state. Working in the marketing department we do use the basic strategies to grow business and go off a budge every quarter but unlike other companies I have worked for there are limitations to what we can do to help market our business to our target audience which is low income families who look to us to help them be able to provide a good health care system for their children.  A lot of us may take this for granted, we may have decent jobs which provides a healthcare plan as a benefit for working with that company or putting in those long hours so in return we are provided a medical plan and can be able to provide a decent healthcare for our children. Then there are those families who work just to get by to provide the most basic needs that a family needs to get by and they think about a doctor’s office only when their children get sick. That’s where my company comes a long, working in the marketing department we do utilize typical marketing strategies on how to gain more membership and retain our membership but we are also VERY aware we are limited to what we can use as a marketing campaign. Social media, the easiest and most affordable marketing plan out there, it is free to create a Facebook page, a Twitter account and of course You Tube but due to our regulations and compliance guidelines we are limited to use these options. We do have a Facebook page with about 1500 likes, now for a company that isn’t to high but as a company we don’t count on Facebook as much as we count on being out in the community talking to our target audience but we do utilize it for the fact it is a way to reach our members and community partners.

A great example that I can use is Twitter, a coworker of mine is a marketing representative  in our rural service area of Texas and for anyone who has driven in my wonderful, large state can understand that it takes forever to drive to one side of the state to the other but this representative is responsible for covering about 30 counties in her market. We do sponsorships and foundations as a company and this is a big deal for us especially at the end of the year with our Foundation Pieces, she used Twitter to locate a non-profit agency in one of these small towns to nominate them for their work they do in the community and what they can provide to the public for a Foundation through our company. When I spoke to the organization’s main contact she was so happy to hear about this and mentioned how she found out that they were found on Twitter. It is honestly a great feeling hearing from these organizations on how much they appreciate any dollar amount they are given as they solely relies on special funding from the state and companies like us. Just like Facebook our companies Twitter account has about 1,000 followers but we are a HMO for Medicaid and Medicare as compared to Cigna which is a commercial insurance company they have about 8,000 followers. My industry does rely on social media applications but not to the full extent as commercial companies do, we have offices in 13 states but only one office uses and has access to update these accounts on Twitter and Facebook while we focus on being out in the community reaching out to people who may need helpful information and once they can become familiar with who we are then they will want to start following us on Twitter or see what healthy tips we may have on our Facebook account.

Social Media tools to help start a small business

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With all those social media tools out there it is hard to decide which one is best for you to use for your business. Is your business small? Do you see it growing or do you want it to grow to where you will eventually get an office or move out of the one you are now and can hire more people. Some tools that I have come across on seem to be very useful, especially if you are just starting out and want to be successful in the social media pool. I am not that familiar with Twitter but just recently I am trying to learn what all you can do or who you can follow.  I like to know what is going on in the world while at the same time I want to know what is the latest gossip on some of the Hollywood stars. But most of all I like to continue to learn about new marketing tools to use and how to use them successfully. Now these two social media tools I find very useful to novice’s like me. Managefilter is a very useful tool for someone who wants to use Twitter more efficiently, for example using this tool you can track to see who may have unfollowed you. With this I see a great retention opportunity; it could be a customer who was not happy with their most recent purchase or service they received. The last thing you want them to do is go and give bad reviews about you or your company. So with using Managefilter you can try using that tool as a retention piece and you can also sort your follows and following list by a range of criteria. What is also very helpful is you can find out when most of your followers are online and schedule tweets appropriately with a power post feature. To me that is a great tool to benefit from, if you are having a very busy day and don’t have a chance to tweet about a special you are doing for the next day or an important update, you can schedule them to be posted without you even needing to log in or using your app on your phone for Twitter.

Another great social tool is the Tagboard, you can search or monitor keywords (hash tags) across multiple social media channels. For example I typed Healthcare because that is an industry I am very interested in and it got so many tweets or articles. What makes it even better you can reply right from Tagboard and not have to get onto Twitter or even Instagram. With this tool I see it being very useful for a small business as you can tweet something through your Twitter account then type if your hashtage and monitor it from a different angle or see what other businesses are saying about your same exact topic or get an idea of what your competitor is doing. There are so many social media tools you can use but if you are like me and just starting to learn all what you can do with Twitter, these would be a great start!