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How Social Media Helps Carolinas HealthCare System Build Healthier Communities

Sharmin Kent November 3, 2017

The healthcare industry has been a little slower than other industries to diversify digital marketing as digital consumer engagement habits change at a rapid rate. But as more patients embrace interacting with their health partners online, healthcare providers are working to meet their audiences where they are.

That’s how Carolinas HealthCare approaches social media. The health system facilitates nearly 12 million patient interactions a year, maintains more than 900 locations, and employs nearly 60,000 people. That’s a lot of audiences to engage with. But the marketing team at Carolinas HealthCare works together to build an authentic online community.

Perfecting Digital Bedside Manner

Katie McKiever is Carolinas HealthCare’s social media manager, and oversees its social presence strategy. Her goal–offering helpful information and engaging with people in real time–appears simple, but achieving it is complex.

“I work with key members of various departments throughout the system to help craft and share our brand stories on social,” said Katie. “I’m also the key person listening and engaging with our patients and members of the community on our brand channels, escalating complaints and questions, and curating content that is posted on social.” She relies on a brand voice that’s conversational, knowledgeable and prompt–all critical parts of serving her community.

Anticipating Trends in Social

Facebook is one of the most effective social channels for Carolinas HealthCare, which means the marketing team uses it as one of the core elements of customer engagement. “Identifying our patient groups and understanding their mindset on social, drive the content creative and action that our content calls our social audience to take,” said Katie.

Additionally, dayparting–posting differentiated content to various groups at specific times of the day–is another strategy that the team uses on Facebook.

“We have key times of day that we’ve learned are good for engagement with our unique audiences, so that’s when we’ll post,” Katie said. Patients searching for health related information can also interact with Carolinas HealthCare in real time to ask questions and learn more about the system’s services.

Facebook still reigns as the most popular and effective social marketing channel for most industries. But Katie is looking ahead and searching for trends that will engage her audiences more quickly and effectively.

“I think interacting with our patients within Facebook Groups will be big,” she said. “We’re sure to diversify and space out similar content or topics so our channels look well-rounded from our audience’s point of view.” Building this kind of community online does more than help patients; it also gives Carolinas HealthCare a window into how they can continually improve their online presence.

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