Social Media Marketing for HealthTech Companies
Social media users have more than doubled since 2015. Pew Research reports seven out of every ten people access Facebook on a regular basis. Posts on social media can cause massive surges in business or take down an individual’s reputation.
For B2B companies, and for HealthTech companies specifically, social media can be an effective means of recruiting and nurturing leads, but is not utilized to its fullest potential.
In this article, we will examine:
- Purposes for Social Media in HealthTech Marketing
- Organic Social Media Strategy for HealthTech Companies
- The Pros and Cons of the Major Social Media Networks for HealthTech Marketing
- How Fifteen Leading HealthTech Companies are Winning—and Losing—in Social Media
These seven purposes all feed into your ultimate need: building your business.
- Reputation Management. Prospective and current clients are talking about you, your products, and your competitors online — and you should be tuned into these conversations.
- Customer Service. More than ever, clients depend on social media for customer service, especially for quick questions and status report updates.
- Public Relations. Control your voice and your message, and take it directly to your clients and prospects. When other agencies and clients share your content, it is free (and borderline effortless) PR.
- Brand Awareness. You can show and talk about aspects of your brand through social. Because it takes an average of eight touches with a prospect to make a sale, social media can help facilitate the sales process.
- Cultivate Evangelists. Who talks about your product? Amplify what they say by liking, commenting on, and reposting their posts. They are your evangelists. You could go further and recruit them as “influencers” online. Your goal: cultivate a community of brand evangelists who are loyal to your brand and are willing to share your content.
- Thought Leadership. If you are truly meeting the needs of your customers, then what you say will resonate with others. That’s leading in the marketplaces—your marketplace.
- Networking. Social media networking is important to building personal brands for the individuals at your company. Your inside and outside sales teams, leadership, and support teams can all benefit from healthy social media interaction with potential clients, existing customers, and industry peers. Social media can be a turbocharged engine for appointment-setting prior to live or virtual events.
This article looks at how to use corporate and individual social media profiles to raise awareness, recruit leads, and nurture them as potential customers. In other articles, we have discussed paid social media approaches.
Social Media strategy requires four major components.
1. Understand Your Audience
How well do you know who sits around the buying table at the health systems and others you target? The buying table has grown larger and younger in the last few years directing HealthTech companies to take a multipronged approach to marketing.
We help each of our clients define or refine their Buyer Matrix, our proprietary tool for mapping specific buyer problems to our clients’ solutions. A buyer persona is a mere photograph compared to the Buyer Matrix which is like a full-body MRI combined with a detailed psychological profile.
If you don’t understand how your buyers’ problems interact with your solution, don’t invest any time in social media right now. Dive into research around your buyer’s needs. Take an empathetic approach to how you will answer those problems and questions. This essential work will inform all of your content production, including social media.
On the other hand, if you have that deep and empathetic understanding of your buyers, add to your buyer profile with social media-specific research.
Pick your top five current customers and deconstruct their social media involvement.
- Name everyone who was a part of the purchase decision
- What percentage of the decision do you attribute to each person?
- Note age group (and other demographic data if you wish) for each contact
- Look each person up on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others if you desire.
- Note how often they post to their own accounts. You may have to connect with/friend them to see their activity.
- On LinkedIn, you can click on “Activity” then “All Activity” to see which posts are liked and commented on.
- On Twitter, you can click into a profile and see tweets written as well as tweets the profile has liked.
- On Instagram, you can click on an account and see posts, reels, videos, and any other posts where the account is tagged.
- Analyze the data comparing job titles and, if desired, other demographic information.
2. Identify Which Networks Influence Your Buyers Best
The results of your social media research will help you know where and how to use social media posts to reach potential customers. Stay on top of the social media trends and conduct this research on an annual basis to make sure you don’t miss opportunities.
If you have the bandwidth to explore new social media networks, do so, but it’s more important to fill the feeds where your buyers are than play with the shiny new toys.
3. Integrate with Other Content Production
You don’t have to recreate the wheel to gain top of mind on social media. Every piece of content you produce—blog articles, guides, videos, webinars, white papers, etc.—are the fodder for your social media posts.
Eight Ideas to Multiply Your Content on Social
In the Content Matrix you can download for free, we talk about multiplying and dividing your content. Here are ten suggestions. What would you add?
- Pull one or more quotes and one or more statistics from each article, podcast episode, and webinar to create “quote cards” that can be used on social networks. Ask your art department to create a design template so that they can output the optimal sizes for each network.
- Use Headliner or another app to create audiograms of your podcast.
- Pull 30–60 second clips from your videos to promote the full-length ones. Apps are available to format them in multiple size formats.
- Have the authors of your material post excerpts to LinkedIn pointing back to your site. This will increase your traffic and the value of your author’s profile.
- Create a thirty-word summary of each piece of content. Then, provide the summary and a link to the full piece to your entire staff via Slack so they can post easily on their own profiles.
- Ask the content creator to take a single idea from a piece of content and shoot a 60 -120 second cellphone video explaining the idea.
- Use the poll feature built into LinkedIn or Twitter to create a poll or quiz about the top of your content. After several have voted, use the comments to point interested parties to the full piece of content.
- If you quote from other sources in your content, post short quotes from or descriptions of the content and point social followers to the original sources as well as your piece quoting them. Tag the original writers and sources in your posts.
In 2019, I added several fields to our blog article template to facilitate our social posting. As your writers produce articles, they are in the thick of the content. Ask them to go ahead and write email copy, tweets, and LinkedIn posts. Ask them to highlight quotes and statistics in the article that would make great quote cards. Don’t invest more time than necessary.
4. Allocate Financial and Human Resources
If you are not intentional about social media, you won’t be able to use it for lead generation. Other priorities will take over and your feeds will be full of fits and starts. If you have the budget for scheduling software like CoSchedule, invest in it. (You may already have powerful scheduling options in HubSpot, Act-On, or other automation platforms.)
When you assign social posts to team members, make sure they track and report on time specifically invested in social. Done well, it takes more time than you may anticipate. Your social manager or team must also plan for and track time spent in engagement—liking, commenting, and reposting customers’ and prospects’ posts plus responding to anyone who does so on your feeds.
There are more than 180 social media platforms available. Pew Research highlights 10 that are used by more than 10% of the US adults.
- Facebook (69%)
- Instagram (40%)
- Pinterest (31%)
- LinkedIn (28%)
- Snapchat (25%)
- Twitter (23%)
- WhatsApp (23%)
- TikTok (21%)
- Reddit (18%)
- Nextdoor (13%)
In our research (below), HealthTech companies are concentrating their efforts on the following in descending order:
LinkedIn: The Professional Network
LinkedIn has always been known as the “professional network,” solely dedicated to making connections in the professional space. It is the richest environment for B2B companies making up 50% of B2B social media interaction. 80% of all B2B leads come from LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a content marketing powerhouse. 92% of all B2B companies including LinkedIn in their content distribution.
One of LinkedIn’s greatest advantages is targeting customers via job title. Compared to other social media, LinkedIn users are much more likely to update their job information on a regular basis. This allows detailed (albeit expensive) targeting based on role, company, industry, and more.
To ensure your content gets seen, you’ll want to utilize both the power of your brand profile and the profiles of your employees. Here are some tips for success:
- Post on a regular basis to your company’s main account. We recommend twice a day to ensure you show up in the news feeds of those who follow your brand. Most HealthTech companies post much less.
- Use engaging visuals! Posts with a visual component get more engagement than those without.
- Post articles using LinkedIn’s article feature. As mentioned above, ask your content creators to do so in their profiles. When their articles are published, they will show up in their feeds. Because only a small fragment of LinkedIn users have published an article via the network’s free tool (and it is favored by algorithms) this could be an easy way to drive traffic and engagement. You can add their posts to your feed and/or post links to the articles on your website.
Encourage your company’s leadership and sales teams to share content on their personal profiles. Because LinkedIn is about networking, you’ll want to maximize the networks of the individuals at your company to grow your reach organically and obtain new followers.
Cons to LinkedIn
Most complaints about LinkedIn arise when comparing it to other networks, however for the B2B user, LinkedIn has few downsides.
- Spam. Many users deploy LinkedIn’s message platform to send unrequested and disconnected messages to others as a sales tactic. InMessage can work, but those who use it poorly can block those who use it well.
- Information overload. Like any platform, LinkedIn can suck time and pull you down rabbit holes. Many users find groups to be the best way to spend time and gain benefit from LinkedIn.
- Expense. The tailored segments you can target for ads are well worth the money, but they’re more expensive than any other platform. You get what you pay for. Also, LinkedIn Premium is powerful but many who pay $1000+ per year don’t get the ROI because they haven’t committed to it. If you make the investment, learn and use the tool.
Facebook: The 800 lb. Gorilla
Facebook is to office communication what the water cooler was in decades past. The platform inspires conversations. Its casual, yet open setting provides a public space where a conversation between two people can easily evolve into something bigger.
Facebook algorithms have constantly evolved like Google’s, and have gotten Zuckerberg’s company in a lot of hot water. Organic engagement from brand pages has been declining steadily. Influencers and sports teams have the highest engagement rates at 0.19% and 0.18% respectively. Tech companies clock in at 0.2%.
Facebook’s 2.85 billion users span all age groups. The network skews male at 56%. Facebook has grown wildly outside of the US. India now makes up the bulk of users with Indonesia, Brazil, the Middle East, and Africa gaining ground quickly.
In the US, Pew Research reports, “fully 70% of those ages 18 to 29 say they use the platform, and those shares are statistically the same for those ages 30 to 49 (77%) or ages 50 to 64 (73%). Half of those 65 and older say they use the site.”
A successful Facebook presence combines organic and paid content. Post twice per day and run targeted campaigns to specific audiences.
Create conversations. Don’t use Facebook as a podium to boast about your products — use it to stimulate conversations about industry trends and obstacles. The more individuals who comment, like and share your post, the more likely your post will grow organically. To keep the conversation going, be sure to reply to comments and ask questions. The more comments your post gets, the more Facebook wants to promote it in other individuals’ news feeds! Keep in mind that without creating conversations, your posts will likely go unseen.
In addition to creating organic conversations, using Facebook’s video features can help your company engage prospective and current followers. Live video is shown to have a higher favorability in Facebook’s algorithm, but uploading video natively to Facebook is also a great way to reach new audiences.
Cons to Facebook
Facebook is a wildly successful medium for businesses targeting individuals but struggles as a B2C powerhouse.
- Business pages are public. All posts are public. If someone likes your page, it’s a public notice. This is the worst way Facebook treats businesses; you are not in charge.
- Facebook is recreation. Users don’t go to LinkedIn to see pictures of their connections’ families. Facebook, though, is used for keeping in touch with friends from high school, seeing what your niece is up to, and ooh and ahhing over desserts. You better be sure that your ad inserted into someone’s escape scrolling really meets an acute need or else you will offend a potential customer.
Twitter: Home of the Constant Stream
Twitter is strongest as a news stream and a quick-response customer service platform. Twitter demands a steady stream of content to ensure visibility.
One in five US adults uses Twitter at least once per month. Twitter’s US audience skews male (54%). The overall audience self-identifies as affluent, college-educated, employed, and socially active.
Twitter has moved from a frequent posting app to a constant consumption app. The 500 million tweets sent each day are generated by 10% of accounts. To engage here, your company would need to tweet more frequently—up to 20 times per day. Our recommendation? Post at a frequency you can sustain and measure your results. If you need more traffic, increase the rhythm. If you need greater engagement, work harder on the language and images used.
In general, your Twitter presence should comprise four key components:
- Customer service. Today’s consumer relies heavily on social media to seek resolutions — and there’s plenty of data to back it up. When incorporating customer service into your Twitter strategy, it’s important to be timely and honest. The team member(s) responsible for Twitter should keep the browser open throughout the workday, and be ready to respond to questions and concerns — and be ready to take conversations offline via a direct message or email if you become worried about your brand’s reputation. Just keep in mind that an honest response (even if it isn’t what the customer wants to hear) is better than no response — especially during a product outage or universally known issue.
- News. Twitter still has some content in its roots. Communities rely on Twitter for up-to-the-minute information. When creating a tweet, take inspiration from The New York Times. Craft a good headline, select a compelling image, write your best 280 characters including a link, and add three curated hashtags for higher visibility and connectivity.
- Edutainment. Twitter is a mix of education and entertainment. It is a conversational network that inspires jokes, collaboration, insights, and more. Think of every tweet as a way to start or continue a conversation.
- Reputation Management. Through the use of hashtags and mentions, Twitter provides an ideal platform to keep an eye on what people are saying about your brand online.
Cons of Twitter
Twitter has had several metamorphoses since its inception in 2007. Those changes have made it harder for B2B companies to compete.
- Most companies can’t produce the volume needed. One or two daily posts won’t be enough to get noticed. Can your team realistically produce 10 tweets a day while managing the engagement?
- The Twitterverse can turn dark quickly. Negative user comments are harder to control and are quicker to be spread on Twitter than anywhere else.
Golden Spiral took a deep look at how leading HealthTech companies are using social media. From the list of the top 100 HealthTech companies, we segmented out the top 15 that are dominating the B2B SaaS HealthTech market then dove into their October 2021 activity as a point in time.
We encourage you to use social media to meet the needs and answer the questions of your core audience. Comparing yourself to others is fraught with assumptions and can be detrimental to your efforts. Use these statistics as guidelines or benchmarks, not a measure of your success.
Average number of followers: 30.7 per employee
PaxeraHealth has the richest LinkedIn audience at 85.7 followers per employee.
Average posts: 4.5 per week
AdvancedMD was prolific during October publishing 21.9 posts per week. Most published three to four times per week.
Average likes per post: 33.6
Average comments per post: 0.53
NextGen Healthcare has fostered engagement. They averaged 58 likes and 1.58 comments per post in October 2021.
Best Practices Observed
Tag others in your posts
- Castle Biosciences publishes a series of profiles of staff members called #castlecrew. They tag the employee in their post and they receive high engagement.
- Castle and other companies posted about events where employees presented (e.g., a fundraising road race). By tagging the profiles of those who participated, these companies saw greater engagement.
- GRAIL posted about their team members named in “The Top 25 Women Leaders in Biotechnology of 2021.” The post received about 500 likes while most other posts received 25-50.
Maximize big announcements
- Posts about new partnerships or new leaders received significantly more attention than other posts.
- Joint ventures where both parties post about the announcement win lots of engagement.
Stats, New Resources, and Natively-Embedded Video also earned heavy engagement
Average number of followers: 19.2 per employee
AdvancedMD has spent great energy building its Facebook following. They average 170 followers per employee. Most have about two per employee.
Average posts: 4.3 per week
AdvancedMD was prolific on Facebook, too, with 24 per week. Most posted three to four times.
Average likes per post: 5.1
Medidata outpaced the others with 16 per post. Most say three to six.
Average comments per post: 0.13
Castle Biosciences generated more comments at 0.57 per post
Best Practices Observed
Facebook is the best place to post about your employees, your culture, or to show your support for causes
- Many companies, including PaxeraHealth, participated in events for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Their solution is a leader in detection so they integrated their brand seamlessly into their promotion.
- Medidata Solutions celebrated their founder fulfilling his lifelong dream to travel into space as one of Blue Horizon’s astronauts.
If possible, vary the content among the social platforms
- Castle Biosciences published unique content to Facebook
Average number of followers: 9.7 per employee
GRAIL reports 22.7 Twitter followers per employee.
Average tweets: 5.4 per week
No surprise, AdvancedMD posted on Twitter a stout 24 per week.
Average likes per post: 2.9
Omnicell has the highest engagement at 5.4 likes per tweet.
Average retweets per tweet: 0.95
Meditech broke away with 1.6 retweets per tweet
Comments were scant among the studies companies
Best Practices Observed
Most companies merely duplicated what they were doing on other networks. Twitter is a great place to report on industry and company news, to interact with customers by retweeting what they have to say, and to comment on trends.
NOTE: Only five of the 15 companies studied are using Instagram and three of the five haven’t posted in over a year.
Three companies in the list are getting frequent attention on TikTok. Others should take note because of potential confusion in the marketplace.
#vocera has been viewed 4700+ times on TikTok. Their wearable combined with their platform receives a lot of love from the nurses on the frontlines. Vocera has created a number of “tricks” that playback when someone speaks to the device. These tricks are the source of many funny and encouraging TikToks. I hope that Vocera takes advantage of these in their own social media in the future.
@shelbymeadows1327 Nurses… don’t you get it when you walk out to your car and forget to turn in your Vocera.. call elmo #nursesoftiktok#voceratricks#nursing#fyp ♬ original sound – user8411142475133
Omnicell is beloved by nurses nationwide and they show off on TikTok.
@delinated_journey Getting my medications ready for my next med pass.#nurselife #medpass #omnicell #timeformedicine ♬ Follow the Yellow Brick Road – The Emeralds
At the other end of the spectrum, Meditech has spawned a number of frustrated videos. If Paxera joins the platform, they will have to compete with the high-end THC vape pipe by the same name. AKASA is also the name of a popular anime character with hundreds of videos on TikTok.
The First Thing to Do After Reading this Article
You have a decision to make. How deeply involved do you want to be with social media? Examine your own usage and compare against these fifteen leaders. If you want to meet or exceed these benchmarks, you will need an intentional and thoughtful plan.
Updated from November 6, 2018