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Social Media for Healthcare - The Bookmark-Worthy Guide

Warning: Who’s attending your social media moderation may drastically affect the financial health of your practice.

Your communications department, public relations team, and marketing pros may be wonderful in their niche, but putting social media moderation in their wheelhouse is like asking a cook to repair a stove.

It’s one thing to fire off some tweets or update a Facebook page, but quite another to stay on top of mentions for not only your organization, but all those practicing in it. With the proliferation of doctor-rating sites, plus Yelp, Facebook, public forums, Twitter, Pinterest, and the countless other social media platforms, managing mentions can be overwhelming. If this is true even for bricks-and-mortar or online shops with just a single brand name to contend with, it’s even harder for medical practices with several, if not dozens, of professionals conducting business under its name.

But that’s where ICUC excels.


Why You Need Pros

It’s easy to shrug off social media as uncontrollable, unimportant chatter. It’s not. Each platform has a different shelf-life for messaging and different ways to moderate or de-escalate communications.

Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Snapchat, Instagram, public forums, Yelp, Google Reviews – all these domains need different oversight, different messaging, different skills. But online moderation is a ride that never stops, it’s always on the go, because the web never sleeps. Beyond those platforms, what about blog posts, industry-specific review sites, and the countless smaller social sites? How can an in-house team effectively manage all these in real time, and never miss things?

Short answer? They can’t. They won’t.

But that’s what we do. That’s ICUC’s world. Our global team of 600 moderation experts work 24/7/365. We’re never down. We’ve created industry-leading software with cutting-edge algorithms and deep-learning so we’re on top of global mentions for our clients. We even have the tools to monitor your practitioners’ mentions too. Still, we don’t just leave it up to machines. We’ve got humans using value-based judgment monitoring our systems every step of the way.


What Our Moderation Gets You

It’s easy to dismiss the internet as the Wild West and to feel like you’re stranded on the high plateau. It’s overwhelming terrain. But look at the ICUC-moderated social platforms for brands like Starbucks and Disney, though, and you’ll soon see that ICUC’s the sheriff around these parts.

We’ve found that a common misconception is that moderation is all about reigning in lawlessness by deleting militant comments, and that’s all, but it’s way more than that.

Moderation is about hearing your customers. It’s engaging, it’s mining the biggest data set you’ve got. It’s real-time analysis about how you’re doing – what’s going wrong, what’s going right, where, and why. It’s actionable information that, when compiled effectively, is invaluable to your operations.

For those thrown into the deep end of monitoring online customer experiences, it’s a jaw-dropping onslaught of information. But ICUC has grown up with the internet. We’ve been doing this since 2002, scaling up our operations every step of the way. Today, we know best practices on how to monitor, escalate, manage, and analyse online interactions so your customers feel heard, and so you get the most benefit from that unfettered data. On top of all that, we’re the best in crisis management online.


But What Do the Numbers Say?

You’re asking yourself, “Is the cost of managing online feedback really justified on top of a communications and marketing team?” Yes. But don’t take our word for it.

Right now, 53% of the planet is on the internet. That’s over 4 billion people. Over 3 billion of them are active in social media, with two-thirds of those considered active Facebook users alone. When you consider mobile, though, it jumps to 5 billion people packing web-enabled phones, with nearly 3 billion of those using social on them.

When you think of those numbers, here’s a staggering statistic: 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a friend’s recommendation. That “online review” can be anything from a LinkedIn status update to a Twitter rant or a Yelp starred rating.

You’ve got to wonder, where do those same users stand when it comes to choosing a medical provider? Do you know?

In a 2017 Consumer Voices Survey, consumers on both ends of the political spectrum said their concerns about access to quality medical treatment have risen sharply. Many question whether they will get care they need when they need it. And, if they do get that care, will it be sufficient, or just the beginning of an expensive revolving door of professional appointments and testing?

The latter is why their first choice is becoming increasingly critical, and why they’re turning to the internet to help them make it.

In their internet searches, what are they hearing about your organization? About those who work for it? About the wait times? The service quality? What kind of confidence have your patients had in their outcomes? What are those patients telling people about their recovery and how they feel about their procedures after the fact?

What if ICUC could tell you all this? How could that change things for you?

While you’re pondering that, what do you think ranks higher in concern for consumers, a hospital or the doctors practicing at it?

According to a 2017 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, doctors got nearly double the review searches performed compared to hospitals.

While hospitals landed about 15% of the peer review search results, the numbers are considerably higher on the practicing side of things. Doctors, specialties, and physicians’ area of clinical expertise all netted about the same share of review searches – between 25% and 28% each. Combined, they outpace hospital review search volume by over 500%.

This tells us something critical – hospital branding may be important, but the hospital is only as good as the sum of its parts.

On just one peer review site, Yelp, in their partnership with ProPublica, they’re not just publishing reviews – they’re sharing average wait times, readmission rates, and quality of communication scores for more than 25,000 nursing homes, hospitals, and clinics. In the United States alone, Yelp has over 115 million monthly users as of March, 2018. Then there are stand-alone sites like RateMDs, Healthgrades, Vitals, and ZocDoc, all hosting reviews.

Based on these numbers, providers ignoring that data pool are in trouble as the market grows ever more competitive. But it’s not just about web traffic numbers; it’s about spending choices too.


Beyond Perception: Do Reviews Really Matter?

Some hospitals and medical practitioners fatally think their services are a necessity, rather than consumer preference. They think they’re protected by being the provider of choice for certain insurance brands, but that’s a false assumption.

In 2011, the Health Care Cost Institute found that 7% of out-of-pocket consumer spending on health for care was shoppable, meaning patients could look around for competitive prices on similar services. But you may be shocked to know that a whopping 43% of employer-sponsored insurance-covered spending for the same year was also shoppable in nature.

In dollars, that’s over $225 billion of services that medical consumers kicked the tires on before they spent their money, whether insured or not.

Since then, peer review sites have mushroomed. So where do you stand in the tire-kicking peer-review world of consumer research? Those reviews now matter to the tune of a quarter-trillion dollars a year.

The reality is, rated doctors and clinics get more consideration – and patients – than those who aren’t rated. And, obviously, low ratings can be punitive, but did you realize there are ways to mitigate poor ratings and turn them into an advantage? At ICUC, we understand that negative reviews can pose problems, and we excel at mitigation, but we also believe bad reviews can be an opportunity.

Let us show you how.


Let ICUC Help You

Moderation is exactly what it sounds like – it’s not about censorship or wiping the internet free of mentions, it’s about gaining knowledge and ensuring situations stay in-hand.

All this is just the beginning of who ICUC is, what we do, and how we can help you stay in the game but also improve. Time and time again, we’ve proven to our clients that we’re not just a megaphone for online chatter – we’re a key part in how our clients learn about what’s working, what’s not, and ways to increase revenue.

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