If Doctors were Social Media Strategists

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I was asked to speak before a class of University of Sydney medical students about building an online presence. It was an intriguing offer as I usually speak before marketers and other social media strategists.

Only to be used when helping people make an informed decision.
Only to be used when helping people make an informed decision.

In preparing for the presentation, I spent a lot of time reviewing the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency (AHPRA) advertising guidelines.  AHPRA’s advertising guidelines are built to support the principles of the profession such as provide care for people.  An example, is how the guidelines champion the benefits of advertising.  The guidelines state “advertising can be a useful way to communicate the services health practitioners offer to the public so that consumers can make informed choices”.

Social Media can be an effective channel to support consumers along their path to making a purchase decision.   But what if businesses adopted medical inspired guidelines to form Social Media marketing strategies?  Here’s some ideas what it could look like if Doctors were Social Media Strategists.

Help consumers make informed choices

Keeping in line with the profession’s purpose, medical practitioners must communicate their services in a manner that helps prospective patients make an informed decision. That means medical practitioners can primarily focus on their qualification and experience.

The AHPRA guidelines prohibit the creation of an unreasonable expectation of beneficial treatment and discourages the indiscriminate or unnecessary use of health services.

For Social Media campaigns, this could be an opportunity to focus on the fit between the solutions your product solves and the insights/needs of the target audience/segment.

Brands can begin to move away from a product centric go-to-market strategy and look at how start-ups go-to-market by establishing a product/market fit.  Assuming the brand can get the product/market fit correct, brands could find greater efficiencies and success using this approach.

With Social networks evolving to become identity platforms, consumer brands can leverage the context of triggers (ex: expectant parents), behaviours (ex: travel intenders) and external stimulants (ex: school holidays and sporting events) to provide the context to creatively communicate the emotive/rational solution.

Invitation to treat

‘Invitation to treat’ is a legal term describing a situation when someone asks the medical practitioner a question (via the practitioner’s interactive online presence) in an effort to access the practitioner’s medical knowledge. The medical practitioner has a duty of care, regardless if the person is not a patient.

For Social Media campaigns, this could translate to a guideline that customer support teams are required to directly address core customer issues on their Social accounts. While Social based customer service teams are standard practice for banks and telcos, all brands (small businesses?) seeking to leverage Social to support commercial objectives should have a dedicated Social based customer service team.  Social support teams should aim to respond to all queries within an hour.

When support becomes a strategic corporate capability

While this post is no more than an academic exercise, it’s great to see real world success when an international brand starts with customer support to build out their Social Media infrastructure. Take five minutes to read how KLM’s ‘care first’ mindset helped it generate $25 million in annual revenue: http://venturebeat.com/2015/05/21/klms-150-social-media-customer-service-agents-generate-25m-in-annual-revenue/

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