Email marketing and social media are two of the most powerful marketing tools for expanding your audience, building your brand, and in turn, growing your practice. The two strategies are best when you use them in conjunction to increase the reach of your content.
Companies that integrate email with social media marketing can build customer loyalty and generate brand recognition.
How to use social media without violating HIPAA
You as a healthcare providers must be careful about how you use social media in order to avoid violating HIPAA by exposing a patient’s protected health information (PHI-protected health information).
There are a number of limitations that covered entities must consider.
So, it’s vital to know what you can—and cannot—say on social media in a HIPAA compliant manner.
Adhere to the following guidelines when using social media to avoid a HIPAA violation:
- Understand what information constitutes PHI
- Never post any information that can be interpreted PHI
- Do not disclose if a patient received or intends to receive any services
- Do not share or allude to any specific or unique medical cases
- Use broad terms that address “all patients” and avoid addressing individuals or their situations
- Do not diagnose or describe any prognoses, symptoms or courses of treatment publicly
- Use HIPAA compliant email to contact patients (or potential patients) directly—do NOT send messages to patients either privately or publicly via a social media platform.
To keep it simple: If a patient can be identified, don’t say it on social media!
Thankfully, there is plenty you CAN say online. Here are some HIPAA-friendly types of posts you can integrate into your content:
- Share updates or news about your practice
- Educate the public about popular or timely health topics
- Share health and wellness tips
- Support other local businesses and partners
- Promote events related to your practice
The benefits of social media
Don’t let all the Hippa rules deter you from having a good social media strategy!
More and more people around the globe are using social media. In fact, when it comes to health care, social networks play an important role in everything from information gathering to connecting with people going through similar experiences.
Consider the following:
- 80% of internet users search for health information, and almost 50% would like information about a specific doctor.
- 60% of consumers say they trust doctors’ social media posts.
- More than 75% of Americans use social media to research their health symptoms.
As social media is becoming more integrated into our daily lives, it unveils countless opportunities for medical businesses that are looking to reach out to their target audience.
How to use email marketing without violating HIPAA
The HIPAA Privacy Rule regulates how PHI can be used for marketing. In general, HIPAA requires written authorization before a covered entity can use PHI for marketing purposes.
However, there are many types of communication that HIPAA does not consider marketing.
After all, HIPAA is not intended to restrict providers’ ability to communicate about goods and services that are essential for quality healthcare.
Also, HIPAA doesn’t imply that doctors cannot market to clients—simply that in some instances patient authorization is required.
Also, remember that all marketing emails, including for healthcare purposes, must abide by the CAN SPAM Act as well.
The benefits of email marketing
Email marketing is also a great way to grow your business. The average open rate for healthcare emails is 19.7% with a 2.7% click-through rate, which is above the average for all industries. This goes to show that patients do indeed engage with healthcare emails.
Healthcare email marketing can benefit your practice in many ways. Just check out some of the examples we listed below.
Owning your contacts
There is one major difference between your email subscribers and your social media connections—you don’t own your social media audience.
You might have thousands of followers on Twitter or fans on Facebook, but if you don’t have their email addresses, you could wake up one morning to find that your Facebook business account was deleted. Those people that you worked so hard to find will be gone forever.
The best thing to do is to gain control of your social media audience by converting them into email subscribers.
Stay top of mind
The main goal of your medical practice is to keep people healthy, but you also want to maintain patient relationships for when they need you.
Engaging with patients via email marketing can make sure that you’re their first pick when they need treatment.
Build long-lasting relationships
Email marketing is the best digital marketing channel for healthcare providers to build long-lasting relationships because it gives you a direct line of communication with your patients. When you see them, you build a rapport that makes them feel comfortable. Email lets you extend that trust throughout the year.
How email marketing and social media can work together
Social media marketing is great for reaching new people and email marketing is an effective way to convert followers into patients.
Acquisition strategies often rely on online reviews, advertising, promotions, as well as social media to get new patients. When you get that new patient, you work hard to win their trust and deliver a positive experience, which can be enhanced with an effective email marketing strategy.
The effect of both email marketing and social media will be amplified if you use them together in a coordinated manner. We provide some ideas below.
Build a stronger, cohesive brand
It is important to maintain brand consistency across all communication platforms.
Brand integrity implies that a company is trustworthy and pays attention to detail.
This means having everyone on your team involved in marketing communicate with each other to make sure they strike a similar tone on social media and in your email marketing.
If you are able to sync up the language, you will build more effective branding.
Include links to your social media pages in your email updates
Your email marketing and social media efforts can work together to grow your subscribers, attract a bigger audience, and increase the exposure of your content.
Email marketing can increase your engagement on social media by reminding subscribers that your brand has an active social community.
- Put links in your social media posts and also in your email updates so that subscribing to your profiles is a one-click decision.
Leverage social media to increase email marketing subscribers
Many of your followers on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter are either current patients or potential patients who want to hear from you. Add a link to a signup landing page on your various profiles so they can start receiving your email updates.
PS: Remember that your signup landing page must be HIPAA compliant too!
You can also encourage social media followers to sign up for your mailing lists by reminding them what kind of content you share or promotions you offer to inspire them to join.
Wondering about what kind of information patients are looking for? Get started here:
How to Write an Effective Healthcare Email Newsletter.
When people opt-in to your email list, your business then has a more direct and effective way of communicating with them than on social media.
Also, since they opted in, you are not limited in the types of email marketing you can send to patients, as we explained above.
Recycle your content
It’s pretty easy to recycle content between email and social media marketing channels.
For example, if you maintain a blog for your practice, you want to make sure your patients know when you post new content.
A great way to spread the word is with an email newsletter containing a roundup of recent stories or articles you have published, and you can also share your articles via social media.
As another example, if you use a Twitter thread or a Facebook post to explain something to your audience, the next time you send an email campaign, try linking to that social media posy instead of writing new content. Once again, this will nudge subscribers to follow you on social media.
If it’s too long for a tweet, separate it into multiple tweets, and tell people how they can receive more useful information from you by joining your email list.
Take advantage of social media email digests
Another idea is joining social media groups that are relevant to your practice and post useful content there.
For example, pick a popular group in your medical field on LinkedIn and start participating.
If you add useful insight, potential patients might start following your own social media accounts or join your email list.
The most successful brands are able to integrate all branches of their marketing together to create an amazing customer experience.
Are you ready to take the next step and expand your medical organization’s social media or email marketing footprint? Our award-winning digital marketing team at ModFXMedia is standing by to show you how you can do just that. Contact us today to schedule your discovery session.
🔸️Why you’re here, read how your Medical practice Can Make 30K in just 30 Days! We share with you our 10 important Key Factors that we have personally used to help other practices accomplish this!