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Social Media Campaigns: Having the Courage to go Multi-channel

How people access and consume information online continues to evolve. To achieve your communication goals, simple static websites will probably no longer suffice. People online cross multiple channels and companies must do the same; but in a conservative and highly regulated industry, before a multi-channel campaign, courage is required.


While just a few years ago we probably would have gone directly to the doctor with a symptom we were experiencing, today we are more likely to go online first, using a variety of channels to search for the cause and possible assistance.

Indeed, one study showed that 88 percent of Americans turn to the web, apps, and other sources to get more information about a health problem before visiting a professional1, and numbers are likely to be similar in other countries. What’s more, it isn’t just Google searches and traditional web pages, it is social media as well.

More than 40% of consumers say that information found via social media affects the way they deal with their health.2 This trend is only going to increase with younger generations. 18 to 24 year olds are more than two times as likely than 45 to 54 year olds to use social media for health-related discussions.2

Denk an Dich KeyVisual

Patient groups and other stakeholders have spotted the trend and have established many great primary sources of information on Facebook, Twitter, discussion forums and so on. This makes it all the more important for healthcare companies to have a presence on these channels. Integrated awareness social media campaigns should address the needs of users and cover more than one channel.

Look after yourself

A good example is the awareness campaign “Denk an Dich” (look after yourself). Throughout 2015, this campaign disseminated information on the links between depression and cognitive dysfunction across a wide range of online platforms. As well as a microsite, which acted as an important anchor for the campaign, a YouTube channel gave patients the chance to describe their personal experiences of living with the illness.

In addition, using the hashtag #notjustsad on Twitter, well-known blogger Jana Seelig played a vital role. She was instrumental in making it possible to reach important influencers via the Twitter channel “denkpression”, initiated especially for the campaign. Google+ served as an information channel for journalists. They were invited to a press conference online with renowned neurologist Prof. Dr. Tillmann Krüger using the “Hangout on Air” tool. He outlined the possible cognitive impairments of depression and subsequently took questions from participants.

Professional communities – the direct line to doctors

It is not only patients but doctors who are online using various social media channels. Doctors have adopted and incorporated digital communications into their day-to-day lives. Indeed, 35% of doctors now say information from peers on Twitter can influence treatment decisions.3

Professional networks such as coliquio or DocCheck have made it possible for experts to discuss specialist issues with colleagues and exchange experiences. They also offer healthcare companies a unique chance to address their topics to key target groups and enter into a direct dialogue with them.

Learning by doing for better results

Social media campaigns are already common practice in the healthcare industry and have been proven to be effective. We have learned that those companies who have the courage to take on a well-constructed campaign across multiple social media channels can be well rewarded. But the courage to try something new must be there.

Laura Geisreiter & Ross Williams

Laura Geisreiter is part of the antwerpes social media lab with a focus on community management and content marketing. She also concentrates on the conception, creation and targeted deployment of social videos.

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  1. http://antwr.ps/kd2tws
  2. http://antwr.ps/4pagbn
  3. Digital marketing: piecing together the personalisation puzzle