The digital communications ecosystem keeps changing. Developing a successful and effective communications strategy is harder than before. Also targeting to reach the right audience at the right time seems impossible with such a massive choice in terms of content, format, and digital tools. And we can’t forget the new technologies’ ubiquitous identity.
Your audience is connected everywhere, at anytime and on any device. It’s fragmented. You think they are just on Facebook – but they are in four to five liquid spaces at the same time.
The question is simple, but the answer is challenging: how do you grab your audience’s attention in the current mediatised age? What’s your strategy to make yourself relevant and appealing in a digitalised ecosystem where (apparently) everyone owns the right to be heard?
As the digital communications strategist for the HealthTech Women UK network, a global non-profit organisation that empowers women leaders to educate communities about the technologies impacting healthcare, communicating in digital healthcare is not that easy.
Social media and online platforms allow you to communicate simultaneously, with more than one person from different countries and on different devices. But this doesn’t guarantee immediate success.
Here are five tips on how to be relevant online when communicating about healthcare and tech issues.
1. Engagement and community
Having five social platforms doesn’t help to increase your visibility online. It’s better to set up one social network, especially at the beginning of your digital journey. Try to interact with your followers. Create a sense of community. Make them feel that they are important, and crucially part of your community. Posting four tweets per day doesn’t make a difference if you don’t start a networked, personalised conversation with users. In the healthcare community, both patients and experts enjoy interacting and sharing information about the latest healthcare events, news and job opportunities. Make sure your network is actively engaging with followers and friends.
2. Social listening
Pay attention to your followers’ voice. Listen to what they say, including critics, and look out for suggestions and off topic comments. Monitor what other users and followers say about your network online, and keep following the conversation by taking inspiration from their experiences. It’s important to listen to both competitors and followers’ opinion on your initiatives to be relevant online as well as spread the word about your offline events and workshops.
3. Develop a creative newsletter
Yes, newsletters still work. And they are extremely handy to communicate plenty of information in just one email. But how do you make sure that people subscribe and actually read its content? Make it pretty and visual. Include pictures and information that could be relevant to your audience. Add quizzes, games and rewards. Make your audience become addicted to your newsletter.
4. Target potential followers
To boost traffic to your network, try to understand who is an influencer in the healthcare ecosystem. Create a map, start interacting and tell them why they might be interested in your initiative. Don’t be online-focused; consider the offline world’s advantages as well.
5. Evaluate and measure your success
To improve and keep growing the number of followers, assess your achievements. How could I do better? Why didn’t that strategy work? Shall I produce more detailed online influencers’ maps? Some people believe that everything is possible online and so they don’t put in enough effort to implement effective online strategies.
Communicating effectively, and in a relevant way in the current digitalised and hyper-connected age, is increasingly challenging. Before starting on your journey in the digital ecosystem, it’s necessary to develop a strategy which takes into account both online influencers and users.
In healthcare, fostering online connections allows you to reach new patients and interact with healthcare communities and startups rarely represented in the mainstream media. So be online, but in a strategic way.
About the author
Jessica Di Paolo
Social media and new technologies enthusiast Jessica Di Paolo has an MSc in Media and Communications from LSE and is currently working on multiple projects. A digital communications lover, she has extensive experience in developing effective offline and online strategies for public institutions, press offices, publishing companies and startups. She now manages HealthTech Women UK‘s offline and online communications and marketing strategy.
Follow Jessica on Twitter: @JessDiPaolo