Social media marketing is the modern way to get ahead of the competition and be seen by your audience. These platforms allow medical device companies to connect with customers in a way they never could before, by encouraging engagement and building communities. It is an incredibly versatile form of marketing that all medical device manufacturers should embrace. For more information about why you should utilise social media make sure to check out our previous blog on social media strategy.
We’ve spoken before about the bigger picture of strategising your medical device social media marketing, but what about the everyday stuff? How can you use hashtags to be seen by more people? When should you post? What tools should you be using? We’ve broken down the best practices that medical device companies should be following to successfully market on social media.
1. Choose the right platforms
Before you can think about what you’re going to post, you should decide on where you’re going to post. Generally, B2B (business to business) companies will utilise Twitter and LinkedIn for their social media marketing, whilst B2C (business to customer) companies will focus more on platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, as these are more e-commerce driven sites. It comes down to where your audience is though, so in order to be able to choose the right platform, you must have a good idea of who you’re targeting.
For medical device companies, we tend to recommend using LinkedIn and Twitter, which are used more often for business networking than other social media platforms. For medical device companies with an e-commerce site and a product that is sold directly to patients, we’d recommend venturing onto other platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
If you would like to learn more about social media platforms, check out our article on which social media platform is best for medical device marketing.
2. Check out the competition
One great place to start with your medical device social media marketing is to look at what your competition is doing. See what channels they’re using, what sort of content they’re posting and what their following is like. This will help to give you ideas on what is already out there, and how you can stand out.
3. Create social media guidelines
There is a lot of thought and planning that goes into creating a well-rounded, authentic brand personality. Social media provides customers with a more personal insight into a company, it's an opportunity to showcase your values. Therefore, your social media needs to match your website, leaflets and exhibition branding, otherwise, the brand will feel disjointed, and you will lose the authenticity.
Once you have chosen your channels and had a look at what’s out there, you need to ensure there’s consistency in your posts, and this starts with creating guidelines. These guides need to be in line with your general brand guidelines, in order to ensure there’s consistency across all of your marketing efforts. They should also layout the visual aspects of your post, to ensure that there is consistency in the look of your social media, to create a recognisable brand.
More importantly, your social media guidelines should determine a tone of voice for your posts that are in line with your brand personality. There are lots of different brand personalities, but many fall within a group of 12 archetypes, which we’ll discussing in a future article.
4. Create a social media diary
The importance of having a solid plan in place cannot be overemphasised. You might choose to plan a month in advance, or better yet, the whole quarter. Not only will this help to give you consistency in what and how often you post, but it will also allow you to plan in any upcoming events or holidays.
For instance, if you’re hosting a webinar in a few months, you can plan in an adequate amount of promotion. Likewise, you could celebrate national days when they occur, for example this calendar informs you on upcoming awareness days, which could be good for creating content if there is one in your therapy area. If you would like to learn more incorporating awareness days into your social media marketing, feel free to read our article on seasonal trends.
Posting every single week can feel like a daunting challenge if you're unprepared, but pre-planning your content and having them drafted means that if you get busy with other work, you will already have a collection of posts ready to go.
5. Vary what you post
Medical device social media marketing is booming. There are so many companies out there competing for attention, meaning that social media feeds are now full of marketing and in order to not get lost in all of this, you need to ensure that you vary what you are post. If your goal is to gain followers, you need to make sure that your page looks as appealing as possible, if a user sees that you post similar content day after day, they might not be inclined to follow.
Not only that, but different types of content can receive different amounts of attention. For instance, on Twitter you are 3 times as likely to get engagement when using a visual. Plain text is too easy to scroll past because it is not eye catching. You could use infographics, high quality photography, polls or video. When dealing with visuals, you should ensure that you are clued up on size requirements. You can find this out directly from the social media platform in their help sections, or you can refer to this comprehensive guide from SproutSocial.
Not only do you need to vary how your posts are presented, but the subject matter should also change between posts. You should post on a range of subjects, including company culture, product information, and helpful content. This will help to keep your feed exciting and provide more value for your followers.
6. Get to the point
Whatever type of post you decide to create, you need to make sure that, for the most part, it is short and sweet. Keep captions and text on visuals interesting, but to the point. It is too easy for people to scroll away if they are losing interest, so you need to ensure you keep the viewer’s attention. Likewise, the longer social media videos are, the more you increase the risk of losing viewers. The sweet spot for videos is said to be between 1-2 minutes.
7. Post consistently
We mentioned before in our previous article just how important consistency is for medical device social media. You need to be seen to be remembered, and consistency pays off. In fact, companies that post weekly see 2 times as much engagement. This is where having a social media diary will be extremely useful.
One way to guarantee consistency is to schedule your posts with social media management tools. You can create a collection of posts at once and schedule them to be sent out automatically. That way, you will never accidentally forgot to post on your social media platform.
8. Use hashtags effectively
Hashtags can be used to precede a certain keyword or topic to help make your content more discoverable on social media platforms. When used correctly, they can be extremely effective, but too often medical device companies will add hashtags onto the end of their posts and hope for the best, without properly strategising the best hashtags to use.
One of your hashtags should act as a content filter, that is unique to you. People can search this hashtag and they will be able to see all of your posts, but your other hashtags should attempt to get on the radars of new potential customers. Generally, you want to target both popular hashtags and less popular hashtags. Popular hashtags will get you in front of a bigger audience, but they are a lot more competitive, meaning you might find you actually have more success with the less popular hashtags. Best to cover both bases.
9. Optimise posting time
The time that you post is becoming gradually less important due to the introduction of algorithms controlling what posts are shown and when, but you do stand a better chance of getting engagement when you post at the right time. There’s been lots of research into the best time to post across different social media platforms, and generally, you’ll find that it correlates with the traditional 9-5 week. For instance, there is usually a peak in the evenings once people have finished work and a dip on weekends when people are busy with their social lives.
The best way to figure out when to post for your medical device company is through experimentation and understanding your audience. For instance, LinkedIn is made up of working professionals and therefore less likely to be busy on weekends as people like to shut off from work, so there is a peak during the working day for this platform. When will your potential customers be using social media? That’s what you need to figure out.
The best way to figure this out it to keep track of engagement versus when it was posted. You can start by posting at the same time for a month and keeping record of the results, and then swap to a different time for a month and compare. If you keep doing this, you will eventually be able to judge which time works the best.
10. Encourage engagement
The algorithms controlling people’s social media feeds also rely on engagement as an indication of what to show and when, so you need to ensure that you are encouraging engagement with each of your posts. You can do this by ending your post with a question, hosting a poll or opening up a discussion. Getting your customers to engage helps to build loyalty and create a community feeling.
11. Listen to what people are saying
Social listening is when a company seeks out the conversations that customers are having about them. Medical device manufacturers must be aware of how their customers view them and the thoughts that they are publicly conveying. Not only does this give companies a chance to engage and connect with their advocates, but it also gets companies ahead of the game when it comes to customer service. If issues arise, you can be there to help before any damage is done to your reputation.
For successful social listening, you must do it regularly. Every day you should check your social media channels for comments and messages to your inbox, so that you can respond as soon as possible. You could also set up alerts with through a Google account to be notified every time a certain phrase or word is mentioned. If you set up to be alerted each time your brand is mentioned, you’ll be less likely to miss what people are saying about you.
12. Monitor the data
Ignoring social media analytics is like walking through a maze blindfolded – you have no idea where you’ve been and therefore have no idea where you’re going and you can end up making the same mistakes again and again. By analysing as much data as you can, you can make judgements about tactics that have worked well and ones that haven’t. From that, you can adjust what you do going forward and make genuine progress. Check out our article on social media reporting to learn more.
One great way of collecting data is by using UTM trackers, that tell you when someone has clicked on a link to come to your website. You can find out everything you need to know in our article on UTM trackers.
13. Use tools
Using tools can be great for streamlining your medical device social media marketing. There are so many great tools out there that can make your life easier. Here are some of our favourites!
Canva is a great tool to easily create visuals for your posts.
Shutterstock allows you to download high-quality stock images
Hootsuite makes scheduling your posts super easy. You schedule lots of posts at once and it will send them out on the right date at the right time. It also produces dashboards to analyse your data.
Social media – no longer just for funny dog videos!
As you can see, successful medical device social media marketing requires careful consideration. It is often overlooked by medical device companies, but it is actually a very key aspect of digital marketing. It is one of the most direct routes to your customers and can have a massive impact on your overall business achievements.
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