Why Is Social Listening Important in Healthcare?

Even if your healthcare brand only has a mere toe dipped into the ocean of social media, you’ve surely seen the medium’s ability to reach people. I can rant for days about the importance of tapping into the power of social media by becoming active members of the digital community. Still, even for those who are on social media, there’s another important step: social listening.

In a nutshell, social listening can be viewed as a form of metrics. Social media is an extremely valuable tool to measure the strengths and weaknesses of your own social media efforts, as well as gauging web discussion about your brand, competition, and industry in general.

When you have your ear on the ground, you’re better equipped make powerful strides for your brand.

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Hearing vs. Listening

Just as the difference between “hearing” and “listening,” social listening implies that you’re not just a passive observer of what people are talking about. Businesses that are savvy to what people are saying online have a goldmine of information at their fingertips. True social listeners are taking this information to heart, responding to the public when needed, and making the kinds of changes that consumers need or want.

The World Wide Web Is Your Oyster

Social listening has a number of benefits, including, but not limited to:

  • Improving customer service by learning about customer experiences
  • Using keywords and topics to generate relevant leads and retain existing customers
  • Using popular opinion to make needed adjustments to your product or service
  • Identifying key advocates and influencers to build relationships with your brand
  • Discovering your community and key audience and exploring where they “hang out” on the web
  • Honing in on top talent who may be an asset to your team

Humanizing Your Brand

One of the biggest benefits is the ability to be transparent with your audience. We know that you can’t please everyone (and it’s a darn shame). Instead of deleting or ignoring any negative feedback, your brand has the ability to become human – to acknowledge the issue at hand and to take as many steps as possible to repair the relationship. This kind of integrity goes a long way in an age where we post photos of our breakfast, stories about our trip to the store, and 500-photo albums of our family vacation.

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Social Media Tools

There are a plethora of tools that your brand can use to keep up with the conversation. Free tools include Mention, Google Alerts, Meltwater IceRocket, Topsy, and Social Mention – just to name a small few. There are some tools like HootSuite that offer free limited accounts, with opportunities to upgrade capacity and functionality for a monthly fee.

Other paid, highly-specialized social listening platforms include:

Does your healthcare brand practice social listening? How has this technique helped make your brand better?  We can help you develop the right social media strategy and plan for brand. Reach out to us at 407-532-0604 for more information.