Consumer & Healthcare Healthcare

Before Twitter, most hospitals connected to potential patients through direct mail marketing, newsletters, press releases and fundraisers.  While each of those items is still important to a hospital’s integrated marketing scheme, many hospitals and other health care organizations have also found success using tools created for the digital age.

Your hospital already has a Facebook page, and has thousands of Facebook members as fans.  Many of them are partners within your community, people who’ve lived to see another day due to the hospital’s services, and the physicians that comprise your hospital’s team.   It also also has a website, chock full of relevant information and designed using state of the art concepts for search marketing, which ensures that when people Google your hospital, they can find everything they need.

So, do you really need to be on Twitter?

In a word, no.  But will being on Twitter help your hospital’s business?  You betcha.

“Need” implies a basic, fundamental state of being.  Your hospital will probably survive without a Twitter handle.  People fall ill all of the time, and with a baby boomer population nearing elderly age, there’s going to be a constant need for the services of educated people who can treat all types of ailments.

But, is it a good idea for your hospital to be on Twitter?  That’s another question.

[quote]Twitter helps people and businesses connect in ways that were impossible before the 140-characters-or-less application disrupted the way people communicate online.[/quote]  Twitter corners an area of the market that Facebook doesn’t – it’s a real-time stream of happenings, thoughts and ideas.  With Twitter, it’s easy for brands to follow companies that are of interest to them, and garner followers.


While we’re on the subject, follow us on Twitter. And Facebook. And Instagram. We’re pretty social.


If you’re considering incorporating Twitter into your hospital’s marketing strategy in 2013, here are some tips to help you get the maximum impact:

Use it to Share Information:  If you see an article about a new radiology treatment that might be interesting to your patients, don’t hesitate to share.  Or, if your hospital is mentioned for its service or expertise, be sure to retweet, which serves as a testimonial to your team.  Doing these things will establish you as a leading healthcare services provider within your field.

Get Input from Followers:  If you’re seeking honest opinions, Twitter is the place to go.  People tend to censor themselves less on the internet than they might in real life, so it’s essential that if you’re trying to elicit quantitative information, you do so in a way that doesn’t cause any backlash.  Asking for opinions on controversial subjects will hurt your hospital’s reputation.

Brag a Little: Was one of your physicians nominated for an award?  Was your hospital ranked the best in your region?  Items like this are brag-worthy, and you can post Tweets alongside press releases and Facebook status updates.  Many internet users prefer Twitter to Facebook because of it’s quick and efficient design, meaning that you may miss a large section of your existing segment if you fail to post to Twitter.

Interact With Others:  Twitter is great way for you to reach out to your subscribers, but it’s also a terrific way for them to reach out to you.  People may have informal questions pertaining to new hours for specialty units, or may want to know where they can park nearby.  Responding to a Tweet can help build rapport and trust between you and your patient, and will keep that person coming back because she knows your team is committed to providing impeccable service.

Even if you don’t think you need to have a Twitter account for your hospital marketing efforts, the platform offers yet another way to connect with your audience.  At our Florida advertising agency, we can help your team develop an integrated social media strategy that includes creating and maintaining an active Twitter account.  Don’t worry – we’ve got a handle on it!

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One of the best things a hospital marketer can do is show genuine knowledge of and respect for physicians’ duties and responsibilities by learning about the service line. This shows a demonstrated commitment to service, and will allow the marketing team to adequately address physician’s concerns with competence. When the marketing team meets with physicians, they should conduct this meeting with the answers to the following questions and concepts in mind.


As discussed in our Florida advertising agency whitepaper on physician marketing, physicians often come forward with the solutions, without ever addressing the actual problem. If the physicians are unable to properly articulate the underlying issues, follow a rule of thumb and ask them why they think such solutions will be effective. [quote] The physicians’ responses may offer some insights into the true underlying issues, which will help the teams in their efforts to work together to create the most practical solutions.[/quote]


A common problem in marketing settings is that companies attempt to appeal to the masses, rather than targeting specific niches that may be specifically interested in the business’s services or offerings. In identifying the specialists’ differentiators, the physicians and marketing team are able to begin to create a selling focus. These differentiators provide specific incentives for individuals in the community to elect this particular hospital, as opposed to others in the community. If there are numerous differentiators, it is important to target and tout those where success makes the most financial sense, such as a practice area expertise or a new state-of-the-art facility.


By defining impediments to success, the teams are able to work through them in order to determine practical and efficient solutions. If there are barriers that need to be addressed, defining them can help the teams prioritize them and offer solutions for combating these roadblocks. Sometimes specialists have operational issues that are standing in the way. For instance, their office doesn’t have appropriate scheduling software, or their office location is hard to find. These are operational issues that come to surface when marketing discussions begin.


Many businesses rely on data sets because they offer insight into what’s worked in previous marketing initiatives. Focusing on the positive, rather than the negative, allows the hospitals to achieve repeated success in marketing efforts by replicating successful past projects. Physicians may be able to relay stories of past successes that can lead decision-making. Remember, many physicians think of their practice as their own business, and can take a lot of pride of ownership in it. Their historical perspective is relevant.

Check out our whitepaper on Marketing to Meet Hospital Business Objectives,
While Keeping Physicians Happy

Healthcare Healthcare Devices

We live in an age of convenience.  We can have a pizza delivered to our home in 10 minutes, we can order take out from every one of the nation’s largest chain restaurants, and we can order greasy cheeseburgers from drive-through windows at any hour of the day.
While there are benefits to these conveniences in society, junk food doesn’t come without a price.  Today, more than 26 million Americans live with diabetes, and the majority of them suffer from type 2 diabetes, which researchers link to high-caloric food consumption and sedentary lifestyle.

The digital landscape that we live in doesn’t always help.  It’s easy to get caught up with watching hours of TV at a time… did you know that if you watched the entire Lost TV series, you spent 90 hours in front of your television? That’s more 3.75 full days of your life – and that doesn’t even include time spent sitting through commercials.  There are also all kinds of other distractions such as video games, Facebook , chatting and email – time that people used to spend out in the world, being social with one another.

Our Florida advertising firm supports American Diabetes Month, and we believe that the digital era doesn’t have to be a burden to weight loss and blood sugar management.  In fact, there are numerous tools that can help people lose weight through technology.  If you are one of the people who battles type 2 diabetes, or even if you just want to take strides today to prevent diabetes in the future, our Orlando marketing agency has come up with some digital world ideas that can help you stay healthy and manage your blood sugar in the physical world.

WebMd’s Food and Fitness Planner: This tool offers personalized weight loss plans based on weight loss goals and exercise habits, making it an optimal tool for people just beginning the weight loss journey.

Nike Fuel Band: The Nike Fuel band takes weight loss and exercise, and turns it into a game.  Wear it to track your daily activity, and then connect with friends to compare your progress through a smartphone app.

Locavore: Generally, fresh foods are better for you than processed foods.  Locavore helps you choose the right ingredients for your meal by letting you know what’s in season, and using GPS to let you know the best places near you to buy locally grown, healthy foods.

Eat This, Not That! The Game:  This game makes dieting fun by letting you compare food options to help you determine which has the least adverse health impacts.  The results are sometimes surprising, and playing the game helps you think critically when trying to determine whether a McDonald’s chicken sandwich beats a fish sandwich.

Withings Body Scale: This innovate tool helps people to lose weight by connecting an electronic scale to a wifi Internet connection to show graphs of progress, track weight loss goals and help develop an overall fitness plan.

People who are able to successfully overcome the challenges that diabetes presents will live longer, healthier lives.  [quote]When weight loss and diet management seems like a challenge, it is important to look to the support of your loved ones who can help you with the process.  [/quote]Keep these ideas in mind as you commit to better health during American Diabetes Month.  The BIGEYE team is here to support you along the way.

If you need an app, look no further. Check out what our team of experts is capable of.

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I never thought when making the switch from nursing school student to an advertising major in college that I would have the opportunity to witness an open-heart surgery on a small child. But that is exactly the experience I had last month. BIGEYE had the honor to be asked by our client, Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, to produce a video about their cardiology program. As part of that video, our crew was graciously allowed in the operating room to witness an amazing surgical team, lead by Dr. William DeCampli, repair little 3-year-old Emily Stone’s heart.
We literally got to participate in history being made. The hospital broke ground by trying something relatively unheard of in healthcare: using social media to share a live surgical operation with the entire world. The hospital posted images and updates of the surgery every 10 minutes through the photo sharing application Instagram, pushing the updates out via their Twitter and Facebook profiles, as well as their blog. For me, it definitely brought new meaning to a photo app that I primarily use to apply artistic filters to pictures of my food.

The response was overwhelming as the world watched and cheered on little Emily with amazing words of encouragement. It was awesome, in the truest sense of the word, to be so openly allowed into a world that is usually very closed off to the public. Pushing the envelope will always bring on a slew of questions: Why did they do this? Does social media go too far? What role can social media play in healthcare? The very nature of social media encourages debate and provides a portal for honest discussions.

Mike Schmidt, director of digital media at Arnold Palmer Hospital, said it best: “Healthcare is behind the rest of the world in being able to tell stories well through social media. There are thousands of amazing things that happen here at the hospital each and every day, and we want to share that with our community.”

Advertising, taglines, slogans and pictures of happy patients all have their place in healthcare. They play a role in communicating to the public a hospital’s message: who they are and what they stand for. But what about showing, not just telling, what really goes on? There may not be anything “pretty” about surgical procedures, but they are real, raw, and honest. We’re talking about humans saving other human’s lives. Arnold Palmer Hospital and Emily’s family were ready to take that leap by sharing this life-saving procedure with the world. The fact is, surgeons and healthcare professionals alike live and breathe this every day, and that’s what has a true impact on their patient’s lives.

Social media is here to stay and will continue to evolve and change. Yes, seeing pictures of a beating heart on your Facebook timeline may not be for everyone, but I do commend the hospital on using a tool that we are all familiar with in a new and interesting way in order to keep people informed of what’s going on behind the curtain. It breaks down barriers and can remove the mystery of the “unknown” for families that may be going through something very scary, hearing their child has  congenital heart disease.

On a very important side note, Emily is doing well. It was a joy to get to know her and her family throughout this process. She’s a brave little girl!

You can see how the story unfolded on the hospitals blog, Illuminate.  Warning: some of the pictures are graphic in nature.

Written by, Laura Adams, BIGEYE Creative Account Manager