Engagement-marketing is the biggest healthcare marketing trend you’ve never heard of

If you don’t know what engagement-marketing is, you’re not alone.

To be frank, we coined the term ourselves to describe a trend we’ve seen among our clients in the last year. In a nutshell, engagement-marketing programs encourage hospital staff to share marketing messages with their communities. But unlike traditional brand ambassador programs, engagement-marketing programs focus first on helping hospital staff stay engaged at work. The idea is that staff who feel inspired by their organization will want to refer it to people they know.

And refer they do. We’ve seen engagement-marketing programs achieve incredible participation rates and spurr numerous referrals.

So why does engagement-marketing work so well in healthcare? Here are 4 reasons.
1. Word-of-mouth is especially important in healthcare.

50% of Americans rely on input from their friends and family before they select a care provider. Savvy healthcare marketers have recognized the importance of good patient experiences in word-of-mouth marketing. But hospital staff have friends and family too. If a hospital’s staff doesn’t believe their organization provides the best possible care, they will not recommend it to the people they care about. Engagement-marketing understands that hospital staff will be asked about their workplace. These programs give staff reasons to feel positive about -and engage with- their organizations. At large hospitals and health networks, engaged staff could collectively reach hundreds of thousands of potential new patients, just from day-to-day conversations.

2. Your staff’s social media accounts are more valuable than yours.

We’ve been living in Twitter’s world for over a decade now. Every healthcare organization has its own social media accounts. Unfortunately, official brand channels are not the way to get the most out of social media. The fact is hospital’s staffs’ social media accounts are more valuable than their employer’s. Content shared by employees receives eight times more engagement than content shared by brand channels; brand messages reached 561 percent further when shared by employees. Successful engagement-marketing programs make it easy for hospital staff to share inspiring content on their social media. And the most effective programs provide staff additional incentives to share content, like prizes and perks for participation.

3. Content marketing- especially video content marketing- is only going to get bigger.

Healthcare content is the second most-searched-for service online. Hubspot found that videos have a 26% higher completion rate than articles and blogs. The conclusion here? Potential new patients are likely to watch videos from healthcare organizations. When engagement-marketing programs focus on helping staff find meaning in their daily tasks, video-storytelling can be an extremely effective medium. Videos capturing amazing patient recoveries can serve as an antidote to burnout– and can double as high-impact marketing videos when shared with friends and family.

4. At the end of the day, the staff are the hospital.

As Eric Brody, president of healthcare marketing agency Trajectory, writes,all of the individuals on every team in your organization are contributing (either positively or negatively) to your marketing on a daily basis.” Disengaged staff aren’t going to provide patients the best possible care. Poor quality patient care will offset any hospital’s marketing. If staff care about their hospital’s success, their hospital will do well.  Engagement-marketing improves the services healthcare organizations offer and simultaneously encourages organic social media sharing and word-of-mouth marketing. That one-two punch is what makes this new trend a killer healthcare marketing strategy.