There are unique challenges to marketing in health care. As a hospital, you aren’t selling a product, and many of your services are not based on traditional notions of demand. Social media marketing in health care is frequently focused on community education and outreach, which makes negative comments extra jarring. A comment about somebody’s son waiting in an emergency room for nine hours stands out starkly against a cheerful post of recommendations for managing your sodium intake this holiday season.
Ragan, a respected voice in health care PR, communications, and marketing gives some great basic tips for responding to negative comments here, but is that enough? Negative testimony speaks loudly against a service experience that many people already resent. Marketing professionals in health care have the opportunity to continue to educate—there’s a reason you may have to wait in the emergency room—as well as use the feedback to inform patient satisfaction initiatives. Indeed, some negative feedback must be addressed, to prevent a snowballing blow to community health. Visible negative comments can lead community members to delay care, or avoid trips to the hospital, which undermines the benefit of having locally available care options.