Amy whispering in her daughter's ear

Me trying to make sure my daughter hears my message.

My spirited 4-year-old daughter plays hard, runs fast, protests loudly and comes in for a hug with the force of a seasoned NFL linebacker. She processes the world in bite-sized increments, unconcerned with the future — because, at her age, all that matters (and should matter) is the present.

I often find myself repeating questions or requests and it’s easy to get frustrated when she doesn’t respond. In those moments, I know it’s my communication style — my inability to connect with my “audience” — that’s causing my message to fall flat. I have the best luck when I lean in quietly and ask her, “Can you hear me?” I need first to know I have her attention. Then it’s time to say my message quickly before I lose her again.

Communicating with consumers right now is similar to talking with my 4-year-old. Except, adults are 100 times more distracted. They’re grieving normalcy. They’re overwhelmed, stressed and having trouble processing information overload. As a healthcare marketer, you may feel it’s impossible to break through the clutter to share the most important, valuable and timely information — but it’s not.

Here’s a look at how to stand out on social media and push through the barrier of so much information, and at times, even misinformation. First, let’s examine your target’s mindset.

How much information do we process every day (on social media)?

A study published in August 2020 states that on average, internet users aged 16 to 64 spend about two hours and 22 minutes per day on social media. The same study cites that 47-67% of people use social media as a news source. And 28% of U.S. users in the same age group report they’ve increased their social media usage during the pandemic.

As a marketer, the great news is that if you use any of the top channels like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or even TikTok — you’re gaining viewership with a large portion of your demographic regardless of age. The not so great news: So is everyone else.

The trick for how to stand out on social media is to find ways to contribute meaningfully to the conversation — adding value to your consumer’s day versus adding to the noise.

Our brains are overloaded

What are people doing on social media? Some are incessantly checking the news, researching brands and looking for entertainment. Many are trying to increase their social connections during a time of isolation. During the pandemic, it’s likely that people are also frequenting their favorite health and wellness blogs for updates on COVID-19, ways to stay healthy and how to combat mental health issues.

But regardless of what intention they have when logging in, they’ll be exposed to way more information than they were seeking. And it’s a challenge to decipher what’s true, what’s relevant and what’s worth their time.

What if your healthcare organization has valuable information to offer?

For your healthcare organization, the largest opportunity right now is to connect with your consumers and support them as they seek true and unbiased information. Rather than worry about adding to the clutter, embrace the challenge by using social media, blogs and even internal communications to convey messages of truth, confidence and encouragement.

Here are some tips on how to stand out on social media right now:

Focus on what’s important

Focus your communication on things that are critical right now, like flu shots and immunizations, mental health resources and staying current on screenings.

Add value

Make sure what you have to say is adding value versus contributing to the noise. Go beyond reposting trending topics — contribute an informed viewpoint (now is the time to leverage your SMEs), report on innovation at your organization or highlight new research.

Keep it positive

Avoid a “doom and gloom” tone, even when what you’re sharing about serious topics. Tie your tone to your brand and use your company’s mission to guide your content. Keep it upbeat and focus on calls to action that empower your readers.

Offer help

Find ways to convey the message “you are not alone,” by offering resources and ways for your readers to manage their physical and mental health, help others and become part of a supportive community.

Share hope

Try writing a weekly blog that summarizes positive things that happened this week. Even if you need to use syndicated content, highlighting good news can go a long way.

Be real

Use attention-grabbing headlines that are relatable, raw and real, especially on social media where you only have a few seconds to make an impact.

What about your employees?

Your employees are stressed — they may not see their families this holiday season. Their kids may be at home doing remote learning. They may have Zoom fatigue.

Consider engaging employees on social media in a positive way to build community. Try sending them a t-shirt, sticker or button and encouraging them to snap a photo to post to a company hashtag. Create a blog that pulls in the top posts.

Not only does this create an internal community, it also shows you care. Part of the reason I love working for WriterGirl is that our leadership team routinely finds ways to unify us, even if it’s virtually. Recently we recorded individual videos that were merged together and shared on social media with the goal of thanking our healthcare heroes — and it unified our team in ways we never knew were possible.

Here are some other ideas:

  • Ask to hear from them. What are their challenges, how are they coping? Pull real stories and advice into a blog that you can share internally.
  • Share uplifting messages for your employees.
  • Engage your leadership to encourage having fun!
  • Share resources with the message of “we’re here for you.”

Building a connection

We’re all a little distracted right now. You may have even paused a few times while reading this article to check a news alert or respond to a Facebook message. But honing your communication style to connect in the present moment can go a long way with your consumers who are craving trustworthy information, hope and valuable relationships.

Although you may not have to directly ask “Can you hear me?”, as I do with my daughter, always consider new ways to break through the distraction so you can deliver your message clearly.

Need help with your social media content? WriterGirl specializes in creating custom content that’s tailored to your audience. Contact us to learn how we can help you reach your social media marketing goals.