Using Engagement to Drive Content Strategy in Healthcare

Patients aren’t just patients, they’re consumers as well. And as such, it’s critical to understand what they want from healthcare providers (HCPs), their treatment expectations and more. Increasingly, HCPs have been turning to social media monitoring to inform their content strategy, as they recognize the powerful intel it offers around their patients’ wants and needs.

The importance of market insights for brand strategy

As patient consumers continue to be fickle, it is critical to read their minds. And luckily, social media analytics can look into a magic ball and inform your company of what they want, how they feel and much more. These statistics below give weight to why using consumer research is critical to any HCP endeavor:

  • 81% of consumers are unsatisfied with their healthcare experience.
  • Various generations think differently about healthcare. For example, 28% of millennials visit a doctor for existing conditions, compared with 53% of Baby Boomers. Understanding who you are talking to is critical to target messaging.
  • Unhappy Patients are costly. If displeased, more than 90% won’t say anything, they’ll just go elsewhere, leaving you to wonder what happened.

It’s easy to see why keeping an eye on consumer conversation is a smart move for savvy companies seeking to lead the healthcare pack. And it all starts with listening in on social conversations happening online, as we discusses during a webinar with Cerner Enviza on how they use digital and social media to boost patient-centricity. We have some highlights to share below. 

Consumer Conversations Inform Campaign Messaging

Consumers talk, talk and talk on all kinds of social platforms. And if you have consumer and market intelligence, these online conversations can inform strategy for healthcare.

Forrester noted that by 2030, the US healthcare ecosystem will shift to create a patient-centric foundation for individual health support. And as such, if your company isn’t pivoting to meet consumer needs and wants, you’ll be missing the bus on big improvements and new innovations your competitors will soon be offering. Our consumer intelligence below reveals more.

The healthcare conversation is vast, so we focused below on a distinct subset – pediatric care.


Within these segments are thousands of social media posts which, if searched, can reveal what consumers want, need, and thoughts they have about the care they’re being given.

But that’s not all. These clusters also illustrate how conversations relate to one another.

For example, we see Southeastern Grocers and El Paso Children are each removed from the central conversation, but still connected, significant and valuable – but the central clusters Home Health, Community, and Parents form a more cohesive unit. These highly overlapping clusters offer insight that will resonate most with consumers interested in this topic

For example, when we look at Parents, Pediatrics, Child, there are quite a few mentions of home healthcare, such as the rise in demand for it because insurance companies are becoming more willing to cover it:


Understanding these conversations and the volume of this cluster in the overarching healthcare conversation helps HCPs keep communications on point, while addressing relevant concerns.

And this is just one piece of the pie, there is much more to discover inside these clusters that will inform your healthcare strategy.

Interacting & Innovating with Consumer Intel

To properly inform strategy for healthcare, you need to do more than read the posts. You’ll need to infer emotions. Reading that there’s a demand for at home pediatric healthcare is fine, but if you misunderstand why or the feelings driving this conversation, you could end up not sticking your landing.

Here, our word cloud of likes and dislikes shows a lot of sentiment with words any caregiver would want to see such as excellent, finest and optimal. The problem here is that most of these posts are from HCP and NOT patients. You have to dig beneath to find the nugget that will lead your company to better understanding of its patients.


Now there are two distinctive negative sentiments – not better and less satisfied. Looking at the latter and we find this post on Reddit discussing billing hardships between not just one medical facility, but two:


Anyone who has had to deal with billing, knows what a headache it can be. And you don’t want your patients to have to deal with the headache of an incorrect bill or unclear expectations of what they’ll be paying after their child is sick. Additionally, this post speaks to their experience as being “fine” but they “wouldn’t call it incredible.” This hints to further unmet needs.

Uncovering these and fixing what’s not working for patients is critical if you hope for them to stick with you and not seek alternate care. And you definitely don’t want them to air out their grievances on social forums where bad news takes fight.

So, is there a way to better approach the billing side of things with patients so they know what to expect? Now that you know what they need, it’s time to target them with the right messaging.

But before you get too post happy, it’s time to find your audience and where they’re most active, so you’re sure you’re not performing to an empty theatre.

Locating & Understanding Audience Segments

As we pointed out earlier, understanding who is talking is important. Our word cloud revealed a lot of positivity coming from fellow healthcare providers. Likewise, you want to be sure when campaigning that your messaging is reaching the right set of eyes. You don’t want to be preaching to the choir

For a clear picture, we’ve whittled our clusters down to the top five. Consumer research shows how these conversations are distributed between the many online options for community chatter.


As we dissect these clusters, we find that it’s on Forums and on Tumblr that consumers are talking about pediatric care. Twitter seems to be mostly other healthcare providers, or news. Blogs gives us a mixed bag of news and posts by fellow HCPs.

And though consumers aren’t discussing healthcare as often on blogs, they will turn to them to learn something new. Looking at it that way, blogs are a handy tool for helping to share your information to other forums such as Reddit.

In fact, 20% of marketing leaders described company blogs as one of their “most important channels” for hitting goals. So, using blogging sites to communicate and cross promote your goals on sites your patients are already on, could be a valuable asset.

Knowing where to reach your patients is critical to achieving your company goals. Using social listening to inform strategy for healthcare reveal these sites specifically, along with sound bytes,  so you can target different groups where they already are – and where they’re likely to listen!

Reach out for a demo and we’ll help you parse patient posts to extract everything from customer care conversations to intel that will inform future innovation!

The importance of market insights for brand strategy

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