If you’ve seen any ad lately, chances are there’s something hashtagged in it.
Hashtags have become a standard part of marketing campaigns. They’re a quick and simple way to maximize the reach of a piece of content. They can also be a fun way for potential customers to engage with your company -- check out on Twitter what Abbott Labs’ news arm, @AbbottNews, does with #lifetothefullest hashtag.
For healthcare tech marketers overseeing a social media campaign, hashtags can play an integral role in reaching new prospects.
What Are Hashtags?
For those unfamiliar with hashtags -- a hashtag is a word or series of words (with no spaces) preceded by a pound sign (#), more formally known as an “octothorp.” It’s purpose? To connect posts about a certain topic. Hashtagged items can appear anywhere in a post.
Hashtags allow a social network to categorize and group posts together in a single stream, making it easier for those searching for a specific topic to find related information.
Hashtagging was first introduced in 2007 on Twitter as a way for users to find related content or conversations. Other popular social media networks, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, added it to their services within a few years. Marketers were quick to start using hashtags as a way to join those streams and promote their products or services.
Why Use Hashtags in Healthcare Tech Marketing?
Hashtags have become an important component of social media marketing. In fact, it’s hard to find a social media post that doesn’t have something hashtagged in it.
For healthcare tech marketers, using hashtags is a powerful -- and free -- tool. They can help your company reach prospects, stay relevant, and not lose ground to your competition.
Hashtagged posts are particularly important when you’re trying to engage with new customers at all stages of their buyer’s journey.
A hashtagged post gets your information in front of a prospect as they seek resources. It also makes sure your company is part of a conversation about a specific topic you’re targeting.
In the awareness stage, a prospect has found they have an issue that needs to be addressed and are just starting to define exactly what their issue is and are doing some cursory research. While in the consideration stage, a potential buyer knows exactly what their issue is and is in research mode, seeking out more information to help them solve the problem.
During both these stages, healthcare tech marketers can use hashtags in social posts to draw in prospects who otherwise may not have found them through traditional online searches.
In the decision stage, leads can use your company’s hashtag or branded hashtag to see what others are saying about you and their experiences with your product. Think of it as a mini reference check.
Harnessing the power of hashtags is an easy way for your company to quickly react to trending topics and be at the forefront of the conversations around them.
In an extreme example, the COVID-19 pandemic provided healthcare tech companies that had a useful product or service, or helpful information, a marketing opportunity.
Many healthcare tech companies began appropriately using terms like #COVID-19 or #Coronoavirus, or even #Telemedicine, in their posts to stay in front of existing followers while attracting new leads.
Explore #telemedicine software features.A simpler solution. AdvancedTelemedicine integrates with AdvancedEHR so you get all these virtual healthcare features without needing more software.https://t.co/aM1QWJ4saB pic.twitter.com/e7T9YsrgBR— AdvancedMD (@advancedmd) March 24, 2020
To help support our customers during #COVID19 we have integrated @CDCgov guidance directly into our free medical reference app, @epocrates. Learn more via @BeckersHR: https://t.co/C5XVuG524D pic.twitter.com/dzu7Rr7k9P— athenahealth (@athenahealth) March 20, 2020
Keeping up with competition
Using hashtags in your company’s social posts can also help you keep pace with your competitors. It’s not uncommon to see competitors use the same hashtags -- even if they’re posting about being at the same event.
In addition, healthcare tech marketers can use hashtags to keep an eye on their competition and strategize adjustments to social media campaigns.
The Risk of Not Using Hashtags in Healthcare Tech Marketing
Hashtags are not required for each and every social media post you make. They are helpful, however, and there are downfalls to not including them in your marketing strategy.
While it is important for a company to have a social media presence, without using hashtags you’re leaving the door wide open for prospects to pass you by without even knowing it.
In some senses, not using hashtags in social media posts is just social broadcasting to your existing audience without reaching potential new customers.
Finding the Right Hashtags in Healthcare Tech
As trends shift, so, too, do popular hashtags. While it’s important for healthcare tech marketers to keep up with what hashtags are seeing a lot of traction, there are some hashtags that have a longer lifespan.
Regardless of which healthcare tech segment you fall into, there are hashtags that will help your company reach prospects.
Tip: An easy way to start finding what hashtags might work for your company is to hop on Twitter and do a search of the subject you’re intending to post about. From there, you’ll see what hashtags are typically appearing with related posts and can integrate them into your own social media.
While the healthcare technology has many different facets, some common hashtags in a few different sectors we’re seeing include:
- Electronic Medical Records (EMR): #telemedicine, #digitalhealth, #AI, #medical
- Patient Engagement Software: #digitalhealth, #patient, #patientengagement, #patientcare
- Telemedicine Software: #telemedicine, #patientcare, #digitalhealth #instacare
Hashtagging Across Different Social Platforms
In the social media sphere, it’s important to remember there are nuances in how each platform uses hashtags. What works on Twitter may not work as well on LinkedIn.
It’s also important to keep in mind that each platform serves different purposes for different audiences. Make sure your messaging is appropriate and done well for the platform your posting on -- poor judgement or a post full of errors only casts doubt about your company and erodes its credibility.
Twitter is more of a catch-all for short, punchy conversations and is often used for customer service types of engagements, while Facebook serves an older audience who is more apt to have a longer digital conversation. LinkedIn is where professionals go online to network or find resources.
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