Social media can seem like the Wild West of digital marketing and in a lot of ways that’s true. But venues like Twitter, Instagram and others can also be valuable ways of connecting with your patients, potential future patients and even fellow industry professionals. The challenge is how to do that in an efficient block of time while retaining your sanity in the process. Healthcare hashtags are key to the efficient use of social media.
You’ve likely seen hashtags in different forms. It’s just a phrase or acronym with the “#”sign before it. Someone tweeting about the latest COVID-19 data might use #coronavirus at the end of their post. Users can click on that hashtag or manually enter it into a search box and pull up the shared content of everyone else who has used the hashtag.
So the first value of the healthcare hashtag is visibility. If you’re fairly new to social media in general or just to a particular platform, your tweets will fall on deaf ears if you don’t use hashtags. Or worse, no ears at all. If you only have 5 followers and 2 of them are on your staff, then the hashtag ensures your tweet can be found by people on the social platform who may have not yet heard of you.
The hashtag is more than just about promotion though. Proper use of your hashtags also helps you find the posts that you want to read—and more importantly, the people and organizations you want to follow.
Let’s say you’re looking to follow people who are involved in the treatment of diabetes. A common hashtag in this area is #diabetesawareness. If you look at who is using that hashtag, you can not only read those particular posts but choose to follow the accounts they come from. Even better, common social media etiquette is to follow those that follow you—so the “return follow” you’ll get more often than not builds your own base.
The hashtags you use and follow will depend largely on the practice area you’re in and what particular topics interest you. Some general ones are:
- #HLCDR—this stands for healthcare leaders and helps you monitor what those who stand at the top of your profession (at least in terms of influencing social media discussion) are saying. Related tags are #HCSM (healthcare social media).
- In these COVID-19 days, more medical professionals had to make use of digital health and that’s a trend that will likely continue, at least to some extent. The hashtag #MHchat will organize posts based on discussion of this subject.
- Then there’s the practice-area specific hashtags, from the diabetes example above to something like #ProstateCancer or #BreastCancerAwareness that serve targeted areas of the industry.
The use of healthcare hashtags, both in writing your posts and determining what you follow is the way to make efficient and sane use of social media. It’s true that a lot of what happens in these platforms is uncluttered noise. But healthcare hashtags will segment you away from the nonsense and to the content and people that matter.