Everyday, more medical insurance companies are begrudgingly beginning to integrate social media as elements of their marketing strategies. This probably would not be happening but for the fact that for years, many of their members have been using online communities and blogs to discuss healthcare issues. Some suggestions for the uninitiated:
1. As smartphones continue to proliferate and people have the ability to carry more information in their pockets than ever before, health insurance companies have an opportunity to create two distinct mobile apps. One, to give customers easy access to claims, plan details, network providers, drug prices, etc. and the other to provide lifestyle information on diet, exercise and healthy living.
2. Customers do not enjoy spending time on large, unruly corporate sites which never seem to focus on their informational needs. Consider adding a member-oriented, supplementary web site to your corporate presence. Enhance allegiance by clearly delivering information on policies, health issues and customer service
3. As most customer-oriented companies have had great success doing, post a customer-service specific Twitter account to give members a convenient digital one-stop to get immediate responses to their concerns. Consider personalizing your tweet responders – by giving them identities, you will help put a face on that big corporate brand of yours. Separate Twitter accounts can also be created for employment listings and industry-related news and company announcements.
4. Once your customer service strategy is in place, use Facebook as a content umbrella with links out to your Twitter, You Tube and member site. This gives you the best opportunity to showcase your company personality. You’ll decide what works best – perhaps a forum for interaction with member queries and comments and the promotion of member-related events
5. Set up a “dashboard” of related platforms to listen to what is being said about your company by members, competitors, bloggers, etc. Many examples include Search.twitter.com and Google Alerts
Social Media is new to many and will have a learning curve. I always recommend that the general purposes are understood, before experimenting with individual tools (Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.). It will be time well spent as you learn what tools work best with your business and ultimately, how they can add value to your current marketing and customer-service strategies.