What makes your healthcare brand a credible resource? Here are 8 tips for building trust on social media.
It’s easy to be leery about most of the things you read — online and in the real world. We’ve been conditioned to think, “What’s the catch?” when we hear an offer that sounds too good to be true. We impulsively poke holes in advertisements that create a false sense of benefits. We blatantly disregard email offers that just look “spammy” on the surface. It’s easy to gloss over — or even worse, distrust — a business just based on its messaging. But why is that?
I think it’s because we as humans are always looking for those genuine connections, and we’re apprehensive about when and where to let our guards down. And the only way we can confidently connect with someone is through trust.
Nonprofit Healthcare Organizations face the same challenges as many other businesses when it comes to establishing trust online. But you, more than them, are expected to be trustworthy. And that’s a good thing because establishing trust online can be the entryway into much bigger opportunities for your brand. So how do you establish credibility in your social media? Here are 8 tips:
1. Speak from a level of expertise
People follow businesses on social media because they’re looking to benefit through special offers, humor, or education. Education is, more often than not, the most useful thing you can offer your followers. So become a valued resource for them. That’s called “Thought Leadership,” and it’s the practice of making yourself an authority through content sharing. Download the free eBook at the bottom of this post to learn more about becoming a Thought Leader.
2. But Talk in “Real Talk”
You’ve got to have a balance of sounding like an authority figure and speaking to someone like an actual person. It’s a fine line to walk, but it’s crucial to gaining trust. The trick is to not talk over someone’s head. Remember that these are real people following you on social media, so speak to them that way. Instill a human sensibility in the things you write and people will feel the person behind the keyboard.
3. Own Your Presence
You’d be surprised to learn that many users think business Facebook pages or Twitter accounts are being run by an intern or even someone outside the company. So make yourself visible by regularly posting pictures of yourself and your team. In the case of a Nonprofit Hospital, it comes down to the physicians and how they brand themselves online. You’ll be more credible when you show the world the people behind the posts.
4. Use Testimonials
Current or past patient testimonials can help you supplement the point you are trying to convince your prospective patients of. Why? Because we’re more inclined to believe another person than a company. You’ll trust a friend’s referral before an ad, right? Use the person’s picture [obviously with permission] and have them provide a quote from the heart. And try to avoid clichés when you can.
5. Like What You’re Doing
Social media can feel like a grind for some companies to undertake. It can be cumbersome, scary, and in need of lots of attention. And if you feel that way, it’s quite possible that those feelings are coming through in the writing. People will be less likely to trust a business page if there’s a lack of enthusiasm or passion behind it.
6. Attribute When Necessary
You learned how to site your sources in elementary school, and all of those principles still apply to social media. If you’re sharing someone else’s content — even if your own content that’s inspired by someone else — give credit where credit is due. It’s an extremely valuable tool for appearing trustworthy. Watch, I’ll show you how it’s done. I did some research on trust in public speaking before I wrote this blog post, and here’s the article.
7. Talk Back
Social media offers something you can’t find in any other form of media: Conversation. So if you’re running an account, use it as a vehicle to talk to your followers. If someone comments one a post, comment right back. It’s another form of “being human” on social media. Be a real presence and people will recognize that.
8. Leverage Your Nonprofit Status
Earning trust is tough for any business. But as a Nonprofit Healthcare Organization, you’ve got advantages to leverage trust that other business don’t. Why? Because consumers have the opportunity to feel more emotionally invested in a Nonprofit Organization over a For-profit one. The word Nonprofit carries with it ideas of “goodwill,” “selflessness,” and “compassion.” So a quick, simple solution to capitalizing on this is using the word “Nonprofit” in your messaging a lot. Trust in the power of the Nonprofit perception. It’s a great, ownable aspect of your business and it has the potential to make you more lovable.
As a Nonprofit Healthcare Organization, you are expected to be responsibly, trustworthy, and transparent. You are held to a higher standard than many other businesses because you’re “mission-centric.” So make that work for you by doing whatever you can to be a trusted, credible resource online.
Because no relationship can work without trust.
Click the link below to download our free eBook on Thought Leadership to learn more about applying the process to your NPHO.