Earlier this year, Rosaria Mineo, Social Media Manager at Cooper University Health Care, rolled out a new gated content strategy across their social platforms to help gather names and email addresses for marketing purposes and, ultimately, increase the number of new patient visits at the hospital.
They chose to roll out the new strategy with a seasonal urgent care guide for winter.
“The urgent care guide is offered as a free health resource and patients are able to access it as soon as they visit our urgent care center page on our website,” Rosaria said. “The first one, a soft launch released in February, was '15 Tips for Staying Healthy and Injury Free This Winter.' After some small tests with the winter guide, we picked the promotion into full gear with ‘Everything You Need To Enjoy a Safe & Healthy Spring' in April.”
She emphasized the importance of choosing and generating content that has multiple uses, from email blasts, newsletter articles, and blog posts to social and digital ad promotions. Additionally, a seasonal health guide is ideal because it can be used for a prolonged period of time.
“The information in this content is evergreen,” she said. “These are very patient-friendly tips. They're not specific to something like a flu outbreak. They're just common, helpful health tips that you can use at any time.”
The main goal was to increase new patient visits to the health system, but they also intended to provide easily accessible tips for patients and increase engagement on their social channels.
“By offering them an opportunity to learn more about our urgent care centers when they need us, they can learn more about our primary care, women's health, and other services as well,” she said. “It's an opportunity for people to opt in rather than feel like they're constantly being marketed to. This is a choice that a patient can make to start engaging with us.”
This is the first time Cooper used this type of strategy, but Rosaria said it's already improving their engagement with their audiences.
“Typically what we've done for urgent care in the past were things like Facebook Lives and getting out there in the community to distribute information,” she said.
According to Rosaria, people are willing to opt in because they trust the information they're getting — and through that, they're interacting with more of the health system's services.
“We're giving people an empowerment tool by letting them opt into the information they want,” she said.” It's very different than a channel that constantly pushes things out in one direction. It becomes more of a conversation.”
The gated content is being pushed out across Cooper's social and digital channels.
According to Rosaria, creating and distributing gated content has helped break down silos across teams.
The marketing team initiated the idea of the guides and partnered with Cooper physicians to collect expert information to build the content on.
“The social content fits in perfectly with the marketing strategy because that's where it originated,” Rosaria said. “Unlike a lot of common marketing pushes, this isn't something that needs to be wedged into social media.”
She said that because each guide is one piece of collateral that involves so many different teams, the process has helped those teams work seamlessly together.
To continue to drive that cross-team collaboration, once a month Rosaria leads a social media strategy meeting with all of the marketing managers and the PR manager.
Externally, the gated content is already driving high click-through rates.
“In just over a month, we could attribute three new patients as a direct result of downloading the guide. Initially the biggest win was having steady content across all channels sourced directly from the guides. However, after a few paid spots and an organic push across channels, we found that the people who are getting these emails are receptive, they've self-selected to be part of it, and they want more information about Cooper.”
The team is still working on making the connection between whether those people eventually become patients. “But these are people who had previously not been in our CRM system,” Rosaria said. “So, these are definitely people we haven't spoken to before and now they're part of these ongoing Cooper communications.”
Rosaria said paid marketing has been a key component of their success.
“Organic is great for some things, but we found that when we pay for a bit of marketing and target our audience more, we see them not just engaging with the content but actually clicking through and downloading the guide,” she said.
Moving forward, Rosaria hopes this strategy becomes a way to incorporate more new and interesting content into their social channels on a regular basis.
She'd also like to further coordinate with Cooper's marketing efforts because it's an opportunity to stay aligned with that team. “It's great to have the information for the patients but it also helps us work together too,” Rosaria said.
For other hospitals and health systems looking into launching a similar strategy, Rosaria advised building relationships across teams.
“Make sure you have a close relationship with the physicians who are contributing content,” she said. “And that you have someone who will stay on top of the project.”
She emphasized the importance of each guide being its own product with its own plan and long-term strategy.
“We're going to continue improving upon that. We're excited about what we're seeing, but we're also anticipating that along the way we'll learn more lessons and possibly hit walls,” Rosaria said. “But we know that the content is solid and we can continue to reuse it.”
Rosaria Mineo has been a member of SocialMedia.org Health since 2017. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.