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Vice President, The Go! Agency

Healthcare Tweeting: How to Promote Your Healthcare Organization Using Twitter

It seems we can’t even watch the local evening news without someone asking us to “Follow Them on Twitter”. So where does your healthcare business fit into the messy, fast and furious Twitter-verse?

Finding your way on Twitter takes time, research and a good solid plan of action. You will need to log on to Twitter.com and create an account before you start. You can then send messages via your computer or smart phone. But once you have these crucial elements in place a new question arises: How often should I tweet?

Some believe that it has to be based on time, others based on topic. While both of these are good points, especially for targeting purposes, they really don’t answer the question “how many”.

I believe a consistent plan is crucial to a successful Twitter campaign. With every plan, there should be a good mixture of activity so all of your bases are covered. Twitter gives you a few options in terms of activity/interaction and I want to focus on the main venues here: tweets, mentions, direct messages and re-tweets.

There are several ways that you can communicate with others on Twitter.

First, think about how much time you will be able to dedicate to marketing on Twitter everyday. Maybe you have a couple of hours or maybe just 20-30 minutes a day. Using this time frame, consider how many actions that you will be able to complete during this time and create a daily plan.

While this is a bit more practiced and could be labeled “not spontaneous”, when you are a busy person you need to tick things off your daily list with great speed. If you don’t, then things probably slip away from you and end up in the dreaded “Ah, tomorrow’s another day” pile.

As your starting point for a daily action plan here’s a sample of how many “tweets” and other Twitter activities I would suggest you execute on a given day with a little description of the importance of the activity:

Tweets (2 messages): These come directly from you/your organization and will contain content that is engaging, entertaining and/or educational. Share links, photos, videos, quotes or news pertaining directly to items that your target market will enjoy reading and be eager to share.

DMs/Direct Messages (2-5 messages): These messages are sent privately between two Twitter users. If you have a relatively small number of followers, these do not come in fast and furious. They will once you begin to amass followers on a daily basis. Take 2-5 of the DMs that you receive and send a personal response to the Twitter user. This will help you get in front of your followers yet again and add that “personal touch” that many miss on Twitter.

RTs/Retweets (2 messages): These are tweets from another Twitter user that you are sharing with YOUR followers with the click of a button. I suggest finding two influential Twitter users in your product/service category and RT (share) their tweet with your followers. This is a great way of getting in front of that influential person while also sharing good solid information with your followers.

@replies/Mentions (2 messages): When you type @ in front of a Twitter user’s name, your tweet will be shared within their main Twitter stream. Choose two influential people and tweet them about something that they have shared, or even something that you have seen in the media outside of Twitter – anything on topic. This is a great way to connect with influential people in your niche and will help you connect with more quality members of your target audience.

My total for the 20-30 minute Twitter user is a consistent 8-10 per day. As your Twitter following begins to grow, you will need to spend more time as you receive more mentions, RTs and DMs. By the time this happens, you will be in a groove and will be able to handle everything that comes your way. When you do this everyday, you will hit your stride and after the first month won’t even need to worry about the number of Tweets that you put out. It will become second nature and the whole process will become organic.

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