Last month, we explored the reasons why your hospice organization should be using Instagram. This month, we're offering advice on how your organization should be using Twitter. Twitter, despite its 140-character limit, has managed to stay an important social media tool since its creation over a decade ago. There's a lot of advice out there on how to use Twitter as a marketing tool, so we've decided to do the leg work for you. Below, we've compiled some of the best tips out there into three easy steps! We also consider how these best practices pertain to hospice and senior care marketing, specifically.

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Preface to Step 1

If your hospice organization does not already have a Twitter account, sign up now! You're missing out on some valuable client and business-to-business relationship-building.

If your organization is on Twitter but the account is not currently being used, get back on! (We insist.) The expectation for all social media is that the information being shared is up-to-date. This is particularly true on Twitter given its constantly-updating interface. Information should also be relevant and consistent.

Social media management tools, like Buffer and Hootsuite, simplify the information-sharing process. They allow you to schedule posts in advance and track engagement. As you develop your Twitter strategy, we encourage you to consider signing up for one of these services.

Step 1: Content Development

Content is king.

At its most basic level, social media's purpose is to bring attention to information through content creation and sharing. As a representative of your hospice organization, it's important to determine what kinds of information you want to provide and who your primary audiences are.

In our Instagram post, we recommended that you engage with audiences across the decision-making spectrum. Of the one-quarter of online adults using Twitter, 23% are 30-49 years-old and 21% are 50-64 years-old. Gen Xers (adults in their mid 30s to mid 50s) are becoming increasingly important in the hospice decision-making process, so you should be including them in the conversation using this medium.

So, what kind of information should you be putting on Twitter? Strive to share unique, in-house-created content. Also, focus on being a resource for your audience rather than just pushing promotional content. Here are some suggestions:

  • Timely, organization-related news
    • Promotional events (ex: fundraisers, community outreach)
    • Office/building news (ex: new construction, changes to hours/accessibility of your facility[ies])
    • Organizational achievements (ex: awards, distinctions)
    • Highlight your services
    • Drive traffic to website content
      • Digital newsletters
      • Hospice/grief-related tools/services
      • Blog content

Twitter also makes it really easy to promote other's content through their sharing and retweeting features. The idea of this is to share useful content that you may not have the time or resources to create on your own. Ideas for hospice-related content you can share:

  • Grief support
  • First-hand accounts of hospice (employee, client)
  • Benefits of hospice
  • Defining hospice/clarifying its purpose

Unless users are specifically seeking out your profile, it can be easy for them to miss the quality content you're providing. The most effective way to ensure your best content is seen by more people is tweeting information you've tweeted before. Playing with the day, time of day, and message the second (or third or fourth) time around can drive more traffic to the information you were originally trying to promote.

A final suggestion for your Twitter content strategy--include images whenever possible. Tweets with images get 18% more engagement than those without.

Step 2: Engagement

Relationship-building goes hand-in-hand with content development. Whether you're trying to build your client base or establish partnerships, Twitter is a great resource for engaging with various audiences.

Some important engagement opportunities:

  • Personalized responses: Unless you're getting a high-level of interaction on your Twitter, it's important to take the time to respond to people directly, especially if they've taken the time to shout out your organization.
 
 
  • Twitter lists: Create audience-specific lists to help you identify both decision-makers and industry thought leaders. Lists also display a live feed of the content being shared by the people included in it. This can help you find shareable industry-related content faster than a hashtag search.
 
 
  • Start conversations: Don't hesitate to initiate contact with people and organizations you want to connect with. The worst that can happen is you don't get a response. The best thing? You're now on someone's radar, and they may follow you and respond to your tweet.

Step 3: Reliability and Consistency

The final step in an effective Twitter strategy is making sure you are providing reliable information and that you're posting with some consistency. At Carely, we share content from sources we trust, like the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and Hospice of Dayton. We also post at least once a day Monday through Friday. Your post schedule will vary on the amount of content you're able to produce and share. (But we think once a day is a good baseline.)

These steps are by no means comprehensive. So long as you're sharing unique content with some consistently and engaging meaningfully with your audiences, you will develop a stronger Twitter presence for your hospice organization.

All tips modified from the following resources: