Health and Wellness Beyond the Word Clouds

When exploring health and wellness needs, in-depth patient understanding is a must. And that calls for sophisticated social listening that takes providers beyond word clouds and other surface understanding to meaningful, actionable insight.

Digitas Health, an interactive marketing agency catering exclusively to healthcare and pharmaceutical companies, has the pulse of these conversations. And their own Lindsay Sumichrast, Sr Associate Content Strategist and Megan Roberts, Community Strategist, recently shared ways they use social listening to create impactful campaigns for healthcare clients.

Narrowing a Focus Without Limiting the Search

Exploring topics with social listening may seem simple. Some tools certainly want you to think it is, as they offer basic functionalities. But it’s an extremely nuanced undertaking. And the real challenge comes when agencies seek to build topics that are meaningful to patients.

To do this, agencies must narrow their focus, without limiting their search. Or else they risk missing out on key insight. And this could mean the difference between trudging alongside other providers, following the same, safe and highly trafficked path, or uncovering any of the following:

  • Needs that aren’t being met, along with ways to meet them (patients, much like all online consumers, often share precisely what needs to be done for them, so the work is done for you, if you’re listening!)
  • Complaints about other providers, offering angles for competing providers to compete
  • Customer care issues at your own facilities that could be easily (or not so easily) managed ahead of turning into a full-blown crisis
  • New segments that look like known segments but different slightly – and are in desperate need of your clients’ services

Casting a Wide Net

But to capture this, providers (and their agencies) need to cast a wide net and expediently work that intel back to actionable nuggets of intel. And that requires confidence in the tool one is using, as known keyword searches are too narrow from the outset and won’t cut it.

As they mentioned during their presentation, limiting your keywords gives little insight around the identity of the audience(s) and how brands can connect with them.

But next generation social listening offers a smorgasbord of intel, bursting with clickable, transparent context, so providers understand precisely what is powering each trending term. It’s allowing the tool to do the work for you, rather than searching for insight you hope to find. And it’s the way social listening is supposed to work!

limiting key words makes health and wellness search too narrow

And once you understand the terms that are resonating – and why – it’s time for behavior analysis.

Living Their Best Lives

You know what and why – but how can you reach patients/consumers at the right point in that behavior chain with content that will resonate and promote whatever actions you seek to encourage? It starts with social listening!

Helping patients make choices to live healthier lives is huge – and ultimately beneficial, of course. But that doesn’t make it any less of a struggle than what other brands/agencies face when selling a product or service.

Digitas uses NetBase to research audiences and sort out how to deliver content to them across the behavior chain.

Digitas uses NetBase to research audiences and sort out how to deliver content to them across the behavior chain

The Information-Action Fallacy

Citing Fogg’s information-action fallacy, Lindsay and Megan know that “People rarely change behavior as a result of being educated or informed. Take 30 seconds and think of an example where people have sustainably changed their behavior at scale due solely to information. The world is riddled with examples of information failing to change behavior, everything from eating healthy to global warming. Despite overwhelming evidence, we are still eating McDonalds and driving vehicles with the square footage of a tiny home.

Rather, they recognize the fact that emotion creates habit. “Over millions and millions of years, emotion was created as a tool to reinforce behavior and increase the likelihood of repeating that behavior over time, thus creating habits. So, if you want your costumers to develop a habit, make sure they feel something.”

And this is done by watching for spikes in motivation caused by observable factors. That spike is when you trigger patients/consumers to take action. “The magnitude of the spike should determine the type of behavior you trigger—the larger the spike, the newer or more difficult a behavior change you can trigger.”

capturing spikes in conversation with social listening

Capturing those spikes and knowing what to do with them is why agencies have to understand the context of their social insight, beyond the word clouds. With it, providers can discover super important insight (mentioned at the beginning of this post) and use it to design conversations that are personal – that feel super personal, rather – and happen at scale.

Connecting Words to Action

They can do this as they capture patients’ hopes and fears around specific procedures and/or conditions. And are then able to deliver the content they need to take action by:

  • Understanding the stories your audience is telling now
  • Validating existing attitudes
  • Designing for self-expression
  • Specifying actions they could/should take
  • Creating stories worth sharing using simple narrative structures that resonate with language they’re comfortable with

Sound laborious for agencies/brands? It all happens very quickly actually . .

Reach out for a demo and we can show you next gen AI in action so you can see how quickly it surfaces relevant conversations and corresponding triggers for your category. And then get to work watching for those spikes to offer up relevant content!