5 Tips for Email Messaging in Post-Pandemic Care

Identifying Post-Pandemic Personas

Like most marketers, you likely make email marketing part of your marketing arsenal. As we move into the next phase of this historic pandemic, you’ll probably reach out to patients who fall into one of three categories:

  1. “Ready to Go” – People who are eager to return to everyday life as quickly as possible, with no hesitation to visit doctors’ offices again
  2. “Nervous but Necessary” – People who understand it’s time to visit their doctor, schedule a checkup, or follow through on a procedure, but might need some help feeling comfortable
  3. “Not Yet Ready” – People who aren’t comfortable venturing into public yet, and might be harder to encourage to come in for care

Your hospitals and doctors’ offices are probably buzzing with new protocols to ensure patient safety, and you’ve probably started communicating them with patients. Before they come to your facility, follow these tips for clear, consistent email messaging that prepares them for their future visits.

1. Lead with Empathy & Accessibility

While the world slowly approaches “life as normal,” your patients are trying to navigate the right time to seek care for themselves and their loved ones. That’s why tone is so important.

Tone is part of your brand voice and should be documented in your style guide and trained among people creating content in your organization. Empathy is ever-important in healthcare, and especially in the midst of a pandemic. While email can sometimes feel like its own beast, it’s important to keep this empathy at the forefront as you create your email outreach messages.

As you’re considering your tone in post-pandemic messaging, think about:

  • Who you’re trying to reach: What are they doing when they read your email? What state of mind might they be in? How much time do they have?
  • How you message content on your website: Is your content friendly, calming, and approachable on your website? Follow the same guidelines in your emails.
  • How you might define your brand voice in three words: Can you be conversational, but not too casual? Or professional, but not patronizing? Document your decision and share (and practice) among your team.

In a similar vein to empathy, focus on using plain language to speak directly to your recipient and reader. Anxiety and fear impact our ability to understand and absorb information and can even interfere with our decision-making abilities. This is magnified in email, as you’re often reaching your reader as they’re multitasking.

2. Make Content Digestible

Like your website’s foundational content and content marketing, content that’s easy to digest is better for all users. This includes common writing for the web best practices including:

  • Accurate, descriptive headings
  • Short, easy-to-read paragraphs
  • Scannable bulleted lists
  • Patient-focused (first person) language that speaks to the reader
  • Active voice content, written in the present tense

Breaking content and topics into smaller “chunks” is an effective place to start. While your email shouldn’t attempt to cover 20 topics in one message, you might be covering three or four that need to be broken up appropriately so the email reader can quickly scan and digest the information on the screen.

3. Consider Other Media to Share Your Message

Remember that text may not be the best delivery vehicle for your information right now. Videos, infographics, blog posts, and question and answer articles are valuable approaches to delivering important messages.

Engaging video, for example, can be another extension of an empathetic experience: Invite a doctor or leader to share a video message that updates patients on what to expect upon their first visit back to your clinics. Videos are very mobile-friendly, and popular among many consumers, even in an email format.

Infographics are also a simple, streamlined way to deliver information that’s engaging and digestible. Even if you’re updating people on your sanitization practices in waiting rooms, an infographic can be a great way to share that information.

4. Maximize Your Content with Links

Long story short, don’t publish content in your email marketing that can’t also be found on your website. Instead, maximize your email messaging by including links to foundational content on your website.

First, not every patient may get your emails, or open your emails. More importantly, your website is likely driving an increased amount of traffic during and after the pandemic, so keep your website updated with new information across your:

  • Patient and caregiver resources
  • Service-line pages, especially those impacted by COVID-19 changes
  • Patient portal messaging
  • Homepage banners or featured homepage content

In your emails, link to those pages of content, or to your crisis resource hub, where the recipient can read more information at their convenience. Then, they’re in charge of their exploratory journey from there and may even convert by scheduling an appointment after reading.

5. Avoid Experimenting Right Now

Email marketing is a great place to experiment with audience segments, messaging, and A/B testing, but now may not be the best time to run a large experiment, such as adjusting your voice and tone.

As your team works with leadership to define important messages to share with patients as you invite them back to non-urgent medical care and appointments, transparency, honesty, and accessibility should be your key goals.

However, keep an eye on your open rates and engagement, as this could dictate how and when you send future messages as news evolves from your organization.

Need Help Getting Started?

If you’re gearing up your email marketing for the return of services to your health system but want help ensuring you’ve captured the right information, contact Geonetric. Our expert digital strategists and marketers can help you create messages that are patient-focused and written with plain language. Or, download our whitepaper on how to prepare for the post-pandemic rebound.

Healthcare Marketing During an Economic Downturn

Sobering headlines and statistics about record unemployment numbers, slowing global trade, decline of gross domestic product, and unstable stock markets paint a picture comparable to the Great Depression. A recent SSRS and the Commonwealth Fund survey reports more than a third of Americans have seen some disruption to their income due to job loss, cut hours, or a pay cut. Of those, three percent have lost their health insurance.

In this uniquely challenging (and ever-evolving) situation, optimizing your marketing efforts can help ensure your messaging resonates with consumers who have financial concerns.

Remember the Last Recession…

The 2008 economic contraction had a different cause and took place under different circumstances than we’re experiencing today. But what lessons can we learn from the last recession that can help us now? How did the 2008 financial crisis impact healthcare organizations, providers, and consumers?

According to Advanced Billing & Consulting Services (ABCS), the 2008 financial crisis taught us:

  • The healthcare industry may not initially feel the impact
  • Demand for certain treatments decreases, somewhat alleviating the shortage of qualified healthcare workers; in 2008, some retired returned to the workforce
  • Patients may delay elective surgery and medical care for minor, nonemergency conditions to save money needed to spend on necessities
  • Outpatient care, considered “usually more consumer-friendly and affordable… when compared to more traditional inpatient settings,” may expand

ABCS references a study of Great Recession trends from the American Academy of Family Physicians that looked at consumer behavior. Patients were more likely to:

  • Have higher overall stress levels
  • Experience anxiety about their abilities to pay for care
  • Cancel their appointments
  • Skip preventive care and develop new health issues as a result
  • Lose access to employer-sponsored or private insurance coverage due to job loss or furlough

Knowing your audience and their pain points is one of the most critical aspects of effective communications. While you’re writing, developing or refreshing marketing personas, or other tasks, use the above findings to inform your understanding of your readers.

…And Look to the Future

A lot has changed in digital marketing and content strategy best practices in the last few years. Healthcare organizations, providers, consumers, and marketing departments are much different than they were more than 10 years ago.

The following tips are informed by what’s happened in the past and tweaked to most effectively reach audiences of today. Bear in mind that the 2020 pandemic is a rapidly changing situation and your marketing efforts need to adapt with the same agility.

Let Empathy Guide You

Consumers feel more confident to convert when your content is relatable, readable, accessible, and helpful.

  • Aim to help consumers feel safe and secure returning to your healthcare facilities, and consider what types of questions patients have in times like this, especially when it comes to care.
    • What will my visit be like?
    • How can I trust it’s safe to visit a waiting room or facility?
    • What are you doing to protect me/my loved ones when we come to an in-person meeting?
  • Meet your users where they are, positioning your providers as their go-to resource for answers and solutions.
  • Write in an engaging, user-focused way (versus an organization-focused style) that demonstrates your patient-centered ethos.
  • Use plain language to make your content accessible to users of varying health literacy abilities, and conduct keyword research to understand the language your target audiences are most familiar with.

Promote Services Strategically

If you offer services that may see increased interest or demand, consider promoting them more widely.

For example, if your organization offers mental and behavioral health services and can accommodate increased volume, you may see improved engagement and conversions promoting counseling through a marketing campaign.

Promote services that were paused during the pandemic. Patient and visitor restrictions prevented people from receiving annual physical exams and routine cancer screenings, such as colonoscopies and mammograms. Young children may need to catch up on routine recommended vaccines.

Telemedicine as Competitive Differentiator

Patients will understandably worry about the risk of COVID-19 infection until a vaccine is widely available. When choosing between two organizations, the ability to see a provider virtually may be the user’s deciding factor. Whatever services you offer through virtual visits, promote those widely.

Communicate Risk

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To avoid loss of patient volume for preventive and primary care services, explain the detrimental health impact patients who forgo or delay these services may experience.

It may be especially effective to note that waiting until a health issue becomes an emergency is likely to end up being a costlier option than catching it earlier, in addition to having a larger negative impact on the consumer’s health.

Answer Financial Questions

Our keyword research often reveals queries related to billing and finances. These include “paying for [XYZ] care,” “what’s the cost of [XYZ]?,” “financial help for patients,” and similar variations. We also hear from doctors and other department subject matter experts that these are some of the most common questions they get from patients.

On your service line webpages, use plain language to explain how most patients pay for care, and cross-link to relevant areas of your website as needed. For example, you may note that you accept major insurance plans, Medicare/Medicaid, and offer financial assistance or aid to patients who qualify. If affordability is a competitive differentiator for your organization, emphasize it in your content.

Get Expert Help

Contact Geonetric today to evaluate your current COVID-19 marketing efforts and plan a strategy to support future success.

Lessening the Fears of Patients Who Need Essential Treatments During COVID-19

Still, some patients may consider whether they should risk exposure to COVID-19 by going to treatment at a hospital or outpatient facility.

Many health care professional groups and associations have put out recommendations about treatments, therapies, and surgeries for patients. For many patients, delays can be detrimental and make treatment less effective. The National Kidney Foundation urges kidney disease patients not to skip their regular dialysis treatments. And the American Society of Clinical Oncology does not recommend changing or withholding cancer therapies.

Ultimately, decisions about postponing necessary treatments and therapies should be made on an individual basis with a patient’s doctor.

Some patients may have to be hospitalized if that is the safest way for them to get treatment and monitoring for their condition, if they have waited too long for care, or if they have COVID-19 symptoms along with their chronic condition.

Protecting At-Risk Patients

Patients with cancer, kidney disease, multiple sclerosis, or a transplanted organ are at higher risk if they get COVID-19. That’s because of their health condition, a weakened immune system from treatments and medications, coexisting conditions, or donated organs that do not work as efficiently as they should.

If any critical treatments or therapies are available through your home health care services, highlight the benefits to your patients of receiving care and medical supplies at home. Support from home health providers can keep patients safer and healthier.

Patients with chronic conditions need the most protection and reassurance during a pandemic. Coping with cancer and other diseases and worrying about the coronavirus can be overwhelming. They need support. Making them feel comfortable is an essential part of being a health care communicator.

Outreach & Advice from a Trusted Source

Your patients need to know what is true and what isn’t true, and how your organization is caring for patients with chronic conditions. They will value information from you because they trust your organization and providers.

Your primary care providers and specialists might want to begin outreach with these patients, so they don’t slip through the cracks. Use your electronic health records tool, a phone visit, or telemedicine services to connect, answer questions, and put them at ease with their care plan and treatments. During these touchpoints, be sure your providers encourage patients to seek emergency care for their condition if needed. This keeps your patients in the decision-making process for their health care and mental well-being.

Information Can Reduce Patient Anxiety

Patients may worry about the safety of necessary care. As a health care communicator, you’ll need to be transparent and share comprehensive information with your patients to lessen their concerns. Craft messages about:

  • Patient safety as your organization’s number one priority – Enforce face coverings at all times and social distancing in the hospital or health system’s facilities. If some locations have different rules, explain why and what differences exist.
  • Infection prevention measures at your facilities – Outline cleaning and disinfecting practices your organization has put into practice to prevent infection spread. If you are using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s infection prevention guideline, be sure to mention that detail.
  • Prescreening procedures – Let your patients know the appointment prescreening processes you are using before they come to your location. This may include phone screening and public entrances screening before allowing patients to enter your hospital or clinic. If employee protocol is different, explain those precautions, too. Make sure patients know your procedures apply to all patients and employees, so they feel safe receiving care from your health care professionals.
  • Surges in virtual visits – In-person appointments have gone down during COVID-19 temporary closures, and telemedicine usage is up. Explain to nervous patients that this means fewer people are coming through your doors and, therefore, the disease is less likely to spread. Lower patient volume gives your organization time to clean, disinfect, and screen visitors as a way to keep everyone safer.
  • Treatment of COVID-19 patients – If you are treating many patients with COVID-19, your other patients may wonder if they are safe when they come to your facilities. If you have a separate unit or area and staff for treating COVID-19 patients, explain the separation of those patients from other patients and other specific precautions you are taking.
  • Visitor restrictions – Make your visitor restrictions clear. If family or caregivers are not allowed to accompany patients to their treatments, tell the patient during prescreening. Explain how your limits help keep everyone safe by exposing fewer people to the person-to-person spread of the infection.
  • Curbside services – If any of your locations provide curbside services, such as pharmacy or home medical equipment pickup, let patients know they won’t have to risk exposure to COVID-19 to get what they need.
  • Contactless, digital payments – Online bill pay isn’t new, but it’s more popular than ever because it reduces the need for patients to interact with staff. Let patients know where to find access to your online bill pay services.

There are many risks during a pandemic; information can bring relief to patients. Regular communication is key.

Contact Us to Help Your Team

Reach out to Geonetric for content services to support your team’s response to the coronavirus. And explore our COVID-19 resources hub.

Preparing for the Post-pandemic Rebound

Whether you’ve had a heavy COVID-19 case load or not, the financial impact of this pandemic on health systems has been dramatic. Re-engaging health consumers is critical to the financial survival of many organizations, and care deferral is beginning to have serious consequences for the health of many Americans.

As you plan to open service lines, this white paper will help you:

  • Create a process that embraces uncertainty
  • Manage expectations for consumers, employees, and providers
  • Move your marketing focus from crisis communication to declining threat and transition to service line marketing
  • Utilze messaging pillars to promote what you care able to safely deliver today
  • Chart a course for content marketing, content strategy, and digital marketing based the phase your orgnaiation is in


Download our White Paper

Bringing Patients Back to the Doctor’s Office After COVID-19

Reversing a Trend

Your healthcare organization has spent months delaying elective procedures, restricting visitors, and shifting some appointments to telemedicine. As the number of COVID-19 cases starts to fall in some areas, your organization may be ready to spread the opposite message: Come back in for care.

It feels like a tall task, as it does for all industries trying to encourage the return of consumers who’ve been told for so long to stay home. But the stakes are highest for healthcare. Emergency departments have seen fewer patients come in with life-threatening stroke and heart attack symptoms — which professional medical societies believe is due to fear, not fewer emergencies. Since the pandemic started, there’s been an 18% drop in healthcare spending, according to MarketWatch.

Some healthcare organizations are planning for a potential surge of patients as restrictions ease on nonurgent procedures. But some people, especially those who don’t have life-disrupting symptoms, may wait and see how their community’s initial return to public life plays out. Or, having managed their symptoms at home for the past few months, they may decide they no longer need professional help. Many patients almost certainly won’t seek timely care.

What You Can Do

Information was key to changing public behavior to control the spread of COVID-19. Knowledge will also help consumers feel confident returning to in-person health services.

During the height of the pandemic, your organization may have seen record numbers of website visitors, email subscribers, and social media followers eager for updates on COVID-19. Harness your new reach to educate people on the need to get medical care.

Some valuable information to share:

  • Measures you’ve kept in place to continue preventing the spread of infections. Patients will feel safer knowing some precautions are still in place:
    • Sanitization efforts in offices
    • Phone screenings of patients before in-person visits
    • Social distancing guidelines in waiting rooms
    • Face masks for staff and patients
    • Separate entrances for immunocompromised or high-risk patients
    • Maintenance of separate care areas for patients with contagious illnesses
    • Highlight even the routine safety measures you’ve always taken.
  • Risk to patients’ long-term health of avoiding medical care. Cape Cod Healthcare wrote a cautionary blog post on this topic, citing a patient whose delay seeking care for appendicitis resulted in a weeklong hospital stay. Another hesitant patient, who felt chest pain, had to hear that “the actual risk of having a heart attack was worse than the theoretical risk of getting COVID-19” at the hospital.
  • The value of getting evidence-based care in your established medical setting. When hospitals restricted visitors and cared for coronavirus patients, some expectant moms planned home births. Forced to put off elective procedures, other patients may have explored unproven alternative remedies.
  • Any guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization on the safety of returning to public life. Consumers have gotten used to relying on these sources over the past few months. Support your advice with their trusted information.

How to Get the Message Out

Take advantage of the same channels you’ve used for other information related to COVID-19. Consider:

  • Using your website’s alert panel or homepage banner for timely content urging patients to resume routine and elective care, and linking to a blog post with the information above
  • Asking a respected or well-known doctor to let you record a video of them explaining why patients shouldn’t delay care
  • Encouraging individual providers to deliver customized messages to their patients via the patient portal, mail, or email
  • Publishing a blog post with questions for patients to ask their provider before coming in for a visit
  • Profiling patients who came in for elective care and recovered successfully
  • Reaching out to the media for help spreading the message; news outlets will be covering the effects of the pandemic for months
  • Engaging with skeptics or hesitant patients on social media

Accommodate Nervous Patients

If you’re like many organizations, you ramped up telemedicine offerings in response to the pandemic. Continue promoting these for all patients, especially those who aren’t ready to return to a clinic. Expanded virtual care will be part of the new normal after COVID-19.

If your organization has concierge medicine doctors who make home visits, consider giving this service more promotion as well. It’s an option for patients who want in-person primary care without having to worry about the perceived risk of coming to a doctor’s office.

Address Financial Barriers

For some patients, the obstacle to care isn’t fear, but finances. Pandemic-related job losses have cost many patients not only income, but also health insurance. That means more members of your audience will need information about financial assistance programs and free or low-cost clinics. As long as the insurance providers you work with waive copays for video visits, publicize this information as well.

Get Communications Advice From Experts

Post-pandemic healthcare marketing is relatively new ground for many professionals. Get advice from strategists and content writers who’ve worked with other organizations in your position. Contact us to learn how Geonetric can help.

Introducing the “New Normal” at Your Hospital

As your organization develops new approaches to caring for your patients in the coming weeks and months, consider your website a helpful vehicle to deliver information to your patients, visitors, and community, as well as a way to assure nervous patients that it’s safe to come back for care.

For help getting started, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guide for reopening public spaces.

Keep Telemedicine Available

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reported an increased use of telemedicine services during the pandemic. One leading telemedicine provider, Teledoc Health, reported a 50% increase in visit volume in March, with more than half being first-time users.

Telemedicine isn’t only a helpful alternative during outbreaks of illness, but also an accessible option for patients who don’t have reliable transportation, physical disabilities, or face other barriers that make it hard to visit your facilities for in-person care.

After the pandemic, telemedicine may become a staple to keep in touch with your patients on a regular basis, whether it’s for urgent care or post-surgery follow-ups.

How You Can Support Telemedicine

Conversations about this service are likely ongoing in your organization, but it’s important that any changes to telemedicine offerings are communicated clearly on your website, so patients know:

  • Which service lines offer telemedicine
  • When telemedicine is a good option for care
  • How to make a telemedicine appointment and what technology they need
  • How to prepare for a successful virtual visit, such as choosing a quiet room with good lighting

If telemedicine becomes a regular part of your service offerings, be sure it’s represented as a service line. Likewise, link to your telemedicine page on service lines that offer it as an alternative.

Continue Offering Online Classes

Like telemedicine, there is room to continue to reach people with technology, and this includes your classes and events.

Your organization might have already moved some of your classes and events online; don’t shy away from keeping online options after the pandemic.

(If you haven’t moved classes and events online yet, learn how birth care classes are a great place to start for online event offerings.)

How You Can Support Online Events

If you have online classes, follow up with participants to learn about their experience. Consider a survey that asks:

  • What did they like most?
  • What was challenging?
  • How was the online experience?
  • What was the experience of registering like?
  • How did they learn about the class?

For some service-specific classes, ask participants if they hope to have a procedure, treatment, or service at your organization to learn about their path to care.

This gives you an opportunity to improve your user experience for future online classes, and also review the viability of online events being a permanent offering. The benefit? You can get more participants, more registrants, and reach more people from the comfort of their homes. You might also reveal opportunities for:

  • Revising website copy to better explain how to access online events
  • Adjustments to promotion strategies for online events
  • Measuring, reporting, and improving ROI for online classes

Reimagine Your Clinic Spaces

It’s standard practice to keep your clinic spaces safe by disinfecting surfaces and community spaces, but in what other ways does the “new normal” change your waiting rooms?

Most waiting rooms have chairs and tables close together. But, as your facilities open back up to a more typical number of in-person visits, separating chairs by 6 feet or more – per social distancing guidelines – might mean you have reduced waiting room capacity.

How You Can Support Clinic Safety

You’ll want to communicate these changes to facilities clearly on your location profiles. This helps set expectations for patients about what to expect, should they need in-person treatment.

As you return to normal operations, it might be necessary for patients and guests to use protective equipment and materials. If so, be clear about these changes on your website and in your patient communication. Before visiting your facilities, patients and guests need to know if they’ll have to use:

  • Face masks
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Rubber gloves

As your facilities welcome more in-person visits, you may also implement or continue the practice of temperature checks for health and safety. Let patients know if this is something required before their visit.

Share this information in your website’s patient and visitor section and location profiles, email marketing, and patient portal communications.

For more tips on preparing patients and visitors, see the American Academy of Family Physicians’ physician offices checklist.

Communicate With Vendors, Too

You’ll want to evaluate the vendor visit requirements, too. The pandemic likely changed the number of vendors you allowed on campuses. As your facilities open up to business-as-normal, let your vendors and partners know if there are permanent changes and requirements for on-campus visits.

Share Giving Opportunities and Protocols

During the pandemic, your community members and neighbors supported you and your staff. They also sought ways to help support you, whether through sewing face masks or sending food and meals to front-line staff.

From volunteers to blood donors, you have many people looking to assist your organization. Consider what information they need to know – especially for protocols that have changed.

For example, perhaps you’ve changed your:

  • In-kind material donation rules. Are there restrictions on what you can accept? Are there new requirements before someone donates? Should donations be sent to a new location?
  • Blood donation process. Are temperature checks required for blood donors? Have you changed the location of your blood donation services?
  • Volunteer opportunities. Where can volunteers be most useful after the pandemic? How do you train and prepare new volunteers with the changes in your organization?

Engage All Marketing Channels

Your expertise as a healthcare marketer takes on new value in today’s world. It’s essential to provide next steps and reassurances to patients and guests so they know your staff and facilities are safe places to receive care. Communicate using all your channels and tools, including:

Ask your social followers, email subscribers, and community what questions or concerns weigh on their mind as your hospital services return. This information can help drive content marketing, messaging, and advertising strategies to answer concerns and build a smooth path for hesitant patients to get care.

Ask for Help

Juggling these important updates along with other ongoing marketing projects puts a lot on your plate. If you need a partner to help you organize and strategize your post-pandemic communication, contact Geonetric for help.

You’ll partner with digital marketing experts in healthcare, ready to help you get the most important information to patients when they need it most.

COVID-19 Editorial Style Guide

You’ll find guidance on:

  • Voice, tone and readability
  • Language that counters stigma
  • Official disease and virus names
  • Trending terms that may be confusing or tricky

Need help updating already published content? Review our quick tips for content governance during a crisis, or reach out to Geonetric’s expert healthcare writers for assistance.


Download our Guide

Ready to Rebound: Next Steps for Healthcare Marketers

Geonetric’s Chief Strategy Officer, Ben Dillon, will be joined by experts from a range of healthcare marketing disciplines to provide guidance and actionable recommendations for the road ahead.

Attendees will learn:

  • The current state of healthcare marketing, including strategies for moving forward.
  • Key principles of agility that help leading organizations respond more quickly and effectively to uncertainty.
  • Approaches to engaging your local communities and building confidence in your organization and brand.
  • Methods for promoting available services and educating patients on the risks of delaying care.
  • Strategies for bringing services back online and filling schedules in a controlled approach while juggling multiple priorities.
  • Answers to your live questions and those of your peers.

Use Empathy to Guide COVID-19 Home Health Care Marketing

Follow our COVID-19 communications pointers for strategic, empathetic messaging in your website content and other marketing assets.

  • Affirm availability of home visits. Reference trusted and credible sources, such as AARP®, that encourage continued services with increased precautionary measures.
  • Answer common questions. What concerns are your home health caregivers hearing from patients and their family members? Use those questions to generate ideas for your content marketing assets and other communications.
  • Communicate when and how patients with symptoms of or potential exposure to COVID-19 should inform your organization. Instruct your patients not to wait until their provider comes to their house for a visit to inform them.
  • Explain how your policies have changed due to the virus. Emphasize new and existing safety protocols that prevent the spread of infection, such as frequent hand-washing, wearing of masks and gloves, between-visit disinfection, checking staff and patient temperatures, and other practices.
  • Highlight the benefits of your services. Your organization’s home health care providers play a vital role in the well-being of your patients and their loved ones. Many patients who receive home care have health conditions that put them at higher risk if they get the new coronavirus. Support from home health providers can keep patients safer and healthier at home, prevent trips to the emergency room that could lead to exposure, and provide reassurance to anxious loved ones unable to visit in person.
  • If any services have moved online, give clear and detailed instructions on how patients can access their providers via virtual visits or phone calls. Cover how patients benefit from check-ins with their home care providers. Explain the specific services a provider can offer electronically or by phone, such as safety assessments, management of chronic conditions, rehabilitation services, emotional support, and more.
  • Share the firsthand experiences of your patients and providers. Stories about how your organization has adapted services due to COVID-19 and what patients are experiencing may be picked up by local media covering the pandemic. Telling your provider’s stories can also create greater empathy and understanding for the processes you’re putting in place to face this illness. These stories can help prospective or current patients feel more comfortable with home health services.
  • Review the hours and contact information listed on your website,  location profiles, and Google My Business listings, and update them if needed. If your hours or other business information has changed, make sure your content accurately reflects these changes, to prevent patient confusion or frustration.

Voice & Tone

In all your communications during this challenging time, make compassion the centerpiece of your messaging. There will be a time for more traditional marketing when the threat of the pandemic passes. What’s always true — yesterday, today, and tomorrow — is content that recognizes its audience’s emotional state and responds to it with a positive tone and helpful solutions not only leaves readers feeling more at ease, it can increase brand loyalty.

Your Source for COVID-19 Digital Support

Check out Geonetric’s free COVID-19 resources or contact us today for content strategy and development services and SEO support.

Tips for Using Social Media During COVID-19

More Eyes on Social Media

During a public health crisis like the COVID-19 virus pandemic, people want to learn how to stay safe and healthy, and how to get care when they need it. Many are turning to their local hospitals and health systems for that information.

In fact, a Geonetric consumer survey, 33% said their trust in their local health system has increased or strongly increased during the pandemic.

Part of where this information seeking and trust is happening is on social media.

According to a New York Times analysis, social media, in particular, has seen a rapid increase in use during the social distancing, shelter-in-place, and self-isolation of the pandemic. More specifically, Facebook has seen a 27% traffic increase in desktop users and a 1.1% traffic increase in Facebook app users.

Answer Your Audience’s Questions

Social media gives your team a direct-to-consumer channel to engage audiences. Tools like Facebook and Instagram let you use images, videos, stories, and text-based posts to connect in real-time with people who have questions and concerns you can address.

As you engage your audience on social, keep an eye on the trending questions and concerns from your community, such as:

  • When to wear a face mask or use protective gloves – and how to use them correctly
  • Where testing is available
  • What common symptoms are
  • Healthy foods to make from pantry basics
  • How to exercise safely and effectively when quarantined

Questions coming from real people also open doors for other content marketing for your audience, and provide a supportive, educational perspective that people need.

If you aren’t sure what to post, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has created a free social media toolkit with copy, images, and infographics to share with your followers.

Lend an Empathetic Ear — and Voice

During a crisis like this, your community and colleagues are facing uncertainty and anxiety. This puts you – as a healthcare marketer – in a distinct position to guide, educate, and help. In times like this, it’s more important that you act as a neighbor, not as a brand.

Beyond sharing health and wellness tips, evolving updates, and other newsworthy information, you can foster empathy with social media marketing by sharing stories inside and outside your walls, including

  • Donations and gifts to your staff and front-line clinicians
  • Celebrations of your colleagues and patients in the hospital
  • Stories from doctors, nurses, and staff who are helping your community
  • Stories from patients and families

Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, shared photos of staff wearing donated masks across their social channels. The posts also linked to their website for more information about making donations.

Delivering Content with Empathy

The language and images you use in your posts are important to your audience. Engage tips on how to write for the web and use social media, and apply them to your posts:

  • Write in plain language and avoid jargon
  • Keep posts meaningful, write in the present tense (if possible), and use short paragraphs to make the posts easy to read and scan
  • Use empathetic images – even if they’re stock photos – that avoid anxiety and convey empathy and healthy tips
  • Cross-link to relevant content on your website, such as blog posts or content marketing, service line pages, or your crisis resource hub
  • Make posts actionable, to lead people to helpful information or next steps

Strategize Your Social Media

According to a study from Sprout Social, the optimal day and time to post vary by platform. It’s important to note that these recommended times to post on social platforms are based on pre-pandemic circumstances but can be used as a good benchmark to begin with and optimize as times proceeds.

Such benchmarks can help you reach more people by posting on the right channel at the right time – and take advantage of specific features and tools.


For the healthcare industry, Facebook sees the most engagement on Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. to noon. The typical business workweek also gives reliable times for engagement from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Facebook implemented features for business pages to publish business hour updates and service changes. As Google My Business and Bing Places have done, Facebook lets businesses make updates including:

  • Making temporary closures
  • Offering online classes
  • Offering telehealth services


The best time to post on Instagram for the healthcare industry falls on Tuesdays at around 8:00 a.m. Incorporate trending crisis-related hashtags, such as #flattenthecurve, #stayhome, and #quarantineandchill, into your content in an appropriate and tasteful way.

Use Instagram to provide educational content that points viewers to your website for up-to-date and credible information. Don’t shy away from using Instagram to share inspirational content to give viewers that glimmer of hope they need.


Top times in the healthcare industry to post on Twitter are on Wednesdays from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Other weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. have also proven to show reliable engagement.

Twitter recommends using images and videos to attract users and reach a wider audience. Consider using threads for status updates and restrictions that just don’t fit into Twitter’s allotted 280-character posts.


With LinkedIn’s target audience being primarily professional users, the best times to post occur during the workweek, Tuesday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, LinkedIn has increased efforts to assist organizations and communities dealing with the impact of the pandemic, including offering free job postings. This service — available through June 30, 2020 — receives additional promotion from LinkedIn to highly relevant candidates through the “Urgently Hiring” job category.


The best time to post on YouTube falls during weekdays from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Views tend to peak during the weekday evening hours, so by posting in that window, you’ll have plenty of time for your video to be processed and indexed by Google.

Optimize your videos with accurate titles, descriptions, tagging, and transcription. When possible, include relevant keywords in the video title and description to attract search users.

Video content that is educational, inspirational, and helpful is a great resource for viewers.

Monitor Your Social Traffic

Posting on optimal days and times is a good starting point for any organization to engage on social media. After you’ve built a solid foundation of followers and engagement, check your channels’ insights and analytics.

These data points help you analyze when your page’s target audience is engaging most with your content. This strategy is especially important to utilize during the COVID-19 virus. With limited data right now on optimum times to post, it’s more important than ever before to look at your own social media metrics. Take these findings and adjust your schedule and content calendar.

Social media marketing metrics you should measure fall into three primary categories:

  • Audience – Shows gender, age, location, and other demographic information to help you determine who’s engaging with your content
  • Content – Allows you to spot patterns in engaging and less-engaging posts, including link posts, images, videos, and text-based posts
  • Engagement – Provides benchmarks to gauge performance, including likes, comments, clicks, shares, views, and more

You can typically find this information through each social platform’s insights/analytics tool.
Tools like Google Analytics and UTM parameters aid in tracking how social media drives traffic to your site. UTMs allow you to tag links to track which social platform is bringing the most visitors and how those visitors are engaging with your site.

The Most Important Thing is Empathy

Your social media presence can be a source of relief for some or a source of hope for others. Take your position in times like these as an opportunity to connect with your community beyond providing care in your clinics. This is a perfect chance to extend empathy and provide outstanding support during a difficult time for everyone.

If you’re not sure how to set up your social media analytics and tracking, or you need help building social posts and campaigns during the pandemic, reach out to Geonetric to get started.