Digital Health Social Media Marketing: Twitter Best Practices
Sam Stern

Sam is the Founder and Chief Marketing Technologist at Modallic. Modallic specializes in brand development and marketing for Mobile Healthcare Technology (mHealth) firms. As a life-long entrepreneur, Sam directs the mHealth storytelling and mHealth agile marketing process unique to the Modallic approach.

“I’m not a Twitterer, I’m not a twerker, I’m not a Facebooker. I am a nothin I’m old school.” -Michael Jordan 

You’re not like Mike.

Michael Jordan, while old school, is known. He has influence. Brands, even ten years after his playing days in the NBA, still like and trust MJ.

Twitter is your path to get prospects and industry influencers to know, like, and trust you.

Just like Mike.

With 550 million estimated current users. Twitter is the ultimate platform for sharing and promoting links, and short burst real-time engagement and interaction. It offers the opportunity to build an engaged and relevant community, and can drive targeted traffic to your website.

Twitter is your listening, engagement, and connection platform.

First, you Listen to what your prospects and the leading voices in digital health are talking about. What challenges and problems do they express?

Next, you engage. Offer advice. Point them to resources to help them address their challenges. 

When you listen, engage and help, you build connections. 

Listen. Engage. Connect.

Know. Like. Trust.


Twitter Is NOT a Broadcast Medium


The vast majority of digital health firms use Twitter as a broadcast channel. They broadcast out their blog posts, podcasts, videos, and downloads. They rarely, if ever, actually engage in a two-way conversation on Twitter.

On Twitter, you must be prepared to respond to what your prospects, clients, and peers are talking about… FAST. According to this recent Lithium study, consumers punish brands that fail to respond quickly. Conversely, they reward rapid response.

Listen. Think and DO Rapid Response. Don’t Use Only to Broadcast.

This is the formula for how to use Twitter that positions you to land paying, profitable clients.

Realize first of all that Twitter is a two-way conversation. To use it effectively, you must first listen. Plug in mhealth, mobile health, digital health, health IT,  in Twitter Search to find out who is talking, and what they’re talking about,in your industry. 

According to Gary Vaynerchuk, Twitter works best for business when you adopt a Give, Give, Give… then Ask approach. It’s an attitude of caring. Care about what your prospects and clients are thinking and talking about. Give them answers and deliver value rather than first pushing your solution upon them.

If you approach Twitter as a broadcast channel, you’ll be guaranteed disappontment. It’s a two-way real-time engagement network. If you want Twitter to deliver value for your business marketing efforts, this is the key mindset.


Twitter Best Practices for Digital Health Firms


1. Listen First- Use Twitter Search to determine the conversation relevant to your business, and uncover prospects and influencers to Follow.

2. Follow Smart- Think Quality, not Quantity. Follow relevant people in the mHealth, health IT, and healthcare industry. Follow back those who Follow you so you can Direct Message them.

3. Profile Basics- Cover Image Graphic Size – 520 x 260 pixels. Logo- 80 x 80 pixels. Use a professional image and logo that presents your business brand. On the Bio, use keywords to describe what you do, who you help, and problems you solve.

Your Twitter bio should position you as an expert in your field who serves a specific audience,” states Dan Schawbel, author of Promote Yourself and Me 2.0

4. Best Time to Tweet- 1-3 PM Monday-Friday. Keep in mind, Twitter is a real-time conversation stream, so it’s also best to figure out how to schedule Tweets throughout the work day.

5. Always Reply to: Questions prospects raise and handle negative comments with thought. Negative comments can quickly escalate if not addressed quickly and with insight.

6. Use a Tool- Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, to schedule Tweets throughout the day. Keep your brand message in front of your Followers provides you with more opportunities to engage and widen your Twitter reach.

7. Sharing Ratio Guideline- In this podcast, I mentioned the 10-4-1 ratio to guide your Twitter activity- 10 Engagements/Shares of other Sources and Links, 4 links to your blog posts, 1 Call to Action- link to your Landing Page. Another take on this is Joe Pulizzi’s 4-1-1 Rule: “For every one self-serving tweet, you should re-tweet one relevant tweet and most importantly share four pieces of relevant content written by others.”

8. When sharing your posts and information- Keep Tweets under 100, best under 80, characters to allow for ReTweets. Add a full size Image with text to draw attention to your Tweet in the Twitter stream.

Remember, not push-Engage. You’re attempting to slowly build a “transfer of loyalty”, from prospects and industry influencers who don’t know you to turn them into Fans who will help to spread the word about your business.

One of the best resources of how to do this is John Locke’s How I Sold 1 Million ebooks in 5 Months. Locke, the first self-published author to sell over 1 million books on Kindle, reveals his marketing system. It’s brilliant in how he uses Twitter to build a loyal fan base.


 How to Write the Perfect Tweet



Use this as a checklist for writing Tweets.

  • Always check your spelling and grammar
  • Keep it to under 100 characters to allow for Re-Tweets
  • Don’t use more than two hashtags
  • Add a full-size Image with text to your Tweets
  • Avoid slang and abbreviations
  • Use link shortening to keep links under 20 characters
  • Use Call to Action verbs to motivate engagement
  • Allow space at the end of the Tweet for comments and Re-Tweets

One final piece of advice. Set up both personal Twitter accounts for all your staff, and a business Twitter account. Encourage your staff, especially all sales, marketing, and customer service people, to listen, engage, and connect personally with prospects, customers, and industry leaders.

With a smart approach, participation on Twitter can deliver results for B2B enterprise digital health firms and end-consumer mHealth application developers. 






(NOTE: This blog post was updated on Jul 28, 2014)

photo credit: marcokenmoellerp via hotopincc

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