A healthcare social media strategist manages, designs, and creates many different types of social media in a healthcare environment. The marketing goals for healthcare organizations differ from an automotive company or a clothing manufacturer. According to Forbes contributor Steve Olenski, social media marketing for health care involves increasing outreach, patient and community education, and recruiting qualified professionals for a health organization. The strategist not only creates and manages content, they will also manage teams of creators. The position must monitor user engagement and return on investment (ROI). Social media strategists and managers for health care organizations usually must have a bachelor’s degree. They need strong written and verbal communication skills and are usually required to be familiar with a number of social media platforms, analytic systems, content management systems, and types of content production and delivery.
Based on over 450 salaries reported by social media strategists on Glassdoor, the national average salary for the position is $49,665. Depending on experience and level of responsibility, pay can range from $15 to $20 an hour to over $100,000 a year.
Some beginning salaries for healthcare social media strategists can start at $15 an hour. Most full-time entry level positions on Glassdoor start at $40,000 to $45,000 a year.
A healthcare social media strategist works with managers and executives to design and implement a social media strategy for their organization and stakeholders. In healthcare, stakeholders include patients, staff members, and often, the entire community. The strategist must be able to lead a team of creators to build content to achieve their organization’s goals for communicating health care education, information, and goals. Social media strategists in healthcare organizations not only establish social media plans and benchmarks, they are responsible for tracking key performance indicators, and making any changes that are necessary to achieve organizational goals. Healthcare social media strategist and manager positions request candidates who are “good multitaskers,” because they must manage many priorities at the same time and satisfy all of them.
The healthcare social media strategist should have a background and experience in both social media and health care. They need hands-on experience using social media, and a strong understanding of search engine optimization (SEO) and web metrics. The strategist must understand web design and publishing. They also typically must be able to master a variety of content formats, including social media posts, articles, podcasts, and videos. Nearly all job descriptions require strong verbal and written communication skills. In order to prepare reports and work with analytics and content management dashboards, math and forecasting skills are essential. Strategists who manage teams of content creators must have strong interpersonal skills. Healthcare social media strategists must also be able to manage and implement complex plans in a variety of social media marketing channels.
Degree and Education Requirements
Most social media strategist positions require a bachelor’s degree in marketing, communications, or a closely related field. Healthcare social media strategist positions often require an education and specialization in community health issues or social work. Some employers may also request specific professional specialties such as nursing degrees or health educator certification. Some entry-level positions at smaller organizations may require only an associate’s degree in marketing. Few healthcare social media strategist or manager positions in health care organizations require more than a bachelor’s degree. However, some healthcare organizations may request may request specialized certifications in forms of social media management, such as SEO or SEM. A master’s degree in public health combined with social media experience can qualify applicants to manage large corporate social media marketing programs or teams of social media specialists.
Rewards and Challenges
The fields of social media and health care are rapidly changing and growing. Many healthcare social media strategists are people who enjoy rapid change, growth, and learning. Healthcare social media strategists are constantly challenged to learn new methods of reaching patients, professionals, or community members via ever-evolving social media channels. The While salaries in the field are not as high as some other health care careers, the position offers the opportunity to help others to stay healthy or to improve their health. Healthcare social media strategists also report that their working environment is supportive, and they are able to be part of dedicated healthcare teams. Challenges include an extremely fast-paced work environment, and almost constant change in the social media field, requiring ongoing education, training and skill development.
Health care organizations often require social media strategists to have experience in social media management and content creation and work and knowledge in a health care environment. Most positions require one to two years of experience, and you may find your best entry-level is to work as a contractor for a social media agency that serves health industry clients. If you are bilingual or have experience in serving a specific population a health care organization wants to serve, don’t neglect to mention this important qualification. Social media specialist Lanae Spruce, who works for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum for African-American History, advises that internships can be a pathway to a full-time career as a social media strategist in a technical or health care-related field.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare social media strategists are included in the overall work category of advertising, promotions, and marketing managers. Promotions, advertising and marketing managers are expected to grow 9% between now and 2024, faster than average. Healthcare organizations not only need social media strategists and managers, they also need content providers, such as writers and podcasters. Ever-increasing technology and online media channels improve the career outlook for savvy professionals who are passionate about health care and communicating health messages through social media.
Being a social media strategist for a healthcare organization means you will be able to combine an interest in social media and a creative bent with an interest in health and helping others. Health care organizations often need to reach many members of the public, whether to educate them about health issues, or to recruit the best-qualified healthcare professionals for their staff. In both health care and social media marketing, the career outlook and job growth are excellent.