Reaching Millennials With Social Media: A Healthcare Case Study

Missed our webinar? Check it out now and learn how to engage millennials with a modern, comprehensive digital media plan.

Millennials are coming of age and, accordingly, they are taking on the lion’s share of buying power in the United States. This matters to healthcare marketers because millennials are consuming healthcare services differently, which will affect your long-term healthcare marketing success. While it’s hard to pin down exactly what the diverse group of millennials is looking for from marketing, it’s well known that they don’t like to be marketed to, they want to be communicated with authentically, and they spend a lot of time on social media.

How do you deal with this in healthcare marketing? It’s simple; market to millennials on social media.

On March 29th, 2017, OhioHealth and Fathom healthcare marketing experts got together to discuss the millennial healthcare habits that matter most to you and what to do about them in our webinar ‘Millennials & Healthcare: Using Generation Marketing to Build Social Media Strategy’.

OhioHealth is a not-for-profit, faith-based health system that has served central Ohio since 1891. The system consists of 12 hospitals, 20 health and surgery centers, home-health providers, medical equipment and health service suppliers throughout a 40-county area.

With roots that go back over 125 years, OhioHealth has still managed to keep its marketing modern and engage each upcoming generation.  Keep reading for OhioHealth’s strategy, execution, and success in targeting millennials with social media.

How OhioHealth Used Social Media to Successfully Target Millennials

A few years ago, OhioHealth realized they were not marketing enough to millennials. To solve this dilemma, they launched a whole new digital strategy. Firstly, they created a content portal that connected the following elements: their mobile app, website, discussion boards, social media, and email newsletter. Through this effort, they built the brand community that millennials much prefer to traditional marketing.

Additionally, OhioHealth focused efforts on nontraditional healthcare channels, such as Instagram and online video, and educated their leadership about the importance of online reputations for health systems along the way. Through social media promotion of staff travels and OhioHealth sponsored events, such as the 2016 Capital City Half Marathon, OhioHealth was able to reach countless millennials.

Along with an overall change to their digital strategy, OhioHealth conducted targeted social campaigns to raise awareness of their services. Below is a specific example of what OhioHealth did to meet the goal of generating awareness of their Sexual Violence Helpline.

OhioHealth Case Study – Generating Awareness of Sexual Violence Hotline Through Social Media

First, the OhioHealth team established audience demographics, including location, gender, and age.  The 18 to 29-year-old average age put this group squarely in the millennial bracket and, with this information, the team did audience research around relevant channel usage. They discovered that their targeted age group used the following channels:

  • 61% use FB everyday
  • 37% Tweet every day
  • 4% use Instagram
  • 73% have used Pandora
  • 24% listen to Spotify daily
  • Half go on YouTube daily

Additionally, 73% own smartphones and 92% go online daily.

With these statistics in mind, OhioHealth created a millennial-focused digital media plan with a combination of streaming radio ads, video and display ads, and paid social ads, including:

  • YouTube video ads
  • Pandora ads
  • Facebook Video ads
  • Facebook Image ads
  • Display ads with demographic targeting
  • Paid search (AdWords)
  • MNI Geofencing

These efforts ultimately resulted in a 26% lift in Brand Awareness, a 64.8% life in Ad Recall as well as 31,000 sessions and 425 conversions overall. In fact, a number of these conversions came from unexpected sources: 76% came from Pandora and Facebook, while 20% came from MNI Geofencing.

Top Takeaways

Mobile-friendly, visual content is essential with this audience, as is creating great content that doesn’t feel like advertising. Beyond this, though, it’s essential for healthcare organizations to meet millennials where they’re at for peak engagement.

Ultimately, changing the way your healthcare organization markets itself will help your message resonate better across all generations, not just millennials. The key is to reach outside of your comfort zone.


Watch ‘Millennials & Healthcare: Use Generational Marketing to Build Social Media Strategy’ to discover how to create a digital media plan that will engage and retain millennials.

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