Social Media: 'The whole point is to get people to come in'

Friday, January 24, 2014

AUSTIN, Texas – Provider Brent Bradshaw has jumped into social media with both feet.

“We’re going for brand awareness,” said Bradshaw, president of Durable Medical Equipment Inc. “The whole point is to get people to come in.”

Bradshaw in November launched a three-pronged social media effort on Facebook, Google+ and Foursquare to promote his brick-and-mortar location. Facebook and Google+ are not new to the HME scene—those communities offer one-on-one interaction with end-users and a chance for information sharing. Foursquare is less well-known. It’s a location-based social networking website for mobile devices that allows users to “check in” at businesses to earn points. 

Bradshaw doesn’t intend to promote checking in on Foursquare, since he doesn’t want to create any HIPAA issues. Instead, he plans to use the site’s promotion feature to let followers know about deals.

“We’re going to integrate it into our marketing program,” he said. “If we’re having a special, our Foursquare followers will know first.”

Including social media as part of an overall marketing strategy is important, says consultant Anna McDevitt. 

“You want to be where the customers are,” said McDevitt, president of Laboratory Marketing. “Interaction is key. It’s very rare to get such direct feedback from customers.”

Bradshaw agrees.

“Advertising is so one-sided,” he said. “Social media provides feedback and another channel for us to provide information.”

Bradshaw plans to post interesting photos or stories three or four times a week, rather than constantly trying to sell followers products.

The provider plans to stick to three social media outlets for now and has no plans to sell HME online.

“I don’t want to go head to head with online retailers—if I try to play the price game, I’ll never win,” he said. “Our website is 100% for reference purposes.”