Dos and Don’ts of using Social Media for AEP 2021Posted on August 13th, 2020 by Cameron Schulz
In March, our blog Hashtag Healthcare discussed the importance of social media in healthcare marketing and how to use it right. With Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) around the corner, it's time to discuss the use of social media for AEP 2021. First, let’s revisit why socials are important to marketing in healthcare industries.
Social media was already an important channel for marketing in healthcare. As with all things in 2020, it’s impossible to ignore how COVID-19 has affected its significance. According to the Senior Media Preferences 2020 Media Habits Study COVID-19 has caused a 7% increase in social media use among seniors. Additionally, up from 15% in 2019, 19% of seniors surveyed responded that they were ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to use social media to learn about a health plan. Nearly a fifth of those eligible to take part in AEP 2021 use social media to learn about health insurance. With the great possibility for false information, you can’t afford to ignore this channel.
Dos and Don’ts of Social Media for AEP 2021
Navigating healthcare regulations to maintain compliance is a precarious business. With only limited guidance specific to social media, marketing compliance is even trickier. Below are a few dos and don’ts to help you get started posting on social media for AEP 2021.
Don’t use social media to begin contact with prospective or current clients. Under Section 30.6 in the Medicare Communications and Marketing Guidelines (MCMG) social media direct messaging is unsolicited contact and is prohibited.
Don’t post anything that is “Marketing” material according to the MCMG before October 1st. Additionally, any content about the next contract year are not allowed until that date as well.
Don’t reuse other user’s content or comments from social media that are promotional without applying the Product Endorsement/Testimonials guidelines provided in Section 30.8 of the MCMG.
Don’t post or share ambiguous or otherwise misleading information. This is counterintuitive to combating misinformation, and forbidden within Section 30.7 of the MCMG.
Do use social media for AEP 2021 to post general information that will prepare and empower your consumers and prospects. General information is content that doesn't have specific information or intent to influence.
Do submit all social media posts that contain marketing material to the Health Plan Management System (HPMS). Submit all social media posts using the appropriate code designated in section 70.3 of the MCMG.
Do indicate your service area in any marketing materials (posted on or after October 1st). According to General Marketing rules in the MGMC, you “may only advertise in your defined area of service unless unavoidable.” Although you may have private accounts, you should always display your service area in profiles and on your materials.
Do consult your company guidelines and the MCMG often when preparing to post on social media. This will ensure that you’ve covered all bases of compliance before publishing a post.
Bonus: Do watch your comments to ensure that none of them violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule. Any individual, identifiable health information in your comments is a violation. This could result in any number of criminal or monetary penalties. According to the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), non-compliant information includes, but is not limited to, “the provisions of health care to the individual, or the past, present, or future payment for the provisions of health care to the individual.”
Ultimately, there are a few goals to keep in mind when using social media for AEP 2021.
- educate and empower your audience. If whatever you’re posting doesn’t help you reach this goal, don’t post it.
- combat misinformation. Misinformation is very common and very well disguised. Be sure all information you share is accurate and encourage your followers to fact check content from social media.
- boost your audience’s confidence and trust in your brand. Demonstrating knowledge and transparency to your audience will increase their trust in you. Trust and confidence from your audience is vital to acquisition and retention.
- learn how you can better help your consumers from your consumers. No one can tell you how to improve your services better than those you are serving. Look to social media to learn from your audience. What is satisfying and dissatisfying them? Listening and learning will improve your business.
Keep these goals and the dos and don’ts above in mind when planning social media for AEP 2021. If you do, you’ll be on the right track for a successful marketing campaign and a successful selling season.
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