The Time for Social Media in Healthcare Is Now

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Healthcare Brands Need To Focus On Building Their Online Presence.

As digital communications become more and more integrated into our healthcare marketing, brands are more clearly beginning to recognize social media’s potential to improve the patient experience and the bottom line. Consequently, the time for active engagement is now.

The Time for Social Media in Healthcare Is Now

  1. Social media — it’s a proven way to impact consumer behaviours

Social media impacts consumer behaviour in the same way that any great conversation with a trusted advisor does.

In fact, 92% of consumers say they trust earned media, such as social media, word of mouth and recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising. (source: Webbed Feet)The Time for Social Media in Healthcare Is Now

More than 40% of consumers say that information found via social media affects the way they deal with their health. (source: MediabistroThe Time for Social Media in Healthcare Is Now

Why this matters: Healthcare professionals have an obligation to create educational content to be shared across social media. This information will help accurately inform consumers about health-related issues and outshine misleading information. The opinions of others on social media are often trusted but aren’t always accurate sources of insights, especially when it comes to subjects as sensitive as health.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of healthcare brands using social media still largely speak about themselves in the first person by describing all of their accomplishments in a way that looks very much like a press release. The healthcare organizations that get social media right understand their role as “healthcare provider” within the social media context as well.The Time for Social Media in Healthcare Is

18 to 24 year olds are more than 2x as likely than 45 to 54 year olds to use social media for health-related discussions. (source: Mediabistro)The Time for Social Media in Healthcare Is Now

Why this matters: 18 to 24 year olds are early adopters of social media and all other new forms of communication. This makes it important for healthcare professionals to join in on these conversations where and when they are happening. Move too slow and you risk losing the attention of this generation.The Time for Social Media in Healthcare Is Now

49% of those polled expect to hear from their doctors when requesting an appointment or follow-up discussion via social media within a few hours. (source: HealthCare Finance News)The Time for Social Media in Healthcare Is Now

Why this matters: This is a surprising statistic because of how many people are comfortable with connecting with their doctors on social media, as well as how quickly they expect their doctors to personally respond to their outreach. This is a telling sign that the way in which we typically book appointments and handle follow-up conversations after an appointment will continue to be disrupted by the use of social media in the process.

The Time for Social Media in Healthcare Is Now

  1. It can reduce your overall marketing costs.

First and foremost, tweeting a message or posting something to Facebook is dramatically more cost effective than running a paid ad or mailing thousands of marketing pieces.

The Time for Social Media in Healthcare Is Now

  1. Choosing not to participate might be more than missing an opportunity — it could mean creating a negative connotation.

Social media is about a meaningful dialogue and an exchange of information. When a patient uses social media and the hospital remains silent in response, it does not create a positive experience. It only screams, “We don’t know who you are and we don’t care.”

They say “Keep your followers close and your competitors closer.” You should know who your competitors are, where they are positioned online, and how they are engaging with their online communities. For the brands that are in direct competition with yours, are they offering similar services? The next question to ask is: Are they present on social media?

If the answer is yes, then it’s time to conduct some research, especially if your brand has yet to invest in social media. A great starting point is to observe what the competition is doing: How are they successful? In what areas do they lack? If they are engaging their audience successfully, take note. If not, realize an opportunity to fill a void. By conducting a thorough analysis, you can prepare yourself for what strategies your brand will adopt online.

The Time for Social Media in Healthcare Is Now

  1. Social media benefits SEO, which in turn helps drives web visibility

Google now has existing agreements with Facebook and Twitter: Search for a news item and you’ll probably see a tweet or two appear in your mobile search results. In 2016, platforms will become heavily indexed in the vaults available to Google and other search engines. Social media posts will carry a value and a consideration similar to any independent web page, the separation of “web” and “social media” blurring even further from an SEO perspective.

In-depth research has shown successful social activity can have significant secondary effects on a brand’s SEO efforts. Specifically, activity on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter can help search engines discover/index your site and aid in content distribution.

For example, when you tweet a link to your latest blog post, you have shared with all of your Twitter followers as well as anybody interested in any #hashtags you might have used in the tweet. This increases the visibility of your tweet, your blog post and also, your web page.

The Time for Social Media in Healthcare Is Now

In conclusion:

As social platforms are growing in popularity, people are discussing their health and wellness online. Articles about fitness and nutrition, chronic illnesses and mental health constitute some of the most shared content on the web. Developing your own content for social media can convert your brand into an industry thought leader.

Healthcare brands must convey a strong presence online — increasing your knowledge of social media and its benefits can allow you to create an effective online strategy.

The Time for Social Media in Healthcare Is Now

About Us

Whitehead Agency Group is a leading healthcare marketing agency with over 25 years of specialized health and wellness experience. Start profiting from the new age of consumer-driven healthcare with marketing that clicks. Contact us today at (416) 365-6884 or by emailing us at hello@waginc.ca to arrange a complimentary, no-obligation review of your current social media and overall marketing strategy.