Benefits of Utilizing Social Media in the Health Care Industry

With almost every single person living on this earth accessing various social networking sites, important industries in the world including the healthcare industry incorporate social media in their marketing, networking and even communication strategies.

The healthcare industry is one of the top industries attracting large number of audience in social media. A record of 34% of consumers tap social media to search for health information according to a research data from How America Searches: Health & Wellness by iCrossing and Opinion Research Corporation.

healthcare social media

Hospitals and health providers which began utilizing the power of social media to grow their business reported an increase in sales and even an increase in the number of loyal customers. The results prove how powerful and beneficial social media is for the healthcare industry that’s why a lot of medical institutions are starting to rethink their marketing mix and include social media.

For the hospitals and health providers which aren’t convinced yet with what social media could bring on your business, check out the list of benefits of below when you opted to utilize social media.

 

Quick Dissemination of Medical and Health Information

The internet is full of bad medical information which is being consumed by a lot of healthcare patients around the globe. These patients are putting their health in line as they trust the information they read online not knowing that those aren’t true. Now, the incredible opportunity for healthcare organizations is present for them to use social media to disseminate the accurate and actionable medical information the people needs.

A great example of social sites using the power of social media to disseminate medical and health information to patients and people concerned is Inspire. Inspire provide a forum wherein patients can share their health problems, questions about treatments with other patients, as well as qualified medical personnel.

The good thing about Inspire is that they partner with trusted health nonprofit organizations to ensure that the information they share with the people concerned are accurate and community safe.

 

 

Cost-effective way to promote messages

Microsoft’s Dr. Bill Crounse has said during the Meet Bloggers forum that social media is the most cost-effective way to promote a message. Smart marketers already know of this fact that’s why there were the first ones to utilize social media.

microsoft and social media

However, social media can go beyond health organization’s marketing department as they can provide incredible cost effective way of monitoring and dispensing healthcare services.

 

Social Media’s Collaborative Nature

There are many instances when industries outside of healthcare are being used as guinea pigs for technological advances which will be later used in the healthcare industry. Social media has, in countless instances, between companies and their consumers leveled its playing ground.

What companies are doing nowadays are vigilantly perusing social media networks, tracking customer sentiment around their brand in hopes that they can react. Other things they do is to leverage the power of social media offensively so as to build brand awareness, innovate and prove thought leadership.

If there is one health marketing success story which leveraged social media to build brand awareness that deserved to be told here, its the marketing campaign done by Mayo Clinic. The Mayo Clinic in 2005 began utilizing three major social media channels namely Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to promote and increase downloads of their podcasts.

It put up a Facebook fan page, a Twitter account and a Youtube channel. The campaign resulted to a huge increase of number of downloaded podcasts of more than 8,000.

 

Mainstream Media Reach

According to a Middleberg Communications survey reported by PRWeek, it says that 70% of journalists now make use of social networks to assist them in reporting, 30% less of the figures given the year before. This high numbers had convinced healthcare marketers around the globe to leverage social media channels in order for them to achieve coverage not only by mainstream media but the industry publications as well.

aurora health twitter

The marketing efforts, healthcare institutions and organizations can use can include social media channels such as blogs, microblogs and forums – avenues where health marketers can share success stories, let’s say from ordinary operations or treatments, also medical research or other significant achievements.

A great example of a successful social media campaign was done by Aurora Health wherein, they tweeted a knee operation back in April and it received significant media attention from both mainstream media and industry publications with the likes of Good Morning America, Hospital Management Magazine and a local public radio network at Milwaukee.

twitter example

 

Communicate in Times of Crisis

We can never know when a disaster may come but in times like this, healthcare providers can leverage social media networks such as twitter, Facebook, Google+ and the likes to provide real-time updates  for  those directly affected by the crisis and those who are watching from afar and would like to help.

 

You may remember the November Fort Hood shooting attack five years ago which fatally short 13 people and left 30 others injured. Steven Wildman of Scott & White Healthcare, one of the hospitals that treated and took care of Fort Hood victims utilized the microblogging site, Twitter, to provide up-to-minute news to the public. With Twitter’s availability, Wildman was able to provide updates on emergency room access and hospital operation status as well as re-tweeted news from Red Cross and communicated with reporters.

twitter

Train Medical Personnel

More and more hospitals and health providers are beginning to recognize the potential impact of utilizing and leveraging social media channels from Facebook, twitter even to YouTube to complement training efforts.

The social media manager of Mayo Clinic, Lee Aase, for example, incorporated social media into a training presentation he prepared for local chapters of the American Heart Association. During his presentation, Lee Aase utilized twitter to encourage participants to contribute and join in the discussion with the use of #AHAchat hashtag.

 

Tweet Live Procedures

With the use of social media channels, healthcare have opened up an area only available to selected few which is the operating room. Tweet a live procedure which was done by Henry Ford Hospital created a buzz last February. Doctors, medical students and curious non-medical personnel along with surgeons made use of twitter to give short updates on the kidney surgery to remove a cancerous tumor.

Henry ford

This healthcare marketing tactic effectively created excitement and raised public awareness. The buzz also helped healthcare organizations to both attract new patients and recruit medical personnel.

Images courtesy of: The Rasim, The Doctors Channel, Museion, Copeland Casati, Ebennett.org, Business2community.com 

 

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Shiela Flakes is a Principal Research Associate at Plagtracker Though her dream is really to become a literature teacher.  Reach her through Google+ and start a conversation.

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Jonathan has a proven record of entrepreneurial success in the healthcare field. As the founder and CEO of ReferralMD, he is responsible for designing the framework of ReferralMD, while managing enterprise sales, marketing and channel development.

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