The Internet and smartphones have done a fantastic job of bringing the world closer and seem smaller. It has taken over our lives, from reconnecting with old friends to reaching out, learning new things, spreading awareness, and interacting with customers. A significant credit here goes to social media. It has revolutionized pretty much everything, including the healthcare industry. This is why more than 90% of adults today check social media platforms for health-related information. This directly points to a massive opportunity for healthcare providers. Since doctors are not marketing professionals, we highlight a few social media best practices for healthcare practices.
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Top 5 reasons social media empowers healthcare providers
1. Social Media Connects Patients and Healthcare Providers
Social media is all about socializing. It is about interacting and building connections. When patients and healthcare providers connect on a social media platform, their relationship goes much beyond the clinic into the real world. Healthcare providers can video chat with their patients, send them useful information, and get updates about their health through texts instantly. This promotes proactivity, which is a critical element in the medical sector.
2. Social Media Builds Trust
Trust is the foundation of the medical profession. Social media plays a crucial role in building this foundation. Millennials seem to turn to social media for information and tips, especially when it comes to health. If healthcare professionals take the lead and start sharing useful and informative data with their networks, the trust factor will automatically increase.
Also, a majority of people today search for an online presence before booking an appointment. So, only by being active on social media, healthcare providers can beat the competition and attract more patients. Increasing referrals and patients means growing revenue.
3. Social Media Provides Instant Feedback
Social media has become the go-to for reviews, grievances, and opinions. Just spend some time on Twitter.
Healthcare providers can use this to their advantage to go through the feedback and respond immediately. Most users want to hear from their doctors within hours, especially when making an appointment. So, any healthcare professional who does this demonstrates reliability and responsibility. Who doesn’t love a reliable doctor?
4. It is a medium for real-time information
The need for real-time data is growing by the day, especially with so much fake news doing the rounds. Healthcare professionals can post updates, the latest news, and data-backed with evidence to help their patients.
They can also post content about specific daunting surgical procedures to make them more acceptable. Most of the time, fear arises due to the unknown. Patients don’t know what to expect, and that can create panic. Doctors who breakdown procedures online help their patients by showcasing that it is not so bad after all! This, in fact, also empowers patients because their reluctance fades away.
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5. It helps healthcare providers network and connect
The benefits of social media are many and not restricted to patient-doctor interaction. Healthcare providers can use multiple platforms such as LinkedIn to expand their knowledge, connect with other experts, and enhance their reach. Facebook and Twitter are good options as well. They all allow doctors to reach out to everyone in their field regardless of their geographic location. Job and growth opportunities are, thus, always at the fingertips!
BONUS – How healthcare providers can use social media
Now that you understand how important social media is and how it empowers healthcare providers daily, we thought a few tips on using it would come in handy.
- It’s essential for healthcare practices and providers to stay active on major social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Healthcare providers can post similar content or platform-specific content on each. It all depends on individual goals and how one wants to leverage their online presence.
- Crisis communication is a must. Gone are the days when people turned to newspapers for information. Today, social media is the primary source, and the most significant advantage is that it is active throughout the day. So, the moment there are alarm bells, healthcare providers can post useful updates. This empowers patients because it curbs the spread of fake news and fear-mongering. When information comes from a licensed professional, patients will breathe easily. They will also be willing to listen, connect with healthcare providers, take the necessary steps, and stay on the safe side.
- Post updates about seasonal diseases/allergies so that people are aware of the present situation. They will be wary and take the required steps to prevent them. Use hashtags such as #CommonCold or #Flu to get a wider reach.
- Listen to frequent complaints and conversations, follow them, and deliver your insights. Quora and Reddit especially have lengthy health-related discussions. Contributing to them will help the masses.
- Start using social media for marketing. All the methods mentioned above will help with reach, networking, and spreading awareness. This will indirectly help in the marketing of healthcare businesses as well. However, spending a few extra bucks and strategically marketing will be the cherry on the cake.
There is absolutely no doubt that social media is revolutionizing healthcare, especially with tech giants entering the industry and providing real-time solutions. If healthcare providers also jump onto the bandwagon, it will be a huge win for patients, professionals, and technology at the same time.