Much like applied medical science, the art of social media mastery begins with asking the right questions.
Right up front, the question isn’t “IF you should be using social media” in your health care marketing mix. The better question is: “WHICH of the dozens of social media platforms are the best tools for my plan?”
The straightforward reason is that individuals look online for health information, and their personal health decisions are guided by what they discover. More importantly, Internet and social media (SM) weigh significantly in the patient’s choice of doctor, hospital and related healthcare decisions.
Reports from PwC and other sources confirm that at least one in three consumers “use social media for seeking or sharing medical information, [which] influence their choice of a specific hospital, medical facility or doctor.” Other research indicates the number is greater than 50 percent.
The numbers alone are a staggering phenomenon—considering that social media, as we know it today, was still wearing digital diapers a little more than a decade ago.
The Top Five Social Media Opportunities for Providers…
A strong social media voice will include several channels and connecting points for attracting, engaging and retaining relationships and new business prospects. At the top of the opportunity list:
Facebook: Dominant social sharing site for user comments, pictures and videos
Your YouTube Channel: Most popular platform for sharing video content
Twitter: Microblogging social site; limited to 140 characters
LinkedIn: Business networking for professionals and brands
Your Blog: Exclusive content-driven voice to engage and educate
You need to look no further than your own pocket to appreciate that the Internet, social media and mobile devices are a deeply integral part of everyday living. It’s self-evident that nearly everyone—you, your patients, and your prospective patients—are online with one or more of the major social media forums.
Stewart Gandolf, MBA