By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
Curiously, the vast majority of all US hospitals do not participate in social media. We can’t help but wonder (and worry) if this at all reflects how some healthcare marketing pros are planning for the New Year. Having anything less than a first class Internet and social media strategy would be a large and painful shortfall.
It’s not just hospitals. Every stop on the medical provider spectrum—from health system to provider—should be gearing up for a greater emphasis on digital media. If you’re not doing so, you’ll likely be out-distanced by your competition in the months ahead.
And—just in case your need some persuasive ammunition—here are some key data points to help shape your plan for reaching your target audiences, increasing awareness, extending your branding messages, and protecting and extending your professional reputation.
Why you need nothing less than a first-class Internet and Social Media Marketing Strategy:
80: percent of Internet users (59 percent of US adults) seek online health information [Pew]
48: percent search for information on behalf of someone else [Pew]
36: percent search for information for themselves [Pew]
55: percent of Internet users search for medical treatment or procedure information [Pew]
47: percent of Internet users look online for information about doctors or other health professionals [Pew]
38: percent of Internet users look online for information about hospitals or other medical facilities [Pew]
77: percent of patients used search prior to booking an appointment [Google]
Ages 30-49: group most likely to search online for health topics [Pew]
Ages 50-64: second most likely group to search for health information online [Pew]
41: percent of people said social media would affect healthcare provider selection [Pew]
Why you need original (and authoritative) online content:
77: percent of Internet users read blogs [HubSpot]
60: percent of people who feel more positive about a company or health system after reading custom content [ContentPlus]
70: percent of customers who prefer getting to know company from articles rather than ads [ContentPlus]
Why you need a marketing-smart mobile strategy:
34: average number of times per day people check their Smartphone [Personal and Ubiquitous Computing]
64: percent of decision-makers access email via mobile devices [TopRankBlog]
40: average number of daily text messages among Smartphone users [Pew]
30: percent of patients using tablets or mobile devices for research and/or appointments [Google]
Why you need digital video in your marketing mix:
1 billion: YouTube unique user visits per month [YouTube]
Ages 18-34: US adults reaches more adults in this group than any cable network [YouTube]
87: percent of US Internet audience—188 million US Internet users—watched 37.7 billion online videos in August 2012 [comScore]
You may be familiar with some of these numbers, so feel free to send them along to others in your organization or administration (where some doubt may linger.)
More importantly, take another look at your upcoming marketing plan. How are you meeting the demand for online search? Have you bolstered your creative content and digital/video tools? Are you prepared for an even bigger trend to mobile devices? Don’t let the competition have a running start.
RELATED: And for additional reading (and more persuasive numbers) on this vital topic, see: Your Hospital Digital Doorway is Bigger Than You Think and 13 Reasons to Write Your 2014 Marketing Plan in Pencil.