By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
Google—the giant in online search—is too big to ignore. Anything Google does is going to make a giant splash in both search and social media for healthcare and medical practice marketing. The introduction of Google Plus is one of those major events that Internet savvy practitioners, social media sensitive hospitals, and medical marketing executives can’t ignore.
The trouble is only the personal or individual side of Google Plus has launched. It’s a social network tool that requires a Gmail account to access, and the functions are clearly person-to-person oriented.
But a medical group, hospital or device company needs to see a version that a business entity can use, much like Facebook for Business. As we write this post, “Google Plus for Business” has yet to be revealed.
You can bet your wireless mouse that there will be a “Google Plus for Business,” but Google isn’t saying exactly when it may be revealed or what it will look like when it appears. Medical marketing professionals have the option of (a) waiting and watching for the business package from Google Plus, (b) using Google Plus as an individual, or (c) turning to Facebook for Business.
The wait-and-watch option. There isn’t much that healthcare entities can do about Google’s timetable. Industry observers speculate that Google Plus will release a business package in a matter of weeks, or maybe months. No doubt it will be another source of advertising revenue for Google, so it’s more likely to appear sooner rather than later. Our take is: Healthcare business entities are all forced to wait, but keep watching closely. Google does things big.
The Google Plus as-an-individual-user option. This one’s tricky. While marketing and communications executives will want to become familiar with Google Plus as an individual user, it may be challenging to represent a business entity—a hospital, for example—via the solo voice of an individual. What’s more, the social media policy of a healthcare institution or provider entity probably doesn’t cover this transitional dilemma. Our take is: Learn and use Google Plus on a personal (individual) basis. Business doesn’t fit here at the moment, and Google Plus is discouraging business-branded uses, so don’t force it.
The Facebook-for-Business option. You may already be doing this. The recently “introduced” Facebook for Business is actually not really new. The Facebook folks have packaged their existing business options in a new instructional wrapper. Facebook wants to educate businesses about maximizing their social media presence, reaching users online and (not incidentally) using Facebook advertising. Our take is: Healthcare business and provider entities should understand the workings of Facebook…but as one of several social media and online advertising options.
Understanding and using social media in healthcare and medical practice marketing and advertising can be a “moving target.” Check in with us here for a reality check on making social media marketing profitable.