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.
- Among the 7.2 billion people on the planet, nearly half (45 percent/3 billion) are active Internet users
- About 2.1 billion of these have a social media account; roughly 70 percent
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
- About 900 million unique monthly visitors
- Over 70 percent of online adults use Facebook
Your YouTube Channel: Most popular platform for sharing video content
- Your branded page showcases engaging visual messages
- Over 100 million views daily
Twitter: Microblogging social site; limited to 140 characters
- Twitter boasts 310 million unique monthly visitors
- The Twitter torrent is about 500 million tweets per day
LinkedIn: Business networking for professionals and brands
- More than 340 million members worldwide
- About 255 million unique monthly visitors
Your Blog: Exclusive content-driven voice to engage and educate
- Your personal forum for authoritative patient connectivity
- Provides practice with a human touch and reputation
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