The Benefits of Social Media to Healthcare Marketing
• The growth of social media as a networking, marketing and businesstool has been near exponential• Consideration must be given to the challenges facing organisationswithin different industries.• A company selling a standard consumer product can more easily seethe opportunities and benefits in adopting a social media campaign.Will a financial services agency receive the same level of impact?• Social media development can be simple, and sometimes critical, toa business model. Showcasing the benefits and potential success ofa social media campaign can be difficult, none more so than for thehealthcare industry.• With complicated legal requirements, regulations and privacyconcerns, coupled with a continuous stretch on resources, sparingthe time and people to set up and manage various social mediaaccounts can be very difficult.• This article sets out to explore how the Healthcare PR and marketingindustry can adopt, manage and justify a social media campaign.
• Social media in the healthcare industry is not a newdiscovery – it has already begun.• Whilst the industry may have been slow in the technologyuptake, thousands of hospitals, associations and medicalorganisations are utilising Facebook, Twitter and othersocial media sites to their advantage.• Whether it is to start up an online community to shareresearch ideas, best practices or events to simplyimproving engagement with patients and customers,there are many means by which a healthcareorganisation could fully utilise social media for the benefitof their organisation and customers.
• The depth of reach and the ease of interaction betweenparties across social media are still growing larger by theday.• Over a billion people use social networksworldwide, accounting for more than 80% of the globalonline population.• Healthcare organisations can take advantage of thisgrowing market of social media users by utilising thetechnology to better reach out to and interact with theirpatients.• The healthcare industry is dynamic and evolving quicklyby the day. Therefore relevant and timely information is ata premium.
• Not only are patients making best use of social media,more and more Doctors are signing up too, with onlinemedical communities growing faster than ever.• Sermo, the largest online community exclusive forpractising medical professionals has over 125,000members.• Seen as a means to share invaluable information andadvance knowledge in the medical field, social media canprovide the perfect tool for such intentions within thehealthcare industry.
• Much of social media is about sharing information, anddiscussing news.• Keeping abreast of the on-going situation and ensuring thatyour thoughts and opinions can be heard is important forhealthcare organisations.• Healthcare, particularly in the US, is becoming an increasinglynewsworthy topic with continuous debates and discussionsregarding the issue.• Hospitals, healthcare professionals and organisations areheavily sought after to provide weight and balance to anynews discussion.• Social media is a hugely useful tool for organisations withinthe healthcare industry to share their involvement in thediscussion, whether it is on patient care, legislation or otherissues.
• In a time when government budgets are under pressure andthere is greater scrutiny on every penny spent in thehealthcare industry, social media may be seen as anunnecessary expense of time and money.• However social media costs can be very low, if not completelyfree with its marketing and communication abilities more thanmaking up for the minimal amount of time invested in settingup and managing the accounts.• Social media can be used as a public relations communicationtool, to build and develop a customer following or simply toallow fans to share stories and experiences around theorganisation in question.• All this can be achieved for no cost. You can even use socialmedia to drive customers in to signing up for an event,downloading additional information or purchasing a product.