In most industries, social media strategies are a given. Whether companies like it or not, they must have a social media presence to attract new customers, interact with their existing ones and build awareness around their brand.
But only recently has the healthcare industry started to take note of the amazing benefits social media provides to the world. In this article we are going to quickly review 5 key benefits social media presents to health organizations.
1) Social Listening in social media healthcare marketing
In 2018, social media in healthcare has become a popular channel for patients to give feedback to healthcare companies they interact with. Social media gives healthcare organizations insights into customers’ mindsets and affinity to a brand and makes health organizations aware of what their customers are looking for and how their perceive their brands.
In social media marketing, a term has been coined for companies who have defined a clear strategy for their online presence. It’s called “Social Listening”, a process defined as keeping an ear out and gathering information about customer opinions around a specific organization. Social Listening not only helps companies learn about customers’ satisfaction levels with a brand but also tells organizations a great deal about customers’ preferences or which diseases are affecting them at a specific moment in time.
Healthcare organizations who are just starting to experiment with social listening have analytics who monitor social media channels and report up the chain of command any trends they may notice of social media. More mature health organizations have even hired social media experts and managers whose primary role is to monitor companies’ social media channels and meaningfully engage in productive conversations with their followers online.
2) Social media influencers in healthcare marketing
Another phenomenon brought forward by the rise in popularity of social media platforms is the concept of a social media influencer. An influencer is a person who has a large following on social media. These people have become popular due to their expertise, helpful tips and tricks, and thought leadership exhibited online. Some of the most famous healthcare influencers out there today include health advocates, public figures, physicians and medical experts.
Every day, for any kind of medical condition, there is an online community being formed, where people can help each other virtually. For example, the recent movie from Netflix, Bleeding Edge, explores how a woman who was profoundly affected by a medical implant gone wrong, the Essure sterilization device, had build a Facebook group and brought together more than 18,000 other women who also suffered from the same condition after trying out Essure. The Facebook group called Essure problems was prominently featured in the Netflix movie.
In this particular case, we see how social media influencers had effectively led to a medical device being withdrawn from the US market. Indeed, one week after the Bleeding Edge movie was released to market, Bayer announced that they will stop selling the medical device in the US citing a “decline in sales”.
Healthcare marketers should seriously consider engaging with influencers on social media. There are many influencer marketing guides out there today and they all stipulate to one simple fact: if a healthcare organization wants to reach new customers or better engage with their existing customers, the influencer route is one of the most effective methods to achieve that goal.
Influencers have very close-knit communities who follow them and their overall recommendations. Influencers appeal to their followers because they are genuine leaders who say what they believe in without any fear of repercussion. According at least one social media whitepaper, influencer marketing is one of the most effective ways for healthcare organizations to reach a specific target audience in 2018.
3) Building authority by educating customers with multimedia content
Social media is one of the biggest tools for communicating with the masses. It can act as a source of information for patients suffering from different kinds of diseases.
But social media is not only about posting quick tweets or instagram pictures. In healthcare in particular, social media has become a tried-and-true method for meaningfully engaging with patients and their families. For example, many doctors and hospitals all over the world are now using multimedia content to attract new patients and to help current patients get healthier over time. Some hospitals have also resorted to social media to humanize their brand and to showcase their state-of-the-art facilities.
Across the board, multimedia content (especially short videos) have helped thousands of health organizations get more awareness around their brand, get new customers and better engagement rates with their local communities.
4) Using social media as a teaching tool for healthcare organizations
Social media can help healthcare organizations present themselves in a more attractive and appealing way to potential customers. For a healthcare organization, that obviously means having appropriate and relevant information for people to access online. A brands’ social media outlook can make a huge difference because it can attract new customers and also help make existing ones more loyal towards a healthcare brand. Because of these many benefits, more and more health organizations are finding themselves using social media to post informative “how to” articles and videos that help prevent diseases, manage current chronic conditions and also alert patients of potential conditions they may be suffering from.
In today’s day and age, most young people first go to Google before physically going to a medical professional. That makes creating original content one of the most attractive social media strategies every health organization should pay close attention to, and adopt, in 2019.
5) Use social media to engage in meaningful conversations about policy and the practice of healthcare
One of the est things about social media healthcare platforms is that they help patients meet professional medical experts who can guide them and help them in their hour of need.
Through various social media apps, doctors can communicate with their patients and even conduct research live. Social media forums give a voice to patients so they can have productive communication with experts. For example, many doctors have started using social media features like “Facebook live” to reach new audiences and engage with their potential customers. Other healthcare professionals have become social media celebrities in their own right with hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.
Social media remains a largely untapped market for many healthcare professionals. But we’re definitely seeing the needle move in the right direction. At its core, social media is simply another digital channel for health organizations to engage in meaningful conversations with the current and future customers.
That said, the power of social media in healthcare should not be underestimated. Social media can help organizations build more awareness, engage with customers live, gather honest feedback and more. So if you’re a marketer in healthcare, do listen to our advice and unleash your social media power today!