February 24, 2011 Jeremy

HealthCare and Social Media

Social media websites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are no longer a new toy for geeks and teens. In last couple of years, they have taken the corporate world by storm and have created a paradigm shift in how businesses approach and interact with all their stakeholders including customers, employees, industry experts and critics. Social media is now acknowledged as one of the most powerful marketing medium today. So what does all this mean for healthcare industry and do they really have to get on to this bandwagon?

Numbers speak for themselves

According to the data collected from the research on how Americans seek information, it was revealed that more than 33% of the consumers are taking the help of social media to find information related to healthcare. Not only that, this percentage is increasing steadily every month. This emphasizes the fact that social media scene is too big to ignore for any serious healthcare business.

However, only the realization that your potential and existing customer base is visiting social networking websites is not enough, it is also crucial that you know how to use social media to your advantage. Here is a list of ways in which healthcare service providers can benefit from social media:

1. Offer correct health information: Healthcare is a serious issue and consumers need facts to make informed decisions. However, there is so much misinformation floating around on the internet that it is making it virtually impossible to be sure of the authenticity.

Social media offers a great opportunity for healthcare providers to offer accurate information on different health issues. This is not only good for the patients; it is also a great brand building exercise for your organization.

2. Share your success stories: Social media is a great way to update all your stakeholders about your achievements, new expansions and changes in your business. It is also an excellent tool for reaching out to the main media as majority of them rely on social media for conducting industry research. Therefore, when you share news and announcements about your business through social media, it enhances your media coverage in a cost-effective way.

3. Be there for them in times of a disaster: Social media websites such as Twitter are the fastest form of interaction between groups of people who are interested in any one particular incident. It has the power to bring everyone up to page with what is happening. This has enormous potential in healthcare field where there are sometime emergencies involving many people. Healthcare service providers can use Twitter and other social media to help people when a disaster strikes.

4. Train and Hire healthcare professionals: Social media websites are not only an effective media to promote your business to your patients; they are also an excellent way of training doctors and other healthcare professionals.

Healthcare providers today are using social media websites like YouTube to train their teams on various medical procedures. Hospitals are tweeting updates on surgeries that are considered breakthrough in medical field. In addition to training, social media offers an efficient platform to share vacancies and invite job applications for your healthcare business.

These are only some of the ways in which healthcare providers can use social media to their business advantage. Social media offers a great opportunity for healthcare providers to network and communicate with their business environment. Therefore, it is in the business interests of every healthcare organization to use this medium effectively.

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