Social media is the darling of all business these days, but when it comes to healthcare, there are a few immediate concerns. Because social media is inherently communal, privacy concerns play a huge role in determining how the healthcare sector can engage.
But that doesn’t mean social media is off limits to the healthcare industry. Quite the opposite in fact. Did you know that more than 4 out of 10 consumers admit they have learned things on social media that turned out to be important to how they manage their health?
By all accounts, that statistic is likely very low. So what does that mean to health industry brands on social media?
First, if users are looking for health information on social media, it stands to reason healthcare providers should enthusiastically provide that information. Because so much disinformation exists online, solid and verifiable information stands out.
But what sort of information should health providers make available? Well, a better question might be: who is using social media, and what do they want to know.
While the numbers are slowly changing, at present young adults are more than twice as likely than their parents to look for health advice on social media. One important consideration: young adults aren’t searching for gurus. They want to engage in conversations, get information in interactive ways.
Your content should be engaging, fast-paced and quickly-delivered. Long, boring or overly preachy content is a turn-off. Smart, dynamic content creating a conversation rather than delivering information works best.
Your content must compel sharing. Likes and clicks are not enough. Nine out of ten young adults put more trust in information shared with them by their peer group rather than content they stumble upon themselves. So, if you want greater engagement, you need to develop highly shareable content.
Switching gears for a moment, if you want to stand out as a medical practitioner, engage on social media. According to recent studies, fewer than one-third of all health care professionals currently use social media for professional networking. They are online, they use social media, but they don’t engage with their colleagues in this way. But why? It’s quick, easy, and collaborative. These are missed opportunities now that will be commonplace in ten or fifteen years. Begin building your professional network on social media now.
Why does this matter? Because even though many doctors don’t use social media, they’re patients certainly do – and they are talking about their doctors … a lot. Nearly half of all people who participated in the studies and polls said social media affects their choice of a specific doctor. In other words, if their friends don’t like you, they won’t like you … and if their friends love you, then they are more likely to pick you too. Having an established presence on social media when they search for you only makes this more likely.
Finally, however you choose to engage on social media, remember, healthcare professionals must have strict guidelines and professional policies in place to protect everyone involved in any interactions.