On Feb. 4, 2004, Mark Zuckerberg and his college roommates invented an online social networking service designed for people to post photos, add friends and just hang out online. Fast forward to nearly 11 years later and Zuckerberg’s little project has ballooned to a multi-billion dollar company boasting more than 1.2 billion members around the world.
Not only has Facebook and its other popular social media networks, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, Pintrest, LinkedIn and many more, transformed the way we stay in contact with friends and family, social media has changed the way we obtain information.
When news occurs, chances are you will learn about it because of social media. Perhaps a Facebook post or getting a tweet from someone you follow on Twitter or a photo on Instagram from the event.
Social media has not only transformed the way we get information, but the way we share, this includes sensitive subjects such as healthcare.
The majority of hospitals and healthcare providers nationally are cold to the idea of using social media, but the truth is patients are using the various social media avenues, and those choosing not to participate are losing out on engaging and recruiting a plethora of potential patients.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
Gen Xers and Millennials were the first to grow up with computers in their homes. Millennials, those born between 1982 and 2000, also are more technically savvy than any generation. A recent poll found 97 percent of college students owned a computer and 94 percent owned a cell phone. Information is just a click or tap away.
The 18-24 age bracket is also twice as likely to use social media for health-related topics.
According to Mediabistro, more than 40 percent of consumers say information found on social media affects the way they treat their health condition. Considering more than a quarter of all conversations on Facebook is health related, your practice can ill afford to not have a social media presence. Your practice could lose the attention of an entire generation if you do not have an online presence.
Health care professionals have an obligation to create educational content to be shared across social media. They can inform consumers about health related issues, stop misleading information and actively engage consumers and convert them into patients.
Older generations also are becoming tech savvy. They are searching the Internet when they or a loved one is sick or develop a medical condition. According to the Pew Research Group, 61 percent of U.S. adults own a smartphone or iPhone. Of that 61 percent, nearly 20 percent has at least one health-related app.
This drives home the fact you must have an online presence and your information should be accessible for patients on the go.
Technology has changed the way you practice medicine. Now technology should change the way you communicate and engage your patients. You need to have a strong mobile focus no matter the size of your practice.
MDnetSolutions can help. You are the medical expert, so let us market your practice by building an eye-catching, responsive website. A responsive website looks the same regardless of whether it is being viewed on a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone, thus enhancing the user experience.
We also can craft a social media campaign designed to inform, entertain and engage your patient population and build your patient roster.
Do you still think Facebook is just for sharing vacation photos?
In a survey conducted by the DC Interactive Group, 41 percent of people say social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor. The message is starting to get to your peers. Twenty-six percent of hospitals participate in social media, and 60 percent of doctors say social media improves the quality of care delivered to patients.
Since 33 percent of patients use social media for health-related matters, including seeking medical information, tracking and sharing symptoms and broadcasting how they feel about doctors, drugs, treatment, medical devices and health plans, can your practice afford to stick with your current online marketing approach?
Call MDnetSolutions today and enhance your online patient engagement strategy.