As digital becomes more and more integrated into our healthcare, hospitals are beginning to recognize social media’s potential to improve patient experience. Below we are going to take a deeper dive into why we believe a fully integrated and effective social media program is an important channel to have.
SOCIAL MEDIA AND HEALTHCARE
1. It’s proven.
According to Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group, 41 percent of patients say social media affects hospital choice – yet only 26 percent of hospitals in the U.S. participate in social media. What this means is that we should consider the value that patients place on social media and be more active in this space.
Hospitals in the 26 percent, such as the Mayo Clinic, are demonstrating how social media is working for them. The Mayo Clinic has the most popular medical provider channel on YouTube and more than 450,000 followers on Twitter. They also have an active Facebook page with over 300,000 connections. A pioneer in blogging, Mayo also has a News Blog, Podcast Blog and Sharing Mayo Clinic, a blog that enables patients and employees to tell stories about their Mayo Clinic experience. This is clear proof that if done right, social media can have a huge impact on your business.
2. It can reduce your overall marketing costs.
First and foremost, tweeting a message or posting something to Facebook is dramatically more cost-effective than running a paid ad or mailing thousands of marketing pieces. Of course, there are also advanced tools that allow you to run a demographic-specific social media campaign so you are able get the best bang for your marketing dollar.
3. Choosing not to participate might be more than missing an opportunity – it could mean creating a negative connotation.
Social media is about a meaningful dialogue and an exchange of information. When a patient uses social media and the hospital remains silent in response, it does not create a positive experience. It only screams, “We don’t know who you are and don’t care.”
Let’s look at an example: If I were to go to the hospital today, I could check-in on foursquare. An effective engagement strategy should elicit some sort of response from the healthcare provider – possibly a “thank you for visiting” message and a quick survey. This would not only make the patient feel as if they are valued, but also provide information to the hospital on how to make patients’ experiences better. If there is absolute silence after checking in, the visitor does not leave with a good impression, and the hospital misses a great opportunity to learn more about who they are serving.
It’s time to drive a comprehensive social media strategy into the fabric of your hospital or health system. The healthcare consumer is out there actively looking and making healthcare choices online, and they won’t choose the hospital or health system that’s not readily available for them on social media.