The last decade has seen a whirlwind of change across all industries, sectors and institutes because of the communication and technological advancement and healthcare is no exception. Healthcare industry has been progressive in many ways and has been the pioneer to accept and implement technological advancement be it via wireless networking, virtual reality or artificial intelligence in the recent times. However when it comes to digital healthcare marketing, the growth and acceptance has been significant but not that rapid and fast paced.

The reasons seen are primarily:

•   Insufficient Budget

•   Departmental Silos

•   Outdated tactics and technology

However, in today’s age of consumerism the power dynamic has flipped and the benefits of digital healthcare marketing cannot be ignored. Today a consumer has more information, more options and alternatives to meet their needs and they have it immediately on the device of their choice. Hence, selecting a doctor or a healthcare provider is more of an informed decision than a random choice. Patients now have the luxury of doing a full background check about a physician, hospital or clinic online. Reviews and ratings provided by experience holders carry a lot of weight and play a pivotal role in their decision of selecting a physician. If you think we are bluffing, then let’s share some facts. According to WHO, 89% of consumers use a search engine to solve healthcare queries, and 73% of patients rely on search engines to find a health practitioner or treatment centre. These data indicate that healthcare brands need to tap and connect with their target audience wherever they are in their healthcare journey.

Before we move on to Social Media Healthcare marketing let’s take a quick glance at some of the "Benefits of Digital Healthcare Marketing"

• Connect with patients across multiple channels and platforms

• Retain patients for a longer period of time and maintain brand loyalty

• Identify and explore new opportunities to attract prospective patients

• Keep patients with relevant, customized and timely information in their journey with your brand

• Evaluate productivity and re-align strategy with comprehensive data analytics

One of the key trends to watch out for in 2019 is a surge in the use of Social Media Marketing across all industries and spheres and specifically in healthcare division. According to reports, 41% of consumers say that content found on social media will likely impact their choice of physician, hospital or treatment center, and 42% of individuals viewing health information on social media give priority to ratings and reviews of past experiences. Hence, Social Media Marketing is the need of the hour. If you have been neglecting Social Media Marketing in your digital marketing strategy now is the time to take it seriously and have the first mover advantage by your side.

Still not sure if it will help you and your business in any way, then look at the numbers below:

• 75% of consumers use social media to understand their health symptoms

• 80% of internet users are looking for health or wellness information

• 72% of all internet users have atleast one or more active social media profile

The secret to getting most out of the social media platform is by focusing on one or two platforms that matters the most to you and your target audience. Each platform serves a different purpose for a business or practice. While Facebook is best for local awareness, LinkedIn is highly recommended for networking. Instagram is visually appealing so maybe a surgeon or dentist can best maximize their work through this channel. Once you understand the nitty gritty of the chosen tool, it will seem like a routine activity that one can take care of effortlessly.

Listed are some of the basic tips and techniques that will come handy when you start with Social Media Marketing:

Of course, the first step with any new social media platform is creating your new page. Once you’ve updated your basic information, you’ll want to get to know the particular platform you’re working in. Each platform is unique. For example:

• Facebook is the right platform to share events

• However hashtags are not so relevant for Facebook as compared to Twitter or Instagram

• It’s a good idea to start following other accounts similar to yours on Twitter and Instagram

Posting relevant content on social media is of prime importance. Of course, one can be tempted to post on relevant technology or latest survey or statistics but do you think the public at large will be interested to go through pages and pages of data?? Useful and engaging content can give a boost to your social media platform and increase visibility manifold.

Key stat: 60% of marketers struggle to personalize content in real time, yet 77% believe real – time personalization is crucial.

In India, fewer efforts have been made towards Social Media Healthcare Marketing. One such company to have the first mover advantage is SI-Research & Solutions Pvt Ltd. The company has serviced the healthcare marketing industry for more than a decade now. Plus Promo is an initiative of SI-Insights that supports 360 degree marketing campaign of any healthcare brand. They have recently launched Plus Promo App that aims to help practitioners, physicians, medical facilities and institutes in their social media strategy significantly. The features and benefits of the App are endless. Their ready content, templates, videos, infographics can be customized for one’s own personal use and shared with others. In an industry where time is money, Plus Promo App comes as a savior for routine and necessary activities like social media marketing which otherwise seems like a magnanimous task!

It is very rightly said that it pays to keep patients happy, and this year we hope to see more organizations take on a patient-centered approach to improve features, usability, and design.

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