As we see the world swept up by social media marketing, medical and healthcare industry is one sector where it is yet to find a footing. The use of social media by doctors is still in its infancy. The legal and liability issues might restrain the doctors and physicians to speak openly about issues and diseases and hence the limitations.
Statistics have revealed that only 24% of doctors use social media at least once a day to seek guidance or post industry related updates. While on the other hand, 60% of social media users are most likely to trust a social media post or activity by a doctor over any other group. It is important that healthcare experts get hooked to social media marketing seriously and leverage its benefits to build their credibility. As said by Ryan Lilly, author, “Social media is not just a spoke on the wheel of marketing. It’s becoming the way entire bicycles are built.”
As a medical expert, it is entirely possible to create an effective and profitable social media strategy to market one’s practice. With so many social media platforms one may feel overwhelmed at the beginning but a few tips, tricks and reminders will ensure a smooth journey from there on. Social media marketing that is done right can lead to improved brand awareness, customer satisfaction and a visible increase in patient leads.
One important aspect to note before jumping on the social media bandwagon is, over 64% of India’s population is projected to be the Millennial or the GenY Generation (those who are born between 1981 and 2000). It is imperative for us to understand their choice and preferences of making everyday decisions for even a simple visit to the local doctor. Popularly known as the Boomerang Generation, Millennials are generally regarded as open minded, civically and politically disengaged, more focused on materialistic values and often considered as lazy. They would prefer looking up the internet for medication than taking the effort of going for a routine check-up. Medical practitioners cannot ignore this ever exploring segment of society and leave them untapped.
Social media marketing is a great and cost effective way to gain attention in the medical industry. From sharing experiences, to recommending services, to providing advice one can do a whole lot and more with social media features and tools and the results are absolutely measurable and scalable. What’s more! From visitors statistics one can understand the demographic and geographic profile of patients and manage ones’ content and page accordingly. Implementing a targeted social media marketing strategy can provide doctors with a platform for sharing information that patients will recognize and appreciate. Social media marketing is a valuable resource that can garner huge results and leave a lasting impression on prospective patients.
To keep the social media accounts going, doctors must interact with patients. From responding to inquires and comments to providing original content via blogs and videos, doctors and physicians can do a whole lot. Often industries provide content that is not relevant to the audience. Social media encourages doctors to start real time interactions with current and prospective patients. These interactions helps the doctors to get a glimpse of what patients expect from medical experts and also helps patients to understand the life and activities of a doctor. Also, internet is flooded with incorrect and unverified healthcare facts and information. Fighting fake health news requires doctors to get online too. This activity, when done consistently, will lead to lasting relationships over time.
Handling social media isn’t a walk in the park. It requires a lot of time, patience and effort for planning strategies and writing content. It just does not involve posting articles or photos. Each piece of content should be well thought out and worked before hand. Sadly, physicians are busy all day managing their patients, meetings, conferences and updating their knowledge that taking out time for social media marketing seems like a different ball game. However, when it comes to social media, the good outweighs the bad.
People spend more time studying health information than visiting a doctor. Studies show that, in a year, a person visits a doctor three times while he spends 52 hours on the internet searching for health information. Doctors should capitalize on this opportunity by having proper social media marketing in place. It is never too late to begin a social media campaign. For physicians who have not initiated these strategies, now is the time.