The health care industry has been convinced that they shouldn’t utilize social media in their business and/or marketing strategies. The reasons for this are mostly legal, practical, and fear of the loss of credibility. Should those in the health care industry fear falling behind and missing out on great success that comes with social media outlets? Yes! There are ways health care entities can implement social media into their strategies and be successful, while still complying with regulations.
Currently there are health care companies, large and small, that are utilizing social media. Some are doing it well, while others are merely just doing it.
Here’s a look at a few that are on the front lines of Web 2.0:
- Mayo Clinic
- Johns Hopkins
- Mount Sinai Hospital
- Dr. Oz
The Mayo Clinic is utilizing Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter in their social media strategy. Via Facebook they socialize with customers, potential customers, and professional experts to answer questions, posts testimonials, upload professional and informative videos, and discuss relevant hot topics.
Johns Hopkins is fully embracing social media in their day-to-day marketing. They tweet numerous times a day about events, videos, awards and promotions, and current healthcare-related topics. They’re also on Facebook and have a YouTube channel.
Mount Sinai Hospital
Mount Sinai has positioned itself well within the social media sphere. They fully utilize Facebook, communicating several times a day with engaging discussion on news topics, interviews, healthcare-related stats, and events, to name just a few.
CosmeticSurg, a Web Ad.vantage social media client, recognizes the constantly changing environment of social media and takes a proactive approach with an informative, frequently-updated cosmetic surgery blog. Through his blog, Dr. Ricardo Rodriguez, a board certified plastic surgeon, engages readers directly through blog posts relating his thoughts on the practice of plastic surgery. CosmeticSurg continues to build a strong social media presence through Twitter, videos on YouTube, and on Facebook.
Pfizer is one of the few pharmaceutical companies embracing social media, however small, in their current marketing strategy. Their Twitter page is mainly used for company and pharmaceutical news topics but also branches out to discuss industry events and promote health-related podcasts.
AstraZeneca focuses their social media efforts on Twitter where they make informative announcements, link to videos, and promote events.
The above health care companies are just a sampling of those in the industry who are using social media. A recent eMarketer article recognized that “the pharmaceutical industry hasn’t fully adopted Web 2.0, and by restricting their brand sites to simple online information centers, pharma marketers are missing opportunities to engage consumers and boost compliance.” Indeed several of the businesses mentioned on this list could be doing a much better job to truly engage consumers, and not just take the “me too” approach.
The below chart from eMarketer shows projected online advertising spending for the pharmaceutical and health care industry from 2006 through 2011, which signifies a steady increase in spend.
We predict an increase in social media marketing dollars for the health care industry. No matter what social media method or platform, every health care company’s goal should be to create meaningful relationships with consumers. When social media is used smartly and strategically, health care companies can build their brands while increasing trust and customer satisfaction.
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