Social Media Trends, Statistics & Adoption in Healthcare

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This post is part 2 of a 3 part series on the web, online marketing and healthcare. Our first post looked at mobile,  today’s post is on social media and the last will be on search marketing in the healthcare industry.

Social Media healthcareSocial Media continues to be the current darling of the web.  It’s growth, popularity and visibility stretch from the websites we visit, to our nightly TV news broadcasts to our local youth sports fundraisers.  With the masses engaging in social media on a frequent basis, we look at it’s role and benefits in the healthcare industry.

Social Media Statistics & Growth

  • It took nearly 40 years for computers to become mainstream—it took Facebook less than 6 months to add 100MM people.
  • In winter 2011 more than 500MM people used Facebook regularly. Among adults in the US, 42% use social networking sites. Among young adults (age 18–29 years), the figure is an impressive 86%.
  • Facebook hit 750MM users mid June 2011. That’s a 250MM jump in less than six months.
  • Social media now reaches the majority of Americans 12+, with 52% having a profile on one or more social networks.
  • 37% of Internet users have actively contributed to the creation, commentary, or dissemination of news. In addition, 75% of online news consumers get news forwarded through e-mail or posts on social networking sites.
  • Sharing produces an estimated 10% of all Internet traffic and 31% of referral traffic to sites from search and social. When it comes to sharing, 80 percent of people share only one category of links and more than 70 percent will only ever click on one category.

Getting Social To Connect With Customers

First, your customers are using social media.  Of adults who use social network sites:

  • 23% of social network site users, or 11% of adults, have followed their friends’ personal health experiences or updates on the site;
  • 15% of social network site users, or 7% of adults, have gotten any health information on the sites;
  • 14% have raised money for or drawn attention to a health-related issue or cause; and
  • 9% have started or joined a health-related group on a social networking site.

Second, your healthcare competition is using social media.  U.S. Hospitals are now using more social networking tools:

  • 1,188 Hospitals total
  • 548 YouTube Channels
  • 1018 Facebook pages
  • 788 Twitter Accounts
  • 458 LinkedIn Accounts
  • 913 Four Square
  • 137 Blogs
  • 3,952 Hospital Social Networking Sites

One example of a growing health professional social network website is Sermo. Sermo has 115,000 community members, all healthcare professionals.

About Doctors on Sermo:

  • Average age: 47
  • Median yrs in practice: 13
  • Represent 68 specialties
  • Practice in all 50 states
  • Spend 35,000 hrs/month online

Here are some additional statistics on doctors and their technology use:

  • 72% of US physicians carry smartphones
  • About 30% of physicians access medical information using a handheld device or smartphone; 95% of physicians who use smartphones use them to download apps to access medical information.
  • According to Manhattan Research, 80% of nurses direct patients to trusted healthcare sites online.

As a healthcare provider, your audience is online and is quickly adopting social media as a trusted source.  Do you know and own what is being said about your brand online?  You should consider your audience and create a plan to be where your audience expects you to be present, otherwise your competition may be there and create a new relationship first.

Remember, 42% of adults in the US are using social media sites, and therefore planning some amount of engagement is an incredibly important tactic in your marketing plan.

Healthcare Using Social Media

Here are a couple examples of good social media use by healthcare providers.

Kaiser Permanente & The Department of Veterans Affairs
The positive network effect provides fast and free distribution of messages to health consumers. A recent demonstration of this effect occurred with the media release of Kaiser Permanente’s (KP) electronic health record collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs in January 2010.

Through the use of social networking tools such as Twitter, an audience of hundreds was expanded to an audience of over 75,000 within 48 hours, with 92% of the reach created by individuals not affiliated with KP.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
During the H1N1 outbreak of 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) turned to social networking site Twitter to communicate with clinicians across the US. The CDC employs a Twitter feed for emergency information (more than 1.2 million followers) and also for flu information (46,000 followers).

Are you already engaging with your audience online through social media?  If so, please share what has worked for you.

  • Watch next week for our 3rd and final post in this healthcare series on search marketing.
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  • Anonymous

    Really Interesting details about health… !!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for reading. We agree!

      • Anonymous

        no need to thanks dear

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EEF6SIWUSGA3PLKQCUG2SO3VWY Malinda Souders

    Hello,
    This is an amazing analysis that you have done and you have surely managed to gather some very sensitive and useful data.
    Well done.
    :)
    _____________
    LPN online

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Malinda – check out the blog post released this morning on search, too! 

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  • http://twitter.com/ecairn ecairn

    Hello,

    Thanks for these very interesting data. We did look at the health care tribes/communities and what we found interesting is that beside doctors and nurses communities, there are many “tribes” around specific diseases like chronicle ones: http://blog.ecairn.com/2011/01/11/analysis-of-4-networks-of-communities-of-influencers/

    Also, while the impact of social media and internet in general is huge. It seems difficult for companies to build successful services as we see with Google health being discontinued
    http://www.google.com/intl/en-US/health/about/

    Best

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for your comment and for sharing your post. We did find similar data, but your maps really illustrate the point. It makes sense that people focus on their area of expertise.  I found the ShareThis study to really illustrate this–findings included that 80% of people share only one category of links and more than 70% will only ever click on one category (http://tcrn.ch/mQyUNH).

      In regards to your second point, I think part of that has to do with the services available. I think we will see more innovative applications and opportunities born out of the way consumers are accessing and using the data.  

  • Anonymous

    Social media is popular online marketing method. Social networking sites make marketing with entertainment. This is great posted.

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    Good article, numerous beneficial tips.  I am about to show my friend and ask them the things they think.
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  • Hansen73

    Very interesting facts, thanks for sharing! I am a graduate student and would like to use some of these statistics in a research project I’m currently working on with social media in healthcare. Can you share the sources where these numbers were acquired from? Thanks so much

    • Anonymous

      Of course! Many were linked directly in the post. Were there specific ones you wanted that did not have the links?

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