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 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.