We’ve all been at that stage where we’ve felt a teeny bit unwell, and so we Googled our symptoms.

BIG MISTAKE.

The internet usually tells you that you have some type of  rare cancer and all of a sudden you’re convinced you’re dying.

You’re nodding in agreement right? Amiright?

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(Source) Yup…..

So wouldn’t it be easier if the healthcare industry was more prominent on social media? You’re nodding again, yes, you are.

We all know that today’s millennials are highly influenced by opinions posted on social media. And, that they will usually consult social media sites and look at reviews before making decisions regarding university options, travel and clothes… and the list goes on. This influence of social media includes health care decisions.

According to PwC Health Research Institute, 90% of people aged 18 to 24 stated they trust medical info shared on their social feeds. And this is important for healthcare professionals to know, because it is an opportunity to connect with consumers in a new and engaging way.  More nodding from you eh?

Furthermore,  41% of people said social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or medical facility. This is important because social media can be used as a vehicle to help control positive and negative word of mouth (WOM). So, for healthcare professionals to attract and retain customers, social media allows them to tune in to what is being said by consumers.

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(Source) Mhhmmm

Annnnd, you know those health claims like a glass of red wine a day can reduce cancer, or sitting is just as good as walking to lose weight? More nodding 

The terminology used are sensational terms such as “cure”, “miracle” and breakthrough”, which is all misleading. But we generally believe the claims.

Well, what would make sense is, if the healthcare professionals have their own social media accounts where they can dispute the rubbish claims, or even offer some back- up information that the average consumer isn’t privy to.

Boston-based Dr. Kevin Pho who actively engages in Twitter is an example of how to use social media to connect with patients. With close to 150,000 followers, he also uses Twitter as a powerful platform to influence health practices with his original health content, from his blog.

red wine
Source 

So, my nodding friend, what is the impact for digital marketers?

Well, for starters, those digital marketers that work in the healthcare industry could certainly start by creating social media accounts on behalf of the practitioners. This would be a great platform to interact with patients, and potential patients who are looking for reviews on the firm… etc

It will also allow practitioners to reach the millennials and younger generations who view social media as a legitimate source.

And to take it in the other direction, if digital marketers use words such as “miracle cure”, and “groundbreaking  research” and it all ends up being a hoax, well beware. Because eventually it may be a norm for practitioners to be on social media, and if they’re disputing your claims well that’s just embarrassing for you.

What do you think? Have you ever Googled your symptoms? How else would social media help the healthcare industry?

Shelley Barr-Waanders

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