Let’s face it – we are dealing with a generation that is more likely to go on social media to ask health questions than to go and ask a doctor. Shockingly, the number of consumers that rely on the internet for their health-related concerns is too high to overlook. If you are currently in the healthcare industry and not on social media, it may be time to rethink your strategy.
Today we are sharing with you impressive statistics to back up our reasoning as to why your practice, and you as a healthcare professional, should be reaching your patients online.
To begin, did you know that internet users spend an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes a day on social platforms? (Digital Information World) That is a long time and a good portion of an average person’s day. Here is where you come in: Make these users spend those 2+ hours a day on your website, or on social media talking about YOU, or learning about YOU.
Reach Patients Where They Are.
Social networks create a huge opportunity for you to promote your medical expertise. Patients resort to social media for answers when it comes to seeking medical advice. They are comfortable communicating there and it is easy for them. It might be surprising to a healthcare professional; however, potential patients will very often take to Facebook to post a medical question. You can find these questions (depending on their privacy settings) and answer them personally as long as you are general enough and don’t give direct, specific medical advice. You can gently let them know you have helped patients with these types of issues and would be happy to talk to them. This creates a feeling of “Wow, they thought enough to reach out to me” and generates trust between you and the user.
Facebook also is known to have many community groups where users share their medical experiences and offer advice if they have gone through such medical hardships. As a healthcare professional, offer your sympathy and knowledge to these groups. Be the voice of reason they seek. As you create these relationships virtually, you will also likely gain more in-person patient visits. More specifically, a shocking 90% of patients ages 18-24 turn to social media for medical information.
Social Media to Find a Doctor?
You bet. Believe it or not, 40% of people make social media part of their research when trying to find a healthcare provider. (InboundMd) This is almost half! So what does this mean for you? Most internet users will look at online reviews and current practice information. We recommend that you reach out to your current patients and gather positive online reviews to create a positive reflection of your practice for potential patients who are researching. Some best practices include sharing personal information and creating a video introducing yourself. This will allow the consumer to get a good feel for what they would experience if they were to come to your practice, and more importantly, why they would choose you over other providers!
Hospitals are Hiding.
Now here is the kicker, only 26% of all hospitals in the US participate in social media! (referralmd) Are you one of these hospitals?! If you are this means there is a huge opportunity to improve your web presence or start it if you have not yet done so. Do not miss the opportunity that the internet and social media create for you! The current statistics documenting the amount of healthcare research by patients are immense.
Take the time to nurture relationships with online users to prove your practice is the best. If patients are seeking help and advice, why not be the one to help them toward the answers? You will see results as you begin to reach out to them online. Unfortunately, it is no longer “analog” word-of-mouth these days. Most healthcare practitioners are finding that traditional marketing practices are not enough to keep their practice or facility growing. If you want to build your practice and gain new patients, now is the time to optimize your social media strategy and presence.
Solstice Digital can help you effectively use social media to communicate with your patients and stay HIPAA compliant. Contact us today about improving your social media communications, reaching new audiences, and growing your practice.