Social media, like it or not, is here to stay.
Today, the average person has eight (8) social media accounts and nine (9) for users between the ages of 16 to 24.
So, what are the implications for medical providers and the healthcare industry overall? There are three that matter the most:
The United States has one of the highest social network penetration rates. In 2019, over 246 million Americans were using social media networks, accounting for 75% of the US population. With 75% of the US population using social media, an active social media presence is essential for medical providers and the healthcare industry to sustain and grow their patient base.
Because 54% of all patients use social media to search for products and services, including healthcare services; AND, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, 41% of patients said that social media content impact their chose of hospital or physician.
As a medical provider, an active commitment to establishing a social media presence is no longer an option; it is a necessity for attracting and retaining patients.
Stars matter. Social media users rely on social media reviews and leverage star ratings when making a final decision.
57% of users will not use a business that has less than 4 stars.
But stars aren’t the only thing that matters. Reviews are similarly as important. Having positive reviews increase the likelihood of convincing users to purchase a business’ product or service. Studies have shown that businesses with positive social media reviews capture 31% more business from their customers.
What does this mean for a healthcare perspective? It means that online social media stars and reviews are essential for capturing and retaining new patients. Without them, potential patients will pass you by.
Part of your social media strategy must include efforts to actively encourage patients and their family members to rate and review your practice.
There are over 97,000 health-related apps with over 4 million downloads a day. Over 52% of smartphone users research health-related information on mobile phones.
This fact has not been missed. Over 1,500 hospitals use social media in some format with Mayo Clinic leading the way with over 76,000 listeners to its podcast.
How hospitals are responding to social media trends does not mean every medial provider or physician practices need to start immediately blogging or creating podcasts.
What is important to realize is that innovators win.
Don’t be afraid to try something new or share an interesting fact or idea online. The days of the perfect brochure that requires five rounds of edits and takes three weeks to proofread and approve are over.
A social media post is relevant for a matter of hours not days or weeks. Users overlook little errors and grammar mistakes so long as the information is useful and relevant.
If you are afraid to make mistake or try something new, you will lose in this social media world.
Whether we like it or not, attracting and retaining patients is a now social media game.