Social media is here to stay and its role in our daily lives continues to expand in the foreseeable future. It is becoming clear that health care organizations need to join the party. Only 26% of hospitals use social media in the US. This is particularly alarming considering that audiences are spending more and more time online and social media is an effective and easy way to reach out to your audience. Simply put, social media is being used more and more by consumers to make decisions (particularly younger consumers). It gives health organizations an opportunity to influence their audience’s decision processes by providing information in a platform that is palatable for their audience.
Social media also provides a benefit on the networking and recruiting front. Two-thirds of doctors use social media for professional purposes and 31% of health care professionals use social media for networking. This means that, like other industries, health care organizations should be enlisting social media to reach out to the masses. LinkedIn is a particularly good resource for this.
Social media is cheap or free for any health organization. Its only true cost comes down to time and effort. The process is largely organic and provides a great basis from which to promote your hospital. Whether it’s health information you want to share or an upcoming event, social media is very flexible.
Something to consider when deciding if social media is right for you is whether you have or need to create social media guidelines that are compliant with federal (and state) rules and regulations. These guidelines will govern what you can and can’t say over social media and provide a basis for engaging with your audience.
If you work at an organization or company in the health care industry, you should put some serious consideration into whether social media is a good fit for your company (chances are it’s a yes). Social media engages your audiences and provides a basis for which you can share information that will influence your customers' decisions. At the very least, social media provides a complimentary role.