Social Media and its Internet marketing platforms have certainly influenced the way patients relate to one another and communicate with each other; but social media has also altered the ways in which health care providers (and subsidiary or related industries) respond to crises and attract new patients or consumers.
The Landscape of Health Care Marketing Has Changed
Today, the social media’s real-time platforms instantaneously broadcast individual patient’s reactions and dictates providers’ responses and strategies. Because of the Internet marketing platforms, there is now an open and constant dialogue; health care providers are not on a one-way informational street anymore, but on a super highway of information, opinions, and situations, all driven by consumers.
While the majority of providers (including hospitals, private practices, medical manufacturers, and clinics) are hesitant to integrate Internet marketing elements into their public relations plans: mostly from fear of malpractice lawsuits or breaches in patient confidentiality. Significant numbers of large hospital organizations, regional groups, and successful practices are seeking social media help. They employ these online marketing services to capitalize on patients’ positive remarks and experiences and to mitigate negative ones. They have implemented blog creation, designed or redesigned their website design to include pod casts and videos, and establish internal mechanisms to monitor Internet “traffic.” All of these efforts in Internet marketing are designed to attract more patients to the main web page, allay fears and concerns of present patients, and disseminate factual information on diseases and treatments. While there are currently only approximately 50 out of 5000 US hospitals actively using all social media online marketing tools, the number of hospitals striving to incorporate a variety of these tools is staggering.
Effective Implementations of Internet Marketing Services
Physicians are still the key to the most effective delivery of health care and they are well aware of the current day patients propensity to comparison shop, via the web before selecting a doctor, hospital, or procedure. How to engage the patient, ameliorate his apprehensions or frustrations, and convince him to choose that particular doctor can be accomplished by Internet marketing strategies provided by companies designed for just such campaigns. Several companies in Tampa, Florida stand ready to provide the means and methods to attract and increase patient volume.
By using these marketing tactics, the doctor can build brand knowledge and inherent confidence in his professional skills. These Internet marketing companies encourage the use of enticing images and pictures, satisfied customer testimonials and “live” welcoming messages on the web site to encourage person-to-person relationships and positive involvement. Uncovering just the right photo and posting it on social media engenders much deeper emotional reactions from the visitor than text-only posts. Moreover, if visitors are emotionally connected with websitesand their host providers online, this draws them into actively using that service or provider. Indeed, a well-chosen picture is worth a thousand key strokes. Snapchat, which many potential patients and their parents are using, has over 350 million monthly active users, over a million more than Facebook. Focused online marketing implementations such as these encourage sharing and positive reinforcement of the site’s products and performance.
Hospitals Need Internet Marketing Services
Likewise, hospitals trying to build trust and confidence are encouraged to display and relay national rankings, ratings, awards, and reviews to demonstrate reliable and reputable services. Moreover, although health care consumers trust social media interactions with doctors more than official hospital sites, nevertheless, it is still critical that institutions and hospital groups present authentic, credible discussions and descriptions of their services and performance standards. Marketing service suppliers caution that health care providers must be vigilant that they do not use social media for sensitive, personal communications; but they also highly recommend that social media avenues be exploited during a crisis or natural disaster. Actually, an increasing number of large hospitals have dedicated social media offices and directors who oversee and select the Internet marketing services for the institution. One important aspect that is essential for successful exploitation of the social media is for the hospital’s employees to become actively engaged in developing the hospital’s Internet presence. Cloud-based platforms also provide the means for technicians and doctors to conduct clinical data analysis and research, without ever leaving the premises.
Health care providers, whether it is an individual doctor or a multimillion-dollar conglomerate, must realize that if they are to grow their customer base and convince the public of their reliability and superiority, they must have a presence in a range of social media channels, employing a variety of Internet marketing tools.
Published by Axiom Health Care Marketing