The use of social media within healthcare has grown tremendously over the past five years. Initially hesitant, healthcare providers and leaders have for the most part, accepted the fact that when done well, social media marketing helps build relationships and grow organizations. The success a healthcare organization or any other business has from using social media depends largely on how it is used. While the purpose of implementing any medical marketing strategy is to grow, with social media it is about much more. Social media is not just about the doctors or the practice; it is about the patient, or prospective patient.

Social media marketing provides a platform for sharing information to the masses. Traditional marketing has largely taken a back seat to digital marketing because consumers don’t want to be sold. Today’s patient seeks to have an active role in their healthcare planning. Consumers want access to accurate healthcare information. Social media provides a way of sharing this information in a nonthreatening, yet trustworthy format.

According to Pew Research Center, 87% of U.S. adults use the Internet and 80% of Internet users report looking online for health information within the past year. While we agree that not everyone is “plugged in,” Solucient reports that 45% of all adults nationwide are using the Internet for health-related purposes. The moral of the story is people are looking online for health information. If businesses want to be considered a reliable source of information, it is important to give the people what they want.

So what do they want? While hearing about how wonderful a medical practice is may seem important, consumers tend to tune out practices that use social media as a platform to boast their wonderfulness. After this many years it amazes me how many businesses are still only talking about themselves online.

Social media can and should most certainly be used to share information about promotions, events, services and procedures offered within the business. It should also be used to share information related to your specialty that your target audience cares about. At MindStream Creative, we recommend that 20% of posts be about the practice and 80% be indirectly related. For example, if you are an orthopedic surgeon, a social media post may include injury prevention tips for runners that are pulled from a trusted source.

Remember, social media is not about the business or the providers. It is about making connections, helping others, sharing ideas and building business opportunities. Social media provides businesses with a platform to reach an unlimited audience. Make sure your posts are meaningful – to the audience they best serve.

Want more medical marketing tips? Visit MindStream Creative online.