There are a lot of opinions about the use and effectiveness of social media in health care. Plenty of naysayers have voiced their thoughts on the lack of social media’s impact on patients, but the time has come to put these myths to rest. Social media is a powerful tool for healthcare marketing professionals to use and it works to drive patients in a number of ways.
Let’s explore a few of the common health care social media myths and misconceptions and bust them wide open. (Feel free to read this article while listening to Lil Kee’s “Buss It Wide Open”)
Myth #1 – Patients will only leave feedback or reviews on your Facebook business page or Yelp listing if they have a negative experience at your practice, so it’s best not to promote your social media pages to patients.
BUSTED: First of all, if you don’t take ownership of your business’ page, that doesn’t mean people won’t still be able to review your business and leave comments. It’s better to be in control and merge your Business Page with any relevant location listing pages. Secondly, we’ve found that patients are just as likely to share a positive experience as a review as they are to leave a negative review. People aren’t as likely to share their experience if nothing in particular stands out to them, but if you go above and beyond even in little ways you’ll be surprised by the reaction. At an imaging center on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, the staff hands out cards with their Facebook page and Yelp URL with a message of appreciation which they give to any patients who compliment the practice, their staff or service. More often than not, those patients take the extra step to review the radiology practice.
Myth #2 - Most of our patients are elderly and the older populations don’t use social media.
BUSTED: 82% of the 65 million baby boomers and seniors, in the 50+ age group go online for health and wellness information. This demographic is also a part of the fastest growing online community. (Immersion Active, 2015) Older populations are very loyal to the brands and businesses that treat them well. They are most influenced by word-of-mouth style marketing and social media in itself is modern-day word-of-mouth. One multi-modality imaging center in The Villages in Florida, which is a 55+ community has a very active Facebook page on which patients and referring physician staff members engage regularly.
Myth #3 – My small town isn’t into social media; no one will engage with our Facebook page or tweets.
BUSTED: Of all Internet users in rural communities, approximately 67% use Facebook as compared to 72% in suburban communities and 74% in urban communities. (Pew Research Center, 2015) So while it is true, that patients in metropolitan areas are more active on social media, rural community users are still almost as active on Facebook as those in rural and suburban cities.
More myth-busters to follow next week! Read more: 15 Facebook Topics For Healthcare Marketers