We often hear that healthcare CEO’s don’t like social media.
It’s true they have traditionally rolled their eyes at social media. It’s equally true that healthcare has lagged behind when it comes to reaching out to consumers. In fact the industry didn’t exactly roll out the red carpet when disruptive technologies such as smart phones and social media made their respective debuts several years ago.
But now PwC has come out with a new survey indicating that healthcare CEO’s are changing their minds.
Healthcare getting social
Healthcare businesses have indeed moved beyond their casual experimentation with social media. Brands such as Cleveland Clinic, Boston Children’s Hospital and many others are integrating social media into their broader marketing and patient engagement efforts.
Not only that.
Conferences dedicated exclusively to healthcare social media marketing such as Mayo Clinic’s ‘Social Media Summit’ are cropping up everywhere and even the ‘Healthcare Hashtag Project’ was invented to keep track of various healthcare conversations on Twitter.
What healthcare CEO’s now know is that they are no longer in control of the conversation. In order to remain relevant their businesses have to engage in the kind of human, sociable and even likeable conversations that patients want – like a friend talking to a friend.
That means blogging more and marketing less. It means posting Facebook updates that are not only about their products, but about the dreams and lifestyles of their patients as well.
Coming full circle
As the idea of patient experience becomes increasingly important in healthcare marketing, CEO’s are beginning to see how social media can help with patient acquisition and retention. According to the PwC survey 81% of them plan to make changes designed to increase engagement with social media users.
Social media platforms especially Facebook and Twitter present the opportunity not only to address common concerns and frustrations that patients face e.g. parking issues, long wait times or how to get test results, but also to converse with them in a way that could turn a negative experience into a positive one.
For healthcare CEO’s who have come full circle their ‘big opportunity’ is to support training programs that empower employees to use social media in a way that improves patient experience, protects patient privacy and avoids communication that could potentially harm the organization’s reputation. Otherwise, the fact that they’re beginning to ‘like’ social media is in itself a huge step.
Your Turn: What role do you think CEO’s play in the future of healthcare social media marketing?