“More than 40% of consumers say that information found via social media affects the way they deal with their health.”
The time is now. Content marketing for healthcare services has never been more important. Accident & Emergency departments across the country are facing unrivalled pressure and have been for some time. To alleviate this, various out of hours services have started to become available providing an alternative to A&E departments and GP appointments. But how many people are actually aware of these services; what they are, who they’re for and how they differ? Many patients are still using the wrong health service for their medical conditions, which would suggest, not many.
So what’s going wrong?
Last year, NHS Choices received over 36 million visits – and that figure is expected to rise to 50 million this year – suggesting that more people are looking for health information on-line than ever before.
But is this information being made available in a way that makes people engage, remember and share? Many health services have started on the right path, but there is certainly a long way to go.
Time for Change
Everybody knows that when new methods of doing are introduced that subvert the old ways, people are both reluctant and uncertain. They require reinforcement, reassurance and repetition to adjust to a new approach. The same is true of new information. Social media is the perfect platform to enable new healthcare messages to get out there and stay out there. Here’s why:
1. Less Is More
The micro-blogging and transient nature of social media means that you are able to drip feed small factual pieces of information to your audience often and unobtrusively. This makes it an excellent communication platform for imparting facts and hard-hitting information that your audience may not want to read a lengthy article on but nonetheless want to know about. The brevity of social updates mean that more people are more likely to engage with your content more often.
2. Caring & Sharing
“18 to 24 year olds are more than 2x as likely than 45 to 54 year olds to use social media for health-related discussions.”
Everybody cares about health information and health services because we all need it. This immediately gives healthcare marketers a trump card. Anything that affects all of us, means we want to share that knowledge. Social media provides people with the option of sharing important information with others at the click of a button – quick, easy, free and above all, effective. Your social audience start doing the work for you – reaching out to friends and followers, expanding your reach and growing your audience.
3. Educating Through Engaging
One of the best things about social is the way it enables interaction with audiences on the move – quickly and easily. This is an excellent resource to harness, providing the reassurance and reinforcement required to communicate key messages about new services. You can answer questions, provide updates and correct any false information in a public forum, alleviating any fears and potential confusion.
4. Visual Messaging
Social media now supports more visual and interactive content than ever before. From bold messaging to video clips – social media is the ideal platform to launch any health campaign. A study by Ipsos OTX found that visual content receives more shares on social media. So with the number of health campaigns taking place throughout the year, can you really afford to be missing out on this powerful marketing tool?
Do you work with a health organisation that’s looking to adopt social media to reach your local community and service users? If so, please take a look at our healthcare marketing services.