The Role of Social Media in Patient Engagement

The Role of Social Media in Patient Engagement

by Shearly (SU)

Client communication and engagement is a must for any business – and the healthcare industry is no different. Increased patient engagement has been linked to better adherence to medical plans, reduced hospitalization, and higher revenues. However, effective engagement with patients means you need to “meet” them where they spend the most time. And today, that means the internet and social media.

According to research, more than 90 percent of patients trust health-related information found on social media. Facebook is typically the best network for healthcare professionals, with more than 2 billion users. (And if someone recommends your services to a friend on Facebook, it has the power of a word-of-mouth referral times 10!) Twitter also offers significant engagement opportunities, enabling medical professionals to easily connect with patients via infographics, downloadable patient education resources, and research announcements. 

Using social media to attract new patients and interact with existing patients can transform a healthcare practice. It provides a powerful communication tool that strengthens relationships with existing patients by building an online rapport. When interesting and relevant posts are shared, it attracts new patients while also building a strong brand image for a practice. Plus, it takes less time – and costs significantly less – than other forms of marketing activities.

Facebook in particular is a great place to advertise. The costs are low and Facebook gathers detailed information from its users and provides this information to advertisers in order to target a very specific audience. This means that ads for your practice can appear on the time-lines of users of a particular gender, age, location, socioeconomic status and interest. You can’t get more qualified than that and you only pay for users who click to your website or “like” your Facebook page.

 When done properly, social media engagement can lead to:

  • New Patients
  • Positive online interactions
  • Improved health outcomes
  • Positive feelings about convenience, ease of access, and timeliness
  • Patients who love their healthcare providers

And positive experiences shared by patients on social media can be used as testimonials and referrals!

Here are a few ways you can use social media to drive positive online interactions:

  • Share educational content that helps establish you and your practice as a trusted source of information.
  • Offer visuals that catch a patient’s immediate attention. (Posts with images can get up to 95% more views than posts without images.)
  • Stick with consistent messaging and content that highlights your specialty – and your expertise.
  • Encourage two-way communication and patient interaction by asking people to comment, and then responding to their feedback in a timely manner
  • And don’t forget to make it easy for people to ‘like’ or ‘follow’ you by adding social media icons to your website

Social media is a simple yet effective communication platform for healthcare practices. So, developing a social media strategy should be a cornerstone of every organization’s patient engagement strategy. iHealthSpot is a full-service digital marketing partner that can support the unique needs of any healthcare practice, providing proprietary patient education content as well as online marketing services including social media and reputation management.

If you are interested in learning more, contact us, toll-free at (877) 709-0999 for your FREE consultation with our marketing experts today!