The use of social media continues to grow. Facebook now claims over 1 billion users worldwide. It’s not just a phase; online social networking is here to stay. And because of its use and its staying power, it should be included in the marketing strategy of every hospital and every healthcare organization. It’s where consumers are. And for long periods of time. And consumers expect your presence there. And other social media sites have impressive numbers of users too. Here are a few interesting facts:
1. 1 million websites have integrated with Facebook. Not only are consumers engaged on Facebook, other websites have links to Facebook multiplying and compounding access.
2. 80% of users prefer to connect to brands on Facebook. Consumers expect to find our brands on Facebook. They want to use the site to gather information about the brand and if they are brand loyalists they want engagement. This is particularly pertinent to hospital marketers. Your consumers expect you to have a presence in social media
3. 25% of Facebook uses don’t set any of their privacy settings. There’s been much talk recently about privacy. Facebook has changed the way privacy settings are selected. But even with that, a full one-fourth of uses have not bothered with their privacy settings.
4. 25% of Facebook users check their account at least five times per day. Facebook users visit the network a lot. Returning to it to post or just check their newsfeed happens throughout the day. Users are checking in on a regular basis.
5. YouTube reaches more U.S. adults 18-34 than any cable network. Even with the tremendous growth of cable networks among younger adults, YouTube reaches more of them. Of course one video would not reach as many consumers as a schedule of spots run on major cable networks but YouTube is extremely popular. It’s time to consider using video in your marketing strategy. Start simple but don’t miss out on the opportunity to reach a big base of consumers.
As healthcare marketers it seems a bit overwhelming. The strength and power of Social media and the various platforms and sites and how consumers utilize online social media can become almost too much to get your arms around. And of course once started the monster has to be fed. You can’t set it up and watch it go. It requires time and effort.
But the numbers speak for themselves. And active social media strategy is important. Hospital marketing departments can’t be present on all social media sites. But choose the one (or ones) that fit your hospital’s marketing objectives and do it well. Don’t overstretch your capabilities. Examine the numbers and see what’s best for your healthcare organization and then make a commitment to be active and to make it as effective as possible.
Statistics accredited to Belle Beth Cooper writing for the Huffington Post (huffingtonpost.com).