To be honest, I could have chosen any industry and put together reasoning as to why and how social media can be useful; simply because I have yet to see any industry where communicating on social media cannot be extremely valuable. Also though, after reading this recent post Social Eyes on Healthcare, the more I think about healthcare, the more I believe that social media is a fundamental (and often underutilised) tool and here’s why…
Healthcare is people…
…in all different settings doing all sorts of things. No matter what stage in your healthcare journey you are on, you will want to see in advance the key people that you will become familiar with in the weeks and months to follow.
Little things like a smiling face (even someone wearing a silly hat – yes that’s me!), associated hobbies and interests or even favourite football team can very quickly bridge the gap between a faceless and often scary personal service and a warm welcome to people working near to you who are able to help.
Healthcare with a hashtag
Everyone is unique but a lot of what you are feeling right now (whatever your healthcare needs may be) there will be people who have been in your shoes and who can relay some of their experiences to put your mind at rest.
Micro blogging sites like Twitter are great for following healthcare professions, patients and people who just want to share their healthcare experiences. There are even sites out there that provide you with a sample list of hashtags to follow for getting you started on Twitter (one example being http://www.symplur.com/healthcare-hashtags/).
More practical implications for healthcare hashtags includes visibility of local healthcare conferences, ability to follow specific diseases close to your heart and much more.
Healthcare is success stories
One of the most challenging things people face when they are coping with severe illness is not being able to see the positives. Following other people’s success stories who are in identical situations to them can be seen as a bright path which they can associate with and follow (literally follow in the social media sense and Twitter scenario).
Writing content is being social
Many healthcare websites contain extremely valuable and often very technical content which provides an information resource that people can rely on when they need to find out more. The purpose of this content being seen, shared, promoted and received by those that need it the most can become overlooked.
Here is where social media helps. Content promotion and marketing on social media platforms will help your content engage with the people it was intended for. Moreover it will find them when they want it, in a medium where they can share it and discuss it and ask questions about the content with the people that know the answers.
Hopefully this post demonstrates how effective social media can be in a specific industry sector. If you have thoughts and feedback to add to this post please do share them and let me know if you think you have (or know of) a niche where you feel social media cannot help. I will happily investigate it for you.