How Essential is Social Media for Healthcare Organizations?

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Myth or Not:  Social Media is NOT an Essential Tool for Most Healthcare Organizations

Social Media in Healthcare

We published an article in 2017 titled, “Social Media and Healthcare: 10 Insightful Statistics” which highlighted a list of 10 statistics related to individuals seeking healthcare information on social media or the internet in general.

The statistics, even back in 2017, would lead us to believe that social media was important to healthcare organizations, even so, the adoption rate was found to be slow.

In the 2017 article, we made the following statement: “Regardless of the increased value that social media participation provides many in the healthcare industry, the majority of healthcare organizations have been slow to adopt it. For some, it is considered to be a distraction, or even a potential liability. In fact, only 26% of hospitals and 36% of physician practices in the US are utilizing any form of social media.” (1, 2)

How Much Are We Spending on Digital Marketing?

So, let us see if the adoption rate has changed over the last three years and debunk, or not, our stated myth; social media is NOT an essential tool for most healthcare organizations.

According to PatientGain, in the article titled, “How Much Do Doctors Spend On Advertising in USA?“, a significant amount of money is being spent by many physician practices, as it relates to on-line advertising.

As you might imagine, the advertising budget will vary based on several factors. For example, physician practices affiliated with brands or chains tend to spend more money, while independent practices spend less.

“The actual advertising budget for each clinic and practice is different. Some clinics/doctors are very aggressive and spend $1000 per day (or more) and some spend $1000 a month on advertising. We also have a few clinics/doctors who do not spend any money on online advertising, the doctors rely on referrals and very strong SEO rankings. This data refers to online advertising, not offline advertising spend.” (3)

The article also covers specialty specific information that you may find useful. If you’re needing information regarding on-line advertising spending, I would encourage you to review the PatientGain article.

Here’s another excerpt: “…we have a medical practice with 30+ locations, on average they spend – per location – $1600 per month on online mediums and $1000 per month for offline, traditional mediums. Another medical practice with 5 locations, spends $5400 per month per location, entirely on online strategy. They are no longer spending any advertising budget on offline, traditional advertising channels. [Underline mine for emphasis] (3)

What To Do

Because the founders of MedicalGPS saw the power of social media coming, long before it became hugely popular, MedicalGPS piloted M3-Advocate® way back in 2014.

With the huge success our clients enjoy after deploying M3-Advocate, many consider M3-Advocate the gold-standard, social media solution for healthcare organizations.

At MedicalGPS we couple M3-Advocate with M3-Patient Experience, which allows our clients the opportunity to nurture patient relationships, perform service recovery when needed, and build patient loyalty, first and foremost. Then, coupled with M3-Advocate, our clients have the best of both worlds: they gather intel about the patient experience in-house, first, using M3-Patient Experience, and seamlessly leverage those strong provider-patient relationships to enlist the patient’s support with promoting the practice.

Patients receiving a personal ‘thank you’ from their physician are not just willing, but are often eager to leave glowing social media reviews on sites such as Google, Facebook, and others.

Facebook or Not?

Speaking of Facebook, does your physician practice have a Facebook page, or even need a Facebook page?

According to ReferralMD, “As a medical professional, it’s important to use Facebook as a channel to interact with your patients but with the right conduct in mind.” (4)

Checkout the ReferralMD article, “5 Things Medical Professionals Should Consider Before Using Facebook” to learn more.

As more and more doctors are implementing digital technology into their practices, while at the same time social media continues to grow and grow, it’s understandable even older, senior-aged doctors are beginning to adopt digital technology.

“A study released this month shows that, over the last three years, the migration to digital health has picked up markedly. Unsurprisingly, younger doctors have led the charge, but more of their senior counterparts have converted as well. [underline and bold mine for emphasis]

“Social media, paid digital ads and websites/microsites came out ahead of paid traditional advertising in the overall channel mix last year. Also in the 2019 study, 93% of respondents said they increased digital HCP tactics like websites, digital ads, social media and mobile apps, versus 92% the year prior. Just 58% said they increased use of sales reps, versus 65% the year prior.” [underline mine for emphasis] (5)

Get On the Social Media Train…if you’re not already!

It makes sense that with more than 2 billion people using Facebook alone (6), the power to connect with huge numbers of people using social media is here.

“Health care systems must provide trusted information on immunization, flu virus, therapy, ebola, you name it.” A strong statement from Michael Yoder, social media consultant for Spectrum Health. (7)

In conclusion, the key word in our myth statement is ‘most’. Yes indeed, for most healthcare organizations to survive and thrive in today’s social media society, it is imperative to invest in, and stay on top of this rapidly changing world, a world which is immersed in social media.

Myth: Debunked. Social media IS essential for most healthcare organizations.

Please let us know if you have comments or questions, and subscribe to our Email Updates, so that you can be assured to receive Thinking Thursdays TIPs.

Thank you!

Jerry L. Stone
MedicalGPS, LLC

(1 ) Note: the referenced page has been retired since the original publication

(2 )

(3 )PatientGain, , “How Much Do Doctors Spend On Advertising in USA?

(4 )referral md, “5 Things Medical Professionals Should Consider Before Using Facebook

(5 )MM&M, “More doctors are adopting technology, and pharma marketers are changing tack to reach them”, by Marc Iskowitz

(6) More than half of humanity now uses social media — here’s what that means for brands

(7) How to Use Social Media in Healthcare: A Guide for Health Professionals, by Christina Newberry

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