This May, Pew Internet research released an engaging report about social media and healthcare at http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Social-Life-of-Health-Info/Summary-of-Findings.aspx.
The report is short, precise and well worth its own read. Rather than recap it here, I’d like to add a few thoughts based on our healthcare public relations practice.
Health public relations impact
Forecasters suspect, and we agree, that organizing peer groups around healthcare issues will be an online phenomenon that only grows in the coming years. From Komen Foundation, which organizes people on and offline around breast cancer, to patients who simply strongly advocate for what they’ve learned in their journey through the healthcare system. Doctor reviews and ratings are becoming more common. While its still an early-majority, we can see that healthcare marketers, healthcare public relations professionals, and healthcare social media advocates will lead the pack by working with (not against) the habits of people who already seek to engage online with healthcare communities of interest.
A prescription for healthcare marketers and social media professionals
- Find which online communities are addressing healthcare
- Engage and enter the conversation
- If you are a healthcare company, consider “curating” the group around your concerns
- Engage medical professionals and patients together
- Provide information, opportunities to share information, and consider events in conjunction with online marketing