Like it or not, social media is here to stay.
It’s where you can find your friends, where your family is, and, you guessed it, where your current and potential patients are. Use of social networking sites by American adults has skyrocketed in the last twelve years from 5% of adults in 2005 to 65% of all adults in 2017.
Did you know that social media now drives almost one-third of referral traffic? And that number is on the rise. In today’s digital age, savvy businesses know all too well that to survive and to thrive, they must go where their customers are. The same holds true for your medical practice: either you’re on social media, or you’re scrambling to figure out how to catch up.
But that’s not all.
How medical practices market on social media is evolving all the time. If you’re not on the pulse of the most cutting-edge ways to take advantage of social media, you can be sure your competitor down the street will be.
Social media and how people use it are changing faster than most of us can keep up with. Social media technology is evolving at breakneck speed and consumers along with it.
The fact is that the competition for people’s time and attention on social media is more intense than ever. In today’s digital social media landscape, you not only need to be on social media, you need to be IN social media.
The Rise of Social Media Customer Care
Being in social media, however, means more than you might think. Insight Marketing Group President, Jennifer Thompson, recently published an article on LinkedIn where she explained the critical role that social media customer service now plays in the private as well as the public realm.
Social media is now the go-to choice for consumers (and patients) who count on immediate 24-hour feedback, search out referrals from their networks, share their experience (both fabulous and terrible), and interact with businesses.
Social media now trumps other channels for customer service to the tune of:
- 34.5% of consumers prefer social media
- 24.7% prefer website/live chat
- 19.4% prefer email
- 16.1% still prefer to call in via phone
Social media customer service is expanding fast, like the rising tide of a tsunami. Over 80% of companies now use social media as part of their complete customer relationship management program.
With increasing numbers of patients flocking to social media to vent their complaints, it’s now vital for your practice to be able to transform potential negative customer service interactions into positives for future patients.
And there’s still more to the social media story…
Apps Are a Patient’s Best Friend
Since the release of the iPhone a decade ago, social messaging applications have been growing at a torrid pace, including 44% growth since 2015. And the time people are spending on social messaging apps is increasing by 69% year after year. Facebook Messenger is the most popular messaging app worldwide, followed by Skype, Twitter, and WhatsApp.
What’s really intriguing is that the four leading messaging apps (Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, and Viber) top the biggest social networking applications (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+) in active monthly users.
The takeaway: if more and more clients and customers are using messaging apps, businesses and their brands need to be there.
What Does It All Mean for You and Your Practice?
The healthcare industry has been slow to embrace social media, but is beginning to see the light. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are where your patients spend a LOT of their time. You could call it their virtual home away from home.
Medical practice managers need to find new, efficient, and innovative ways to engage their patients on social media and enhance the customer experience. It’s about creating an ongoing dialogue with patients, before, during, and well after their appointments. Ongoing patient-first social media engagement is the future for marketing your medical practice.
And the future is now.
Ultimately, social media is more than just a place to share personal pictures, a delicious recipe, or a heated political conversation with your cousin. It has become a potent way for medical practices to interact with their patients on a more personal level and to bring patient customer service to a whole new level.