Healthcare is a heavy regulated industry so many healthcare organizations avoid the use of social media. But patients, healthcare professionals and hospitals don’t.
Consumers use social media to research and to make health decisions. Patients consider themselves part of a tribe trusting others on social media more than other sources. Physicians use social media to network professionally with colleagues and peers and participate in forums, sharing medical knowledge within their community.
Social media is a platform where the public, patients and healthcare professionals can communicate about health issues and possibly improve health outcomes.
Here are 27 surprising stats how social media is changing healthcare.
90% of Millennials say they would trust medical information shared by others on their social media networks (source: Search Engine Watch)
81% of hospitals said service lines expressed an interest in participating in the hospital’s social media strategy (source: AFIA)
66% of doctors use social media for professional purposes, often preferring an open forum as opposed to a physician-only online community (source: EMR Thoughts)
60% of consumers say they trust doctors’ posts versus 36% who trust posts from a pharma firm (source: MDDI)
60% of physicians most popular activities on social are following what colleagues are sharing and discussing (source: Health Care Communication)
54% of patients are very comfortable with their providers seeking advice from online communities to better treat their conditions (source: Mediabistro)
50% of healthcare apps available to consumers can be downloaded for free and are produced by a variety of types of developer (source: IMS Institute)
49% of those polled expect to hear from their doctor when requesting an appointment or follow-up discussion via social media within a few hours. (source: HealthCare Finance News)
41% of people said social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or medical facility (source: Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group)
40% of people polled said information found on social media affects how someone coped with a chronic condition, their view of diet and exercise and their selection of a physician (source: HealthCare Finance News)
40% of consumers say that information found via social media affects the way they deal with their health.(source: Mediabistro)
31% of health care professionals use social media for professional networking (source: Mediabistro)
31% of health care organizations have specific social media guidelines in writing (source: Institute for Health)
30% of adults are likely to share information about their health on social media sites with other patients, 47% with doctors, 43% with hospitals, 38% with a health insurance company and 32% with a drug company. (source: Fluency Media)
28% of health-related conversations on Facebook are supporting health-related causes, followed by 27% of people commenting about health experiences or updates (source: Infographics Archive)
27% of patients comment or post status updates based on health-related experiences (source: MDDI)
The Mayo Clinic’s podcast listeners rose by 76,000 after the clinic started using social media (source: Infographics Archive)
Among the 165,000 health & medical apps now on the market, nearly two thirds are focused on general wellness issues like fitness, lifestyle & stress, and diet. The remainder is made up by apps focused on specific health conditions (9%), medication info & reminders (6%), and women’s health & pregnancy (7%). Mental health apps led among disease specific apps, followed by diabetes (source: iMedicalApps)
54% of people find a website from natural search results (source: Forrester)
33% choose the website in the #1 position on the first search page (source: Chitika)
32% find a website from social network sites (source: Forrester)
The numbers say high search ranking and strong social media presence give a website the best chances of being found.
But a website has an even better chance if social media and search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, the strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high search engine ranking, work together.
Here are 10 real ways social media participation raises search ranking.
KEYWORDS SET GOALS: To get to a top rank, you have to start with the keywords you want to rank highly for. No software platform is a substitute for your own judgement. But Google Webmaster Tools can tell you what keywords people use who come to your website. Google Keyword Planner can tell what is the monthly search volume for those keywords and social monitoring tools like Topsy, Social Searcher and Radian 6 can tell your what people say about these keywords and your brand. Together, they give you a road map for the keywords on social network sites and your website that are likely to attract the most attention and interest.
SOCIAL MEDIA IMPROVES LINK POTENTIAL FOR SEO: Social media activity helps increase awareness of a brand’s website content. This increased familiarity leads to links that signals to search engines your brand is an authority on your chosen topics. Tools like Alexa and Marketing Grader measure if social media is increasing links to your website.
SOCIAL SHARES ARE THE NEW WAY TO BUILD LINKS: Because links raise search rank through authority, they have been manipulated in the past through black hat techniques such as invisible text and creating “fake” websites. Google now discredits these tactics. Instead, they have chosen to look at links through social signals like blog mentions, Tweets, Facebook Posts and+1s as a non-manipulated way of getting links and demonstrating authority.
AUTHORSHIP SHOWS AUTHORITY: Google+ allows an author’s picture to appear next to search results of content they have created. With Google authorship, you can improve your search ranking and brand yourself as a thought leader in your field as well as add a face to your work.
GOOGLE FAVORS GOOGLE+: Google+ may not be a great social network but Google has given their Plus button a big advantage when it comes to their own ranking factors. If you have a Google+ button on your website, sharing on Google+ can have a big effect on search ranking.
SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILES RANK IN SEARCH ENGINES: While social shares may or may not affect a webpage’s position in search listings, your social profiles definitely influence search results. In fact, social media profiles are often among the top results in search listings for brand names. They can double, triple and quadruple the number of times your brand is seen on a search engine page.
SOCIAL NETWORKS ARE SEARCH ENGINES TOO: People don’t just go to Google or Bing to look up things. For example, YouTube is the #2 search engine. If your business is active on a particular social network, it’s likely people are going to find out about you there as well as search engines.
GOOGLE AND TWITTER EQUAL STRONGER SEARCH: In February, Google and Twitter penned a deal giving Google access to the “fire hose” of Twitter’s public data, generated by its 300 million users. Now, all of Twitter’s profile information, Tweets, and other public data are immediately accessed and available on Google in real time.
CONTENT LIVES IN TWO PLACES: Even with all these ways social media and SEO can work together, great content is still the primary ingredient that raises search ranking. Now, it can live and be distributed in two places – on your social networks and your website.
IF YOU CAN’T MEASURE IT, YOU CAN’T MANAGE IT: Now, with a plan and process in plan, a measurement plan can help measure your progress and optimize results. Look at goals and track progress through metrics like keyword rank, website visits, Likes, Re-Tweets, Shares, Comments, Views and conversions. Make the measurement that are most important your Key Performance Indicators.
SEO doesn’t have to be technical or handled by technical people. In fact, if you are consistently putting out strong keyword-based content in a variety of places, you should see the impact of social media and SEO working together in short order.
Did these ways convince you that social media participation raises search engine ranking? Does your business need help making it happen?
60% of Facebook fans and 79% of Twitter followers are more likely to recommend those brands since becoming a fan or follower.
51% of Facebook fans and 67% of Twitter followers are more likely to buy the brands they follow or are fans.
Facebook users who ‘like’ a brand’s Facebook page are 33% more likely to buy a product, and 92% more likely to recommend a product to others. (source: Chadwick Martin Bailey)
These facts suggest social media builds brand loyalty. But does it and how?
See for yourself. Here are 11 compelling case studies that prove social media builds brand loyalty.
CARS.COM. Encouraged rating, reviews and sharing (versus no ratings, reviews and sharing) and it showed that pages that had ratings and reviews had a 16% higher rate of conversion and a 100% higher rate of traffic through to dealer’s sites.
DOVE: As women love to sing in shower, Dove launched a campaign titled “Showeroke”. The campaign “Showeroke”was designed to see the influence of music in the lives of younger women. And the brand preference for Dove because they connected with this value. Videos were posted on YouTube. Dove created a microsite called the “Shower Remixer” where users customized their shower experience selecting different fixtures, floor designs, shelves and window scenes and as they remixed the shower experience. The music changed along with it. Dove Bar annual penetration went up from 13.7% to 18.4%. Dove Body wash loyalty went up from 24% to 27.6%.
FOLICA: A well-known retailer of health and beauty products, noticed they had many referrals to their website, but no way of tracking and identifying these referrals. By engaging their customers and encouraging them to share the secrets of great hair by Facebook, Twitter, email and personalized URL’s. There was a reward for both the referrer and the referee. Each party would receive $10. After 30 days of running the new Social Referral Program 6,000 brand advocates were identified. The average number of shares per advocate was four. 21,000 shares had been generated via Facebook, Twitter and email and a 16% conversion rate was driven by the program.
GENERAL MILLS: on French Toast Crunch, wanted to get the brand into the hands of the company’s best and most socially connected consumers. A tweet was sent from the French Toast Crunch brand, basically saying, “Hey, who wants this?” The brand’s Twitter followers were urged to retweet to their followers and use the hashtags #sample or #MoreFTC to receive a free sample of French Toast Crunch in the mail. The popup window collected an email address and a physical address for delivery of the cereal. Once that social media attention died down, a follow-up email was also sent to the freebie recipients, giving them a coupon for 50 cents off a box of French Toast Crunch in-store as a reward for their social media engagement. Nearly 40% of those who received the 50-cent-off coupon opened the email. About 20% of those who received the email redeemed the coupon, 4X higher than the industry norm.
J. HILBURN: A retail, apparel brand for men was receiving many referrals from existing satisfied customers. J. Hilburn wanted to identify their most valuable customers and reward them for their ‘word of mouth’ recommendations. By offering customers $50 for each friend referred and encouraging the advocates to share the offer using social media, they identified and rewarded brand advocates. Any referred customer who spent over $100 received a $50 discount on their purchase. Once again, a two sided offer for the referrer and the referee. After 45 days, 1,000 customers had made referrals. Averaging 12 shares per advocate, the referral program produced 10,000 social shares via Facebook, Twitter and email. The bottom line result was 600 transactions which created over $250,000 in sales.
SENDGRID: An email delivery and transactional service company, created an offer for existing customers which could be shared socially. Customers received $20 cash and the referred customer would also receive a 25% discount on their first three months of service. By giving the existing customer a gift and the new customer a discount, a “Captive Offer” had been created. The share could be made using email, Facebook or Twitter. SendGrid achieved a 111% return on investment after the first six months of running the newly implemented referral program.
SEPHORA: Tiers are one of the most effective ways a loyalty program can motivate a desired behavior. The tiers that Sephora has set ($350 for VIB and $1,000 for Rouge) have effectively segmented shoppers. The Rouge status is tough to reach, but obtainable, which leads to the most effective form of motivation. The tier rewards like exclusive events, access to the beauty studio, and early access to products and sales align perfectly with what Sephora stands for. These rewards create a sense of luxury and assign an exclusive status to members in the upper tiers. The rewards are announced on Sephora’s social media sites to build greater brand loyalty and let their already loyal customer know of special events and offers.
STARBUCKS: Since 2008, MyStarbuckIdea.com has been advocate-driven idea tank where Starbucks drinkers submit ideas for new products and coffee concoctions. It has worked as a hub for all Starbucks customers to share all their ideas, suggestion and even their frustration. “We used to launch a new product and it cost millions of dollars. Now, when we launch a new product, we already have millions of fans,” say Chris Bruzzo, Vice President Brand, Content and Online at Starbucks.
SUBWAY: Sponsored the “Slim Down Challenge,” a live speaking event consisting of some of America’s hottest speakers and celebrities. Its mission was to travel from city to city across America delivering powerhouse information that challenged your mind, heart, and waistline. They used social technologies and promotion apps to raise awareness of the Slim Down Challenge and recruit speakers. The strategy included a social competition. This was part of a full marketing strategy for the campaign. They found that 71% of site traffic that went to the registration page, came directly from Facebook.
TREK: Offered customers a Trek Care loyalty and warranty package when they buy a new Trek bike, but cyclists can take coverage to the next level by purchasing the Trek Care Plus package. Trek used social media giving away free repairs for a widely read post to make customers aware of the Trek Care Plus Package. By tying in benefits with social media usage, Trek was at the forefront of consumers’ minds.
US AUTO PARTS: Decided to shift marketing investment from customer acquisition to customer retention for its loyalty program, APW Rewards. Working with 500friends’ customer success team, U.S. Auto Parts began to leverage capabilities such as increased rewards for high-margin products, personalized post-purchase enrollment offers, a status tier, and triggered email campaigns based off of a person’s repurchase history to maximize customer lifetime value. U.S. Auto parts increased its spend per member by 20%, its repurchase rate by 14%, and its enrollment rate by 45% after updating the loyalty program of its flagship brand,
Do these case studies convince use social media builds brand loyalty? Is one your favorite? Are you using social media to build brand loyalty for your business?
50% of sales go the first salesperson to contact a prospect (source: InsidesSales.com).
Social Selling is the use of social media to interact directly with prospects, answer questions and offer thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy. Social selling is not hard selling. In fact, it’s the opposite.
Cold Calling is the solicitation of business from potential customers who have had no prior contact with the salesperson conducting the call.
You might say one is yesterday’s way of selling and the other is today’s.
Where is it going in the future?
Why has it changed?
Which means is most likely to get to the prospect first?
Here are 37 facts on the future of social selling vs. cold calling.
Less than 1% of cold calls lead to a sale (source: DSWA)
These facts say we spend more time on search engines and social networks seeking out, researching and connecting with products we’re going to buy and the people who we want do to do business than we do on our phones. As a result, more of us believe we don’t need to speak to a salesperson until we are further along in the buying process.
When that time comes to speak to someone, the person who is most relevant and top of mind is more likely to be the contact that gets the business. And it’s more likely that person is going to be found through an association established on the internet and social media than it is a cold call.
And that’s now. So the trend is only going to move more in that direction for the future.
Why? What does Walmart know that the rest of us can learn?
Here are 10 lessons on Walmart’s social media strategy for every business.
START WITH A GOAL: Walmart’s goal for social media is to ensure that customers and potential customers understand that the discount store has the lowest prices in the industry and that Walmart’s mission is to help them save money so they can live better lives. That’s according to Chad Mitchell, Senior Director of Digital Communication. Because the company is often a target for controversial press, a second objective is to use social media to protect, defend and enhance Walmart’s reputation.
TRAIN EMPLOYEES: The company trains it’s employees on its mission. They encourage storytelling. to solidify Walmart’s brand and the values its founder established more than 50 years ago.
ESTABLISH GUIDELINES: There are guidelines on engagement, location-based promotions for associates and “Walmart Moms” who post or publish.
HAVE A PURPOSE FOR EACH SOCIAL NETWORK: Walmart’s role for Twitter is to ask very basic questions of its users: “What’s happening?” By having a number of Twitter accounts, Walmart aims to provide information on Walmart’s major activities and initiatives – from sustainability to diversity, from healthier foods to charitable giving. Walmart uses Facebook to communicate specific values that are occurring every day at both the national level and in each of its 3,500-plus stores.
SEGMENT BY AUDIENCE INTERESTS: The company has Twitter handles with @WalmartHub being the “parent” handle that only Re-tweets the best performing content from the other handles, The other accounts feature the following topics:
USE SOCIAL MEDIA NATIONALLY AND LOCALLY: On Facebook, Walmart ambitious My Local Walmart program establishes individual Facebook fan pages for its 3,500-plus stores, It also involves a Facebook App that stores can use to communicate sales, specials and other updates with fans in their local area. But, local stores haven’t been using their pages that effectively. There is learning and improvements Walmart has to make as does any business that use social media so broadly.
MAKE YOUR BLOG A COMMUNITY AND KEEP IT REAL: “Walmart Moms” started in the late 2000’s, They’ve always been real moms who are bloggers. Their role is simply to represent the voice of all moms; to tell and help others understand the daily challenge and triumphs of Moms. Participation in “Walmart Moms” is voluntary.
ENGAGE FREQUENTLY: On any given day, Walmart posts on Facebook between two and five updates, including weekends, and most achieve an impressive number of responses from its Fans. Most of its posts achieve tens of thousands of Likes and hundreds of comments, with pictures of pets and children proving to be particularly popular. Walmart adds about 9,000,000 new Likes every 6 months.
LISTEN TO THE DATA: WalmartLabs uses such spikes in social network chatter to predict demand for out-of-the-ordinary products, In 2011, their team correctly anticipated heightened customer interest in cake-pop makers based on social media conversations on Facebook and Twitter. A few months later, it noticed growing interest in electric juicers, linked in part to the popularity of the juice-crazy documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. The team sends these data to Walmart’s buyers, who then use it to make their purchasing decisions.
Your business is not likely to be the scale of Walmart but these lessons should give ideas on areas you should be thinking about. Are there lessons from Walmart’s social media strategy that apply to your business? Which ones are the most relevant?