One way for physicians and health care organizations to integrate social media into their marketing plans is by learning from others.
Mayo Clinic started its social media presence in 2005 with its first podcast, subsequently incorporated Facebook and YouTube, and launched its Twitter page in 2008. Mayo Clinic also launched a Social Media Center in 2010. By training other groups, Mayo Clinic hopes to bridge the gap between extensive use of the various digital channels by patients, and tepid use by providers.
Henry Ford has been using live Twitter feeds for years to present new surgical techniques to physicians. Similarly, YouTube videos by medical device users and manufacturers provide step-by-step instructions on the use of equipment and assistance with procedures.
The Inova Health System designed a FitForFifty program to encourage fitness for the 50+ population. It also created a mobile app location guide to local farmers' markets to enhance not only healthy but also local eating.
Pinterest allows users to create the equivalent of online bulletin boards, aggregating content from different parts of the web. For example, a health care organization interested in providing information on breast feeding could "pin" resources from the La Leche League or the American Academy of Pediatrics website, and YouTube videos of lactation specialists. Even if you do not create the bulletin board, your content might be "pinned" to someone else's, drawing visitors to your website and the services you provide.
Bottom line: Using social media will help you "touch" your patients more often, creating deeper, longer lasting relationships.