A recent survey found that more than 40 percent of consumers took information gathered from social media into consideration when making decisions about their healthcare—with twice as many people under the age of 30 using social media for health-related discussions.
Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others provide instant, universal access to a megaphone that can reach as many as two billion people in an instant.
There are few things more personal than someone’s healthcare experience or that of their child, so healthcare providers need to leverage social media to make connections with patients and parents before they are in need of medical attention.
A prime example of a healthcare practice fostering positive social media relationships is PM Pediatrics, a specialized urgent care for children and young adults. Senior Medical Advisor Dr. Christina Johns, one of the group’s pediatric emergency specialists, is the growing network’s public voice on social media. Through her focus on messaging to parents (like herself), she has created an extension of the PM Pediatrics brand on which she shares a combination of original content and published articles on everything from packing a school lunch to how to talk about “the birds and the bees.”
The Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts are all managed by Dr. Christina, with creative input from a variety of sources. The posts personalize the PM Pediatrics brand, adding a human touch to the practices that span four states and serve a variety of local communities.
“I see a lot of patients in my practice, and social media is an extension of my work helping children, just in a different format,” says Dr. Christina. “When you’re on TV or in the newspapers, you can reach a ton of people in a very short period of time, and potentially have a large impact on child health. Social media is similar, but without the barriers to accessing a TV show or a daily newspaper. You can turn it on whenever you want. It’s a fun extension of bedside clinical medicine.”
While the posts focus mainly on tips and information sharing, the content also promotes the unique benefits of choosing PM Pediatrics: The offices are built with child patients in mind, from the size of the examination tables and fun themes—including medieval castles, jungle safari, western and more—to the medical staff’s specialized pediatric emergency training. These posts successfully convey the approachable and friendly atmosphere of every PM Pediatrics office, which helps parents feel comfortable before they even arrive—and that can make all the difference when they choose medical care for their child.
Social media has built-in benefits for any brand—except for the time invested in creating the content, social media is free, always on and accessible, and easy to update. The most successful brands are those that pay close attention to posts and questions, and respond in a timely manner when necessary.
Most likely, the majority of people—and children in particular—will need access to emergency healthcare at some point. Social media is proving to be an effective way for healthcare providers to connect with future patients and build the foundation of long-lasting relationships.