When you are ready to reach out using social media, don’t limit your organization to just Facebook or Twitter. Extend your reach by developing an app, creating educational videos or creating a weekly podcast. Smart phone owners enjoy apps and 19 percent have at least one health-related app on their cell phone. Popular topics include diet, exercise, and weight loss. Create an app around your health care facility’s specialty. Videos hosted on YouTube also provide a popular way to engage and educate the public. Conversion from video to website visits continues to grow. YouTube videos leading to hospital website site visits increased 119 percent year-over-year. Popular video topics include patient stories and interviews. Produce a podcast. The Mayo Clinic’s podcast has more than 76,000 listeners. A podcast is simply a radio show online that is disseminated via an audio file. The most common file type is the .mp3. Users listen to the downloaded broadcast on their computer or mobile device, such as an iPod. Cross promote your social media accounts with your app, videos, or podcasts for best results.
The transparency and immediacy of social media appeal to both doctors and patients. Two thirds of doctors use social media for professional communications instead of physician-only online communities. Similarly, 73 percent of the public turns to social media or online sources for health care information. For 60 percent of the physicians using social media, the most popular activity is reading colleagues’ posts and discussions. The “doctor to doctor” exchange in an open forum allows patients an insider look at emerging treatments and the opportunity to ask questions of the other doctors, as well. Social media extends and develops the “doctor patient” relationship and “patient to patient” relationship in a revolutionary manner that creates improved patient outcomes. Infographic by Canadian Pharmacies Online.