21ST CENTURY TOOLS FOR PATIENT ACQUISITION AND REFERRALS: SOCIAL MEDIA AND BLOGGING

Social media and blogging offer revolutionary ways to acquire quality patients, obtain referrals and optimize your practice website today. Social media and blogging have become increasingly popular as consumer demand for information in these forms has grown in great numbers over the past several years. Not to be confused with providing a diagnosis or treatment plan, social media and blogging communications appear to be in response to more than 145 million consumers using the Internet that seek health care information annually, according to Manhattan Research.

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The Outlook

  • Jupiter Research reported that 63% of consumers indicate they would switch their provider if they found credible content online, e-mail communication capability, and online scheduling.
  • Across a sample of 10 global markets, Social Networks and Blogs are the top online destination in each country, accounting for the majority of time spent online and reaching at least 60 percent of active Internet users, according to a Nielsen Social Media Report 2011.
  • Social Media Sites and Blogs reach 80% of all U.S. internet users, according to Mind Jumper.
  • 850 million people on Facebook worldwide and Americans spend more time on Facebook than any other website, according to a Nielsen Social Media Report 2011.
  • An average Facebook user has 130 friends and likes 80 pages, making every “like” that they make to your page equate to exposure with each of their average 130 friends as this shows up on all friends’ pages. Plus, 56% of consumers say that they are more likely recommend a “brand” after becoming a fan, according to Mind Jumper.
  • 34% of marketers have generated leads using Twitter and     55% of Twitter users accessed the platform via their mobile phone in 2012, according to Mind Jumper.
  • Pinterest hit 10 million U.S. monthly unique visitors faster than any independent site in history, according to Pintrest.com.
  • Over 80 percent of the pins on Pintrest are repins from their Pintrest friend network, according to Media Bitsro.
  • The Google +1 button is used 5 billion times per day, according to Media Bistro.
  • Over 60 million U.S. adults are Health 2.0 consumers – reporting to use health blogs, online support groups, prescription rating sites, and other health-related social media applications, according to Manhattan Research.

Whether it’s a mobile website, social media outlet, social network or a blog, it appears that nothing has changed in the past ten years when it comes to the public demand for credible information online and the potential power of the extension of the word of mouth referral arm through social networks, social media and blogs. Interactive Internet platforms offer anywhere, anytime information and this is important for consumers today. Interactive platforms allow for content to be viewed by people interested in your practice’s services on the Internet, tablets, phones, and any other device with the inclusion of audios, videos, website links and support forum access. People can even take surveys, make appointments, and process product orders through links provided in the comments section of Facebook, Twitter and blog posts. In some cases, the users can remain anonymous at different levels which promote deeper, genuine stories for deeper connections and deeper relationships.   Easy access offers convenience and this is what consumers want today more than ever before. Just as the public demand for medical information has pushed the field to new heights; equally so has the public demand for Internet information to make well educated decisions in order to arrive at the practice for streamlined communication.


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