Social Media Marketing a Differentiator in the Healthcare Industry

With competition in the healthcare industry ever increasing, more and more hospitals are responding by stepping up their marketing efforts. As a result, many of these hospitals undergo intensive re-branding processes and ad campaigns in order to differentiate themselves from competition and to overall increase market share.Mayo Clinic Care Pages

When executed properly, the right campaign with the right media placement can yield results and place a hospital at top-of-mind. However, I can’t help but to think that the majority of these efforts get lost in the mix. Caring. Quality. Compassion. These are all great messages that many hospitals are conveying – but there is an obvious need for a stronger differentiator.

Because of this, I can’t help but to think that for hospitals willing to take the risk – social media could become this differentiator. After all, blogs, social networks, and other social media tools could provide new ways for hospitals to extend and grow relationships with their patients.

The Mayo Clinic is one such hospital willing to take the risk. By partnering with CarePages, they are attempting to tie their patients into this social network of patients struggling with long term illnesses. This opens a new space for patients to share their struggle, discuss it with others, and a place for friends and family to be updated or share encouraging words. But more than any of its applications, it’s an extension of the support the clinic currently gives, it is a reflection that the hospital cares about the physical and emotional healing of its patients.

If implemented correctly, social media applications such as this could impact a hospital in a big way. Patients could become more deeply rooted and deeply connected to each other and to the hospital. The advertising message of “Caring” or “Compassion” would be further reinforced.

Unfortunately, I realize that social media in most of the healthcare industry will face large barriers in implementation. Hospitals are typically slow-adopters. Laws like HIPAA surrounding the disclosure of information have made many hospitals reluctant to delve into uncharted territory.

So while it will be a long time coming for the rest, those who are willing to take the plunge first like the Mayo Clinic will surely reap the benefits of this implementation.

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