Is Social Media an Effective Healthcare Marketing Tool?

Anna Webster, for HealthLeaders Media , May 11, 2011

"Widespread market awareness of monitoring tools is a long way off," survey researchers write. "And even the best of tools have difficulty capturing private conversations using these sites…No matter what model policy a workshop designed, procedures for enforcing the policy were difficult to identify."

This is scary. Healthcare marketers need to develop a social media policy that works for them. Hopefully the two stories of Emory Healthcare and Westerly Hospital have provided a few lessons learned.

My advice? Looks like staff education plays a huge role in the effective use of social media. Are they prepared to address emergency situations via Twitter? Do they know what information violates HIPAA?

It's about time for some heavier regulation on social media use. One fact is certain: Creating a strong social media policy and sticking to it is easier said than done.

For a checklist regarding social media policies for your organization, click here.

Questions? Comments? Story ideas? Anna Webster, Online Content Coordinator for HealthLeaders Media, can be reached at
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8 comments on "Is Social Media an Effective Healthcare Marketing Tool?"

Isabel McCan (6/27/2012 at 4:10 PM)
Although there is no cut and dry way to gauge the amount of revenue that a social media marketing campaign can bring to a health or wellness company, social media is still an undoubtedly useful tool for health professionals. Not only can health practices garner new potential customers by spreading word about their business across the many platforms of the social media circuit, they can also keep these new fans or followers up-to-date about any events, news, or anything interesting and relevant to their business. By using well thought-out social media tactics like these, it is much easier to cultivate customer loyalty. Also, health companies can not only use social media to reach out to existing and potential patients, but they can also find other like-minded professionals with whom they can connect and collaborate with. So despite the ethical lines that health practices must be careful not to cross while creating content online, there are still many ways that social media can prove fruitful for a health practice. Here is an article we posted on our site that give six (of the many) reasons why health practices should engage in social media:

Erick Kinuthia (3/21/2012 at 1:34 AM)
In this current world and economy if a doctor is not in the social media bandwagon is missing a lot on potential patients. Erick Kinuthia Team MDwebpro

Brandon (10/29/2011 at 3:02 PM)
Emily, I am pretty sure that the second paragraph states the stance the article takes on the effectiveness of advertising through social media.




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