As of January 2014, The Pew Research Center calculated that 74% of all adults who were active online used social networking sites*. In the realm of healthcare, consumers are taking to Google and crowd-source review websites, such as Yelp, to learn about healthcare providers and find hospitals in their area. Don’t shy away from a perfect opportunity to connect with your patients. Remember, having a strong online presence is crucial for growth in the modern healthcare world.

A good social media presence generates brand knowledge and can be used to gauge patient satisfaction and boost patient loyalty. Check up on your patients through Twitter, share stories on Facebook, and give helpful tips on LinkedIn. Let your community know you’re listening. An online forum or blog is also a great space for your customers to discuss concerns or highlight positive feedback.

Don’t let your social media accounts sit in silence. Whether you need to start a new strategy or build on your existing social media plan. Here a few questions to ask?

Do you keep your social media accounts up-to-date?

Is your website interactive?

Do you publish blog posts or thought-pieces from your employees?

1. Updating and interacting with your patients and potential customers on Twitter and Facebook is great way to build a positive brand image and foster growth for your organization. Social media is also a great way to get information to your clients fast.

2. Putting a “face to the name” will help you build trust and loyalty with your patients and customers. Producing engaging content can help drive traffic and boost your brand awareness.

Need some more convincing that social media is worth your time? Take a look at the following infographics for more information on the budding relationship between social media and the healthcare industry. Infographics: “Rising Use of Social Media in Healthcare” and “Healthcare and Social Media.” These illustrate how both patients and providers are looking to the digital world with their healthcare concerns and needs. These helpful infographics even delve into statistics about our rising smartphone usage and general gadget ownership over time. So, as patients remain connected to the online world, don’t underestimate the value of building healthy online communities through social media. That being said, it’s always important have a good social media policy in place and make sure you always comply and follow procedure. Sometime you might not even know you breaking procedure with certain social media posts. Check out this article on how you might unwittingly be making a HIPAA violation, there are some social media related examples.

The article “24 Outstanding Statistics & Figures on How Social Media has Impacted the Health Care Industry” by Referal MD is a great reference for statistics and facts about social media and healthcare. For example: Did you that “60% of doctors say social media improves the quality of care delivered to patients?”

Let us know what you think: Do you think healthcare organizations should use social media to connect with patients and increase quality of care?