Health care is a confusing and high-pressure topic these days. In this time of uncertainty, health care companies have a great opportunity to be their members’ best ally and advocate to help them navigate these ever-changing waters.
According to a study done by Mediabistro, more than 40 percent of health care consumers say that the information they find on social media affects the way they deal with their health. And consumers are turning to the web to conduct research about their overall well-being. However, it is crucial for plans to understand that not all information is created equal. Social media provides the forum for many thoughts and opinions, but with no gatekeepers it is hard to tell what is true and what is false.
This trend provides health plans a real opportunity to connect and build trust with plan members. From providing valuable plan information and educating the public on health issues, to answering concerned customers, the opportunity to positively impact current and prospective members could result in referrals and improved brand sentiment.
For traditional direct response marketers, social media value as it pertains to health care cannot always be measured like a direct mail campaign or a DRTV ad. The value of social media is the opportunity to engage consumers in a media space that they are comfortable using and are frequently on. By becoming a valuable and trusted source of information, you will secure a competitive advantage during a time when value and trust are hard to come by online. It’s important to measure your campaign against industry standards such as Facebook likes, but you should also look at engagement and awareness to gauge how your fan base is feeling about the content you’re providing. Good consumer sentiment ratings and positive engagement will raise your overall awareness within the platform and the community you’re trying to reach.
Some health care professionals do not use social media because of HIPAA concerns. While HIPAA sets guidelines to protect health care information, there are many ways to help avoid violations in social media by:
- Avoiding any discussion with patients on personal matters online and directing them immediately to customer service
- Making sure there are clear social media policies in place for all employees
- Directing all medicine & health questions to an approved resource off of social media Social media can serve as a great resource for your consumer base and provide a two-way dialogue between you and your customer.
Social media can help you become a go-to source of information, and not just a claim payer or insurance, at times when consumers are trying to navigate an ever-changing and quite frequently confusing industry.