Everyone you know has a social media profile: Your friends, your grandma, even your dog has a social following. But what about your medical practice? Social media has changed the marketing landscape. With more people taking to the Internet to search for answers to their medical questions than people who actually visit a doctor, can you afford to not have a presence online? Here are 10 statistics that say “no.”

#1: More than 40 percent of consumers say that information found via social media affects the way they deal with their health. (source: Mediabistro)

As a healthcare professional, you have an obligation to create educational content to inform your audience about health-related issues. As great as social media tools can be, there is a lot of misinformation being shared. This is your opportunity to become an accurate source for information.

#2: Ninety percent of millennials say they trust medical information shared by others on social media. (source: Search Engine Watch)

Millennials dominate the social media landscape. This presents a unique opportunity to connect with this giant demographic, bestowing your medical expertise. Keep in mind that 80 percent of millennials are willing to share their medical information and experiences online. (That was a bonus stat, by the way. You’re welcome.) As a medical practice/professional, it is imperative you share accurate information to assist your audience.

#3: Forty-one percent of people said social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or medical practice. (source: Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group)

Consumers use social media to discuss just about everything. This includes their health and how they have interacted with medical practices/professionals in the past. It is important to know that social media is a vehicle for anyone, any patient, to have their voice heard; whether they praise you with positive comments, or take a more negative approach.

#4: Twenty-seven percent of patients comment or post status updates based on their health-related updates. (source: MDDI)

This statistic shows patients are willing to comment on their experiences with medical practices/professionals. It is vital to interact with your patients on your social media pages in an effort to ensure they are getting the greatest continuous care possible.

#5: Thirty-three percent of U.S. consumers use social media for healthcare information. (source: Search Engine Watch)

If one-third of the U.S. population is using social medial to find medical information, research and share their symptoms while offering their opinions of doctors, treatments, and health plans, you should take notice. It is critical to become part of the conversation so that you can engage patients and potential patients.

#6: Sixty percent of doctors say social media improve the quality of care delivered to patients. (source: Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group)

This shows doctors believe that transparency and authenticity brought by social media improves the quality of care provided to patients. Medical communities online and the ability to interact with patients in real-time help spur the improving medical landscape amongst social pages.

#7: YouTube traffic to hospital sites increases 119 percent year over year. (source: Google’s Think Insights)

Video marketing has become a go-to across all social media channels and is an easily digestible form of content. Video effectively gets your message across and shares a human element while showcasing your facility and your staff. It is essential that video is a part of your website and your social media presence for SEO and engagement purposes.

#8: Forty-nine percent of people expect to hear from their doctor within a few hours when requesting an appointment or a follow-up discussion via social media. (source: Healthcare Finance)

Engaging with your audience on social media used to be a privilege for your audience. Now it’s mandatory if you want to be a trusted and engaging source of information. The human element is brought in by this statistic. If you ask a question, don’t you expect an answer in a respectable amount of time? Yes, you do. Your social media audience is no different.

#9: Forty percent of people said information found on social media affects how they, or someone they know, have coped with a chronic condition, viewed their diet and exercise, and chosen a physician. (source: Healthcare Finance)

It is almost impossible to go on a social media channel and not see the opinions of the masses. Opinions and viewpoints of those in our social circle and the online community are continuously influencing our decisions. From a pair of Nike sneakers to the latest healthcare trends and techniques, social media pages have an impact on how we consume products and services.

#10: Twenty-two percent of parents seek medical answers on social media. (source: Mashable)

Parents are often concerned about the well-being of their children…but you probably already knew that. The internet has changed the way we consume content, but more than that, parents often source more information for their children’s health online and on social media than ever before.

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