As marketing experts, we understand and accept that we must have a social media presence in order to build our brand awareness. However, we are constantly provided with examples of how strong of an impact social media can have on our overall perceptions of brands and their credibility from a consumer level. A new survey completed by YouGov Healthcare, a hospital market research firm, is showing how detrimental it is for hospitals to NOT have a social media presence.
Social Media and Credibility
Facebook and Twitter elicit an inherent trust and credibility factor for consumers. Brands need to nurture this trust for many reasons: to build brand awareness, to engage with their customers, to increase brand advocates, to cultivate relationships, and, according to this recent study, to compete with other "cutting edge" players.
Social Media and Hospitals
YouGov Healthcare conducted a survey to evaluate how patients respond to a social media presence at/for a medical facility. Over 55 percent of consumers said that decision to receive treatment at that facility would be strongly affected by that hospital’s social media connections. An astounding 81 percent of healthcare consumers consider a hospital with an active online presence to be more "cutting edge" and arguably, more trust worthy.
What’s amazing about this survey is the association between credibility, trust, and social media. There are few industries in this world that should rank higher than hospitals on the trust scale. Their profession is to ensure our lives in emergency situations, and it is incredibly eye opening that consumers are basing brand choice off of social media influences.
The survey summarizes by stating that 25 percent of the healthcare consumers admit they will likely connect with hospitals through social networking tools in the future. This is a gracious opportunity that hospitals should make sure to take advantage of. The best thing they could do isdeveloping social media marketing plans and integrating those plans with their current advertising and marketing strategies.
The demographics within this survey were women between the ages of 36 and 64 years old. These are the respondents who place a hospital’s credibility on aspects of their social media presence. Social media has now branched beyond young college students and now serves as outlets of information for credible organizations. Hospitals need to understand this target audience in order to have an effective marketing campaign aimed at building brand awareness through Face book and Twitter. Women are often the medical decision makers for most households, and one of the fastest growing demographics on Facebook and Twitter, making them a very beneficial demographic to pursue.