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Social Health Check #5

Brought to you by our New York, London and Hong Kong Social@Ogilvy teams, this is our monthly snapshot of the latest news and trends in healthcare social media. The aim is to inspire ideas, discussion and fresh thinking in this challenging yet ever exciting field.

YouTube vs. Twitter

A recent survey of healthcare communicators found that more consider YouTube as an acceptable medium for their brands (68%) than Twitter (42%). The authors of the study, which was published in the most recent Journal of Communication in Health Care, suggest marketers are less comfortable using more conversational platforms (like Twitter) because clear FDA guidance on the use of social media is lacking. In fact, the same survey found that just 8 percent said the FDA was doing an adequate job managing the use of social media. Although the FDA is under pressure to issue guidelines by July 2014, it’s anybody’s guess if they actually will. In the meantime, many hospitals, drug companies and health systems have issued their own internal policies. SocialMediaGovernance.com has compiled some guidelines.

LinkedIn for healthcare professionals

LinkedIn is a platform that has seen a boom in the B2B space, and with people using the platform increasingly for education and self-improvement; it is an environment that has much potential for marketing to healthcare professionals.

LinkedIn Groups provide an opportunity to unite healthcare professionals to share ideas, debate, learn and make connections – especially as professionals are navigating the platform to talk shop.

GE is often seen as a leader in using new platforms or those platforms in evolution to build meaningful relationships with their customers and influencers, and they have been making great steps to use LinkedIn groups effectively.

This presents a great opportunity for healthcare marketers to take the first step into this environment and build a community of engaged HCPs who want to join in the professional conversation.

GPs in the UK using social

The Royal College of General Practitioners has issued the first Social Media Highway Code; guidelines to assist GPs in using social media for personal and professional purposes.  It contains 10 tips which aim to encourage and reassure older doctors taking the first steps in using social media, and to advise younger doctors, who have been active in using social media in their personal lives, how to maintain professional standards.  Refreshingly, tip number 10 is “Test out Innovative Ideas, Learn from Mistakes and Have Fun!” This is part of a wider move within the UK National Health Service to embrace social media, including a weekly Tweetchat discussing how the NHS can use social media to benefit patients and staff (#nhssm).

Localizing digital health for China

According to research, China became the world’s third-largest pharmaceutical market in 2010. Sales of medicines are expected to reach $110 billion dollars (86 billion euros) by 2015. There are clear opportunities for healthcare companies to engage and educate consumers on new treatments available to them, but they need to be reached where the locals are frequenting, including native Chinese social channels like Sina Weibo.

Sina Weibo is a Chinese micro blogging site with similar features to the popular U.S. social networking platform Twitter. We’ve seen some companies like GE Healthcare use Sina Weibo for the global #GetFit cancer awareness campaign along with consumer good brands like McDonald’s and Dove. However, those are some of the few examples that we’ve seen for this industry. Have you seen any companies utilizing Sina Weibo for a China specific healthcare campaign?

Digital innovation in healthcare

It’s amazing to see how the healthcare industry has plugged into the digital world. In previous years, there was no mistake in saying that healthcare was behind the digital and social media wave. The headlines would say it all with phrases like “Pharma Stuck in a Digital Timewarp!” and “The Real Reasons Why Pharma Fumbles in Social Media.”

Not anymore. We’ve seen how pharma has used social media and digital technologies in the traditional sense with initiatives like the first pharma-sponsored tweet up from AstraZeneca and then taken it to the next level with iPads for doctors, mHealth initiatives in hospitals, etc. What is interesting to see now is healthcare marketers are moving away from dwelling on the technology  as the immediate focus, and instead looking at health system constraints that could be addressed by the technology. This is where we’ll see the transformation of initiatives like ‘mHealth’ to just ‘health’. Are there other initiatives that you’ve seen showcasing this shift from the traditional social media marketing to solving real problems?

Like to hear more? Get in touch to discuss all things healthcare social media.