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Using Healthcare Social Media to Create Word-of-Mouth Buzz

Creating buzz about a new product or service in healthcare or any sector is hard.  You can have a gazillion Twitter followers or Facebook likes, but if no one is listening, does your following or like count really matter.   As the digital tools we have available to us become more refined and abundant, one might think creating Word-of-Mouth (WOM) would become easier, but does it?

In the healthcare community, the social media adoption rate hovers around 25% depending on what journal article or survey you read.  That means 75% of individuals in the healthcare community have little to no contact with social media for a variety of reasons.  Maybe it’s a generational gap or perhaps a physician or patient who doesn’t see the value in using social media, but depending solely on social media to create WOM about a service or product is absurd.  With that said, how can you get the most out of social media and make it part of your WOM campaign?

Identify your evangelists

Find the members of your community that really believe in your product or service.  While a retweet from Justin Bieber to his 33.5 million followers may sound lovely, do you think his teen fan base really cares about your medical service or product?  Odds are they have no interest whatsoever.   This means hitting the pavement and making real connections.  This can be done either in person or via social media.  Each time you connect with another person or user, you are nurturing a relationship.  The more you nurture, the more of an actual relationship you form.

Leverage your loyal members

Now that you’ve identified your evangelists it’s time to put them to work.  Now, I don’t mean paying them for their voice, but I do think you should be able to ask for some support.  Your loyal users are the members you have built a relationship with.  They have a vested interest in the work you do, and odds are, they will be more than willing to lend a hand in getting the word out.  Just remember to ask!

Get out and engage

This is an important idea.  A great deal of social media users tweet or post information, but don’t actually engage.  Engaging is not creating word vomit, it’s connecting with others and adding value to a conversation.  If you feel you have something to offer to a tweet or post, break or even shatter that invisible wall and engage.  Odds are the person or clinic you are replying to is looking to connect too!

Use your physical space

One of the great things about having a physical space is the ability to create and nurture triggers.  Using hashtags as triggers not only raises awareness of a product or service, but can really help drive and create WOM.  Are you going create a new brochure or flyer about your new service?  Add a specific hashtag to it and encourage clients and patients to tag their tweets with that hashtag.  Not only does using a hashtag create a community around your new service or product, but it can also lead you to some insightful and useful feedback about it.

How do you create social buzz or word of mouth about a service or product? Did you find these tips useful? Leave a comment below, send us a message on Twitter @MDWebPro, let us know on Facebook, or on Google +.  We’d love to hear from you!

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Stuart Wainstock is a former educator who has taught overseas and in the United States. Stuart began blogging while living overseas as a means to communicate with family and friends back home. He is a contributing author to the MDWebPro blog. Stuart is an avid follower of technology, and their constantly changing trends. He also enjoys discovering new and excited music, as well as photography. You can follow Stuart on Twitter @stuartwainstock,@MDWebPro and Google+

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