An upper-class married woman in her early 30s’, Mrs. Kapoor (name changed) was surprised and slightly taken aback when she received a friend request from her help, Krishna. The story doesn’t end here. Since Mrs. Kapoor lives in a joint family, Krishna regularly uses Facebook messenger to ask everyone what they’ll have for breakfast from the comfort of his kitchen.
If this sounds alien to you, you will be shocked to know that according to Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the usage of social media in urban India has grown by 35%, (about 118 million users), while it has grown a whopping 100% in rural India (reaching over 25 million people) in one year. To further break it down, 96% of the masses are on Facebook, shortly followed by other social media giants like Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn.
We shop, we check our bank accounts, and we also check to see if the rash bothering us isn’t deadly – all online.
HealthWorksCollectives, the world’s best thinkers in healthcare, have some numbers for you. Out of 4 and a half hours that an average internet user spends each day online, about 3 hours of his time is spent on social media. Imagine the amount of content consumption! It’s not surprising that the healthcare industry has begun working its way into social media. To add to this, sources claim that about 40% of consumers believe the health information they found on social media.
Healthcare in social media is here to stay for more reasons than one: Medical professionals are interacting via social media to spread awareness on diseases, preventive methods, among other topics while patients are using this platform to share doubts, questions and receive health information. On a larger scale, public health agencies are using social media tools to schedule important campaigns and announcements.
Facebook – who doesn’t use it?
Once upon a time, this was a thing for youngsters. Facebook’s demographics are getting old, further giving accessibility to all age groups to health campaigns that are shared by hospitals and healthcare providers to create engagement and awareness. Credihealth, a healthcare startup, is one such example making a point to cover all health days and health awareness months, catering to both national and international audiences. Their most recent campaign was on World No Tobacco Day that used smart creatives to discourage youngsters from smoking.
140 characters of important information – Welcome to Twitter
Doctors, Hospitals and patients (or better yet twitteratis) are using this simple yet fast sharing platform to connect with like-minded people. Craig Hashi, who heads healthcare at Twitter revealed some intriguing statistics when he shared that 44 million cancer related tweets were sent out in the past year, even more so during Breast Cancer Awareness month.
“Pharma companies are the ‘slowest of the slow’ when it comes to changing their marketing strategy because they are so heavily regulated, but some are catching on to the trend of online video – Hashi said, giving examples of Novartis and AstraZeneca that have increased their presence on social media in the last 18 months.
There are new apps in the market like Periscope and Meerkat that allow people to stream live video through their Twitter accounts – this could be something that could change the direction of the market in the near future. In what sense? Well, for starters, any entity from the healthcare industry could advertise interesting content from a conference anywhere around the world in real time.
Social media on mobile phones is convenient, fast and influencing how people consume information resulting in a trend itself.
What’s trend-ier than sharing pictures of food, cats and clouds?
Instagram and Pinterest are the fastest growing social networks, no doubt. The healthcare industry players are sharing behind the scene snaps to establish a more personal touch with people. This also includes sharing patient journeys, promoting fundraising events and even medical techniques and procedures. While not everyone in healthcare is fully convinced to use Instagram, it’s hard to ignore 300 million monthly active users.
The future is expected to see healthcare companies integrating social media information to make customer interaction better and public health organization to reach out to the public quicker about important issues like vaccinations, new policies, diseases outbreaks and more. This will bring a sense of crisis readiness which means social media will act as an agent in informing doctors and hospitals almost instantly when a devastating event occurs endangering the lives of people.
After all, isn’t making lives better the whole point behind creating a technology that connects us?
Previously published as a guest post on iamWire.