It’s been a big year for healthcare chatter on Twitter. Although you may not tweet about having the flu or a cold, other Twitter users are willing to share their sorrows about sickness online. In combination with news about the Affordable Care Act and the presidential campaign, 2012 has seen 51% more health related tweets.
Twitter is up to something as well. For the first time in 6 years, Twitter attended the Health2.0 conference; which promotes, showcases, and catalyzes new technologies. To represent Twitter, the head of agency and brand advocacy, Melissa Barnes gave a presentation at the conference this year.
Many dentists, doctors, and other healthcare professionals know about the power of social media marketing. However, the main focus has been on Facebook, with a much smaller focus on Google+, and very little focus on Twitter. With the possible upcoming changes to the social network and spreading news about the increase in health-related tweets, could the healthcare industry see an increase in the use of Twitter for marketing?
Twitter Marketing for Doctors
Imagine it this way. If you are a doctor who has a personal Twitter page, and your patients followed your profile, you could see their tweets about being sick by following their profile. In this instance, you could contact your patient about what they can do to get better.
Twitter Marketing for Dentists
The same goes for dentists. A dental professional who has a personal Twitter could stay better in touch with their community. In this instance, one of their patients could be tweeting about toothaches, headaches or other symptoms that could be related to dentistry. The dentist would be able to contact their patient about possibly scheduling a check-up.
Outbound Marketing for Healthcare on Twitter
Although following Twitter profiles for tweets from patients may be a plausible way of staying connected with the community there is an outbound approach. Simply utilizing Twitter to post tips and suggestions at certain times during the year can keep you in mind. During cold and flu season, a tweet about staying warm and bringing an umbrella may prove helpful. Around Halloween, a tweet about kid’s brushing habits may be a reminder to parents to schedule a check-up.
Social networking and social media marketing are not traditional approaches to marketing. With that said, taking a non-traditional view on how to utilize these tools can prove beneficial. Just like Facebook and Google+, Twitter allows healthcare professionals to build authority and stay connected to their community. However, they are only allowed 140 characters per status post to do so. For dentists and doctors this is a great platform because it is quick, simple, and information driven.
Is there a possibility of dentists and doctors utilizing Twitter as a standard marketing tool in the near future? The ones that want to stay on top of their healthcare marketing and continue to grow in their community will. Twitter is the second largest social network and its application fits well with healthcare professionals’ busy lifestyles. Although the match is not apparent yet, Twitter may have plans to change that in the near future.