Social media monitoring in the health care field | Social Media and Healthcare |

In an effort to build relationships with consumers of medical services and ensure they are well-educated about their care, many hospitals and other health services organizations have taken to social media. Through Facebook pages, YouTube channels and more, health care professionals attempt to disseminate important information and solicit feedback. This can drive brand loyalty and create informed consumers. The use of social media in health care has many possibilities in addition to public relations and marketing, as well.

Tracking progress in brand awareness and information reach
Social media monitoring solutions can be of great use to health care professionals. Those hospitals and other organizations undertaking a social media campaign to build brand awareness and loyalty can use such tools to determine how well their efforts are performing. Social media analysis can show how many users are discussing the hospital and its posts and give administrators a better idea of how much engagement a particular campaign generates.

Those social media activities that aim to educate consumers about health care and treatment options can also use social media listening tools in a variety of ways. A preliminary scan of relevant posts to see what users say when they discuss a certain condition or procedure can help establish a baseline of general knowledge. For example, if misconceptions or questions consistently appear in social media posts on the subject, it will be easy to construct a campaign to counter or answer them.


Once an informational campaign on social media has been in effect for some time, it's possible to use social media monitoring to see how well it has performed, just as with public relations campaigns. A notable increase in posts from the intended area that display a correct understanding of the facts can demonstrate the success of an informational campaign, perhaps driving investment in further efforts of the same kind.


Research opportunities
Many social media users are free with what they will post. There is some amount of health information to be gleaned from such activity. The most basic aspects of a healthy lifestyle, including diet and exercise, are often things people will make social media posts about. Photographing meals and checking into gyms are not uncommon activities on social media. Others living with chronic conditions may post updates or questions. Social media analytics can allow researchers to tap into this wealth of data. Demographic research on a variety of topics can be accomplished through social media or supplemented by it. Of course, this can be part of a reciprocal process within organizations, where research both precedes and follows education efforts.