Taking The Pulse Of Healthcare Social Media Marketing


Girlfriend, those little search spiders sure do love indexing blog posts. Yup .. with fresh content, HTML codes and those relevant inbound links blogs & search engines go together like martinis and olives (add 3 to mine please!). With over 71 million blogs (Technorati tracking statistic) it’s not a big surprise that blogs frequently rise about traditional websites like Google, Yahoo!, MSN et al.

What happens when the search is for something more serious than pet care or Anna Nicole Smith or even marketing information? What happens when you’re searching for Medical healthcare information?  Do you click on a blog or on a website? How do you determine the trustworthiness of the information?

Fard Johnmar, Envision Solutions was curious too. He wanted answers to two questions:

  • Are Americans being exposed to a substantial amount of user-generated media (through search)?
  • Do Americans trust online content because they are frequenting websites they consider well established and credible?

Using data provided by Hitwise, an online competitive intelligence service, he conducted a research study, Diving Deeper Into Online Healthcare Search, that confirmed user generated media is becoming increasingly more important as a resource for consumer healthcare information. Fard’s findings indicated that:

  • Americans looking for online health content are exposed to a significant amount of user generated media. 
  • People are relying on government, corporate and non-profit produced websites for health information; however, in certain cases, blogs and wikis receive significant traffic.

A study conducted by Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) complements the Diving Deeper Into Online Healthcare Search study. The ESRC research explored how health consumers decide whether or not to trust the information and advice they find online.

It may not be a surprise to marketers involved with social media but according to  Professor Pamela Briggs who conducted the study -

When searching for health advice online, consumers often reject websites with high quality medical information in favour of those with a human touch.

One thing that really put people off was advertising, so people clicked off drug company websites straight away. Generally, the medical information on drug company sites is very accurate but people question the authors' motivation and agenda. The issue of impartiality is quite crucial in building trust.

The great strength of the internet is that you can find people who have had the same problem that you have and see how they have coped with it - to forget about that, or to act as if it’s not happening, is missing the point.

But the most important advice for those trying to promote health information online is to use engaging stories about people with similar experiences."

Lessons LearnedA human touch and impartiality are keys to unlocking healthcare social media marketing. I would dare say that holds true for business-to-business, as well as business-to-consumer products/services as well.


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Great Blogging, keep up the good work!

Posted by: Image Marketing Consultants on Mar 17, 2007 10:41:18 PM

I wish if i can share my analysis & research on 100+ healthcare portals and websites here. - http://www.brainbubbles.biz/Best-Health-Care-Portals_Healthcare_content_27.aspx


Posted by: Jay on Apr 19, 2007 6:27:53 PM

First i always check who is the owner of website, by going to contact us page. Good websites always have physical mail address and contact info.

Posted by: WD-NYC designer on Jun 20, 2007 1:47:31 PM

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