Author: Sym Yeow
A recent article published by Health Care Social Media, poses the question “Do online health seekers trust social media?”. However, it is important to dive a little deeper to try to understand why healthcare information seekers don’t trust social media, and the ways health care professionals can overcome this obstacle to rebuild their reputation amongst their readers.
The main reasons for concern about the information produced in the health industry are:
- Some information has been misleading; and
- Information is hard to find
However, based on those two points, the question isn’t whether health seekers trust social media, but rather, “Are those seeking information too concerned that it is misleading, or is the information actually inaccurate?”
According to a study conducted by PM360 Online, only 9% of physicians are engaging online with health-related pages, and only 1% producing content. This is because while physicians may be knowledgeable, they are uncomfortable sharing their own content due to their lack of formal writing skills. Therefore, if a total of 10% of physicians are already engaging online, that leaves 90% of knowledgeable health care professionals in the silence.
With a lack of voice, misleading information has the likelihood to be circulated, developing the wrong perceptions in the industry. There is already little trust in social media with health seekers becoming more discerning of the information on these platforms before they even read it. Therefore, healthcare professionals need to rise up and work together to be ahead of the game.
Top Tips for Getting in the Healthcare Content Game
Create Healthcare content that is reliable – back the facts
- Healthcare content producers need to rebuild their reputation and create content that readers believe to be true by backing up information with credible sources. This may include bringing in a professional’s opinion, using case studies or referencing a trusted brand.
Help customers to find your healthcare information – take them on a journey online and offline
- Making content easier to find will also make it easier for information seekers to read. As more articles are published, more trust will be built between health care publishers and their readers. Publishing this content to multiple sources offline and online (on social media, forums, groups) enables this content to be found.
Enhance the community by using hashtags – work together to build a reliable reputation for the healthcare industry
- Hashtags work to reach readers but also work to engage other physicians in the discussions. By joining health-related groups on Facebook and LinkedIn or sharing information by engaging within those channels, helps to reinforce this community of like-minded professionals.
As more content is delivered, it will be easier to find and the content will be by credible sources. It’s important to note that whilst readers may still be discerning of information on social media, health care professionals can overcome this by working together to produce and publish content for readers to use. Finally, be sure you are publishing content in line with the TGA and AHPRA.
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