Social media generates awareness - it builds brand awareness and loyalty, creates brand advocates and helps build networks. Social media helps companies and organizations measure and track the effectiveness of marketing plans and event messages. And most importantly, gives you another channel to connect with prospects. Though widely adopted in many industries, social media has not fully caught on in B2B technology companies and healthcare; at last week's Designing Social Experience for Healthcare and B2B Technology Companies, Nick Allen and Amy Cueva shared their thoughts and experiences on how implementing social media strategies has impacted these two tricky industries. Why is that?
When planning social media strategies for B2B Technology Companies, Nick Allen recommends that companies take a four phase approach.
- Research - Look at competitors sites. Understand how prospects interact with sites and social media
- Wireframe - Make it easy for prospects (and clients) to find and share information
- Design - Expand awareness via communities and syndication
- Refinement - Be prepared to make adjustments to the plan
Allen has found through research, that while Facebook is the most popular social media networking site today, it is not appropriate for most B2B Technology companies. There is a strong perception that Facebook is personal. 52% of decision makers that B2B companies are trying to reach are most likely to read and use blogs.
Key takeaways for managing your B2B social media marketing projects
- Resist knee jerk social media projects or ill retro fits
- Be proactive with business expectations and demands for social media
- Focus on a few, high return social media services
- Design and implement social media elements that can and will be maintained
- Anticipate social media integration in current and future designs
Next, Amy Cueva spoke about the adoption and use of social media in healthcare. Unlike many other industries, the use of social media in healthcare has been slow to catch on. This slow adoption can be attributed to privacy laws (ie. HIPAA), lack of expendable time for doctors and federal and state regulations.
So, why social media for healthcare?
- Doctors are outnumbered and busy - The average visit with a doctor is just seven minutes long
- The information that doctors and patients alike are looking for is out there
- Patients can connect with others who have similar medical situations. Patient to patient sharing can help them identify procedures, medicines and treatment courses that are beneficial to them
- Doctors and hospitals can collaborate, coordinate, intervene and outreach to each other and patients. Social media tools can also be a method of timely, robust and different information sharing
- Tools are available
- People care
- And finally, It's already happening - 61% if Americans go online for health information
Social media can connect individuals with their health histories, patients, supporters, caregivers, care teams, researchers, companies and organizations thus leading to a proactive model of healthcare instead of the current reactive model.
The examples given by both Allen and Cueva highlighted how consumers in each respective industry are using social media to benefit themselves and gain more knowledge. So while the adoption has been gradual, the use of social media within B2B Technologies and Healthcare will rapidly increase and grow as companies see the benefits for their communities on the whole.