Since we were young we have been taught the importance of sharing. Today that is easier than ever to do with email and multiple social media platforms. And for the healthcare industry, sharing health information is becoming more of the norm. A recent Pew Report stated that 26% of adult internet users have read or watched someone else’s health or medical experience and 16% have gone online to find others who share the same health concerns. One study found that people trust health information shared by hospitals and doctors online 10-15% more than by other patients they know.
Hospitals and physician practices need to consider how key points or stories about their care can be distributed in a way that is compelling and easy for people to share with others. Sharing is about relationships – give and take. Knowing who shares and why is an important first step. A New York Times study found that:
- 94% of study participants consider how information they share will be useful to the recipient
- 84% share because it is a way to show support for issues they care about
- 69% share information because it allows them to feel more involved in the world
- Only 49% share to inform others of products and try to change opinions
The study found six personas for sharing; altruists, careerists, hipsters, boomerangs, connectors and selectives. Their personas are based on four segments defined by:
- Emotional motivations
- Desired presentation of self
- Role of sharing in life
- Value of being first to share
One key point to increase sharing is to appeal to consumers’ (patients’) needs to connect with each other and not to a brand. Yet it seems that healthcare marketing is often missing the mark. A Spark Report found that although 41% of respondents said that social media would affect their choice of a medical facility, hospital, or doctor, only 18% of Facebook posts by hospitals are for the public while the rest target employees. Other key points to increase sharing include trust, simplicity, humor and urgency.
The Pew report states “that patients and caregivers have critical health information — about themselves, about each other, about treatments — and they want to share what they know to help other people.” Before your next post or email, check your content based on the above criteria and ask yourself if you are engaging your patients or just sending them information.
What is your persona?
- Altruist – Helpful, reliable, thoughtful, connected
- Careerist – Valuable, intelligent, network
- Hipster – Creative, young, popular, cutting-edge
- Boomerang – Reaction, validation, empowered
- Connector – Creative, relaxed, thoughtful, making plans
- Selective – Resourceful, careful, thoughtful, informative