With the costs of healthcare on the rise, more expensive insurance premiums and a faltering economy, many health professionals have started to realize the value of using social media as a way to cut their marketing costs.

Doctors, physiotherapists, allied and alternative health practitioners and other individuals running local, small businesses have been facing the same issues that large companies have been complaining about for years – market saturation and smaller client bases. This is especially true, as more and more people conscious of their health have become selective and proactive in their own buying choices.

Why Social Media?

Social media offers virtually limitless chances to socialize with millions of people. Examples include platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+.  A good social media marketing campaign leverage’s all these platforms to generate brand recognition, while reaching a brand new set of customers.

With this type of advertising, a company is not limited to local leads obtained through traditional modes of advertising such as radio, television or billboards; Leads can be generated from a very diversified geographical marketplace. These platforms also put healthcare workers in direct contact with potential customers. You can have the opportunity of one on one contact with your customers and can find out exactly what they need.

Your business’s social media existence also reinforces its entire Internet presence. The more people talk about you on Twitter and Facebook, the greater are your opportunities of positioning well in web searches using Google , Yahoo!, or Bing.

Challenges Involving Social Media in Healthcare

There are challenges regarding the use of social media in healthcare. For example, doctors have to be very careful in discussing cases of their patients to avoid privacy issues. It is imperative that healthcare professionals abide by regulations to avoid disclosing any identifiable information about a patient or to at least receive written authorizations should such an opportunity arise.

Social media marketing is certainly an attractive option for many individuals involved in the healthcare profession, but it takes experience and market testing to truly become an expert at using it. It might be tempting to flood all of the social media platforms with useless content, but it’s much better and more rewarding to take the time to build a credible brand with quality content, useful for its current and potential customers.