Why is Social Media Important for the MedTech Industry?
MedTech companies finally have the chance to build relationships with medical professionals, keep up with innovation and share medical information about the medical technology it delivers. The MedTech companies that embrace change and create value for the medical professionals that use their products with a robust and engaging social media campaign can create innovation that exceeds expectations of consumers. According to the Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry, the MedTech industry should use social media in the following ways:
■ To market products and build loyalty among customers
■ To create a feedback mechanism and a customer relationship tool.
■ To find partners and to collaborate in all segments of the product life cycle (Johnson, 2010)
Choosing the right sites is critical to the social media plan in order to touch upon all valid points.
Four popular websites provide networking, relationship building and educational opportunities:
1. LinkedIn is a professional networking website, with over 1.5 million healthcare professionals registered for networking, relationship building and professional development. A search for “medical devices” on LinkedIn yields 479 groups, such as the Medical Device Professionals Network with more than 13,000 members. (Johnson, 2010).
2. Twitter: Twitter is a micro-blogging site where one can find industry news updates, share information and connect with other medical professionals or vendors. Eleven reasons for medical professionals to use Twitter is stated below, according to Pallimed (Sinclair, 2010):
Networking (with people you do and do not know)
1. Network with medical professionals in their discipline (doctors and doctors)
2. Network with medical professionals outside their discipline (doctors and pharmacists)
3. Network with medical professionals within one’s specialty (ER nurses and ER nurses)
4. Network with medical professionals outside one’s specialty (ER nurses and hospice nurses)
5. Following search terms related to your field to see what people are saying
6. Finding media reports about one’s field to find what your patients might be reading
7. Extending the reach of topics important to you
8. Giving words of support to those in your Twitter network
9 Posting journal articles, news, blog posts, conference highlights from others supporting your cause
10. Posting links or quotes to talks, articles, blog posts written by you or your team
11. Posting links or quotes to talks, articles, blog posts written by others
3. Facebook: Facebook is the world’s largest social network with an easy to learn platform for medical professionals to use. Medical web times writes that “information that is typically recommended by their friends creates an opportunity to catch their attention with a great headline and a link back to your medical web site. From here you are free to continue the story and offer a call-to-action” (MWT, 2013).
4. YouTube: This platform has a special section for education-EDU. According to the YouTube website: “Whether you’re doing research for a project, need help with homework, or just want to learn something new, YouTube EDU features some of our most popular videos” (YouTube, 2013)
Knowing what your audience needs and expects is crucial in delivering their needs and exceeding expectations. This chart shows that 66% of medical professionals prefer to receive educational materials, which can be done using social media and content marketing (HLD, 2012).
According to Communications Congress “Medtech companies should exploit the opportunities of social networks and invest more in the online dialog with customers and a more professional style of communication. Social networks are the communication centers of the future. Target groups become main stakeholders via social media. Companies must begin the dialog in the network, listen to customers, and learn to moderate and shape the discussions, for instance via Facebook, Twitter, or special knowledge forums. The social media activities must be approached strategically and be provided with sufficient resources” (BVMed, 2013). This is very true and an urgent matter for the bulk of the MedTech industry.
Fewer financial resources are eminent until the Federal Government removes the 2.3% Medial Device Tax (IRS, 2012), however a MedTech company can see where their efforts are going through metrics and analytics to better allocate funds. The following chart details the 5 categories of social media measurement:
Consistency with enough resources is key to any social media campaign.
Social media can change the way the MedTech industry markets new and innovative products, communicates and builds relationships and shares medical information. Consumer expectations of value not being derived entirely with the product itself, but with the “whole package” that the MedTech company can deliver. Even if resources are tight, starting a social media campaign is cost-effective and gentle on the budget compared to traditional efforts. The MedTech industry has an opportunity to overcome their reluctance to participate fully in the social media realm and become as technologically advanced as the products they promote.
BVMed. (2013). Communication conference: Medtech underestimates the power of social media. Retrieved from BVMed: http://www.bvmed.de/themen/kommunikation/oeffentlichkeitsarbeit/pressemitteilung/social-media-wird-in-der-medtech-branche-noch-unterschaetzt.html?language=2
DHHS. (2013). The Health and Medical Technology Industry in the United States. Retrieved from Select USA-Department of health and Human Services: http://selectusa.commerce.gov/industry-snapshots/health-and-medical-technology-industry-united-states
HLD. (2012). How Healthcare Professionals Prefer to Comminicate. Retrieved from health link dimensions: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/22025485651098877/
IRS. (2012). Medical Device Tax. Retrieved from IRS: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Medical-Device-Excise-Tax:-Frequently-Asked-Questions
Johnson, H. (2010, August 6). As Social Media Evolves, the Device Industry Must Also. Retrieved from MDDI: http://www.mddionline.com/article/social-media-evolves-device-industry-must-also
MWT. (2013). 10 pros & cons for medical prasctices and soicl media networks . Retrieved from Medcical web times: http://www.medicalwebtimes.com/thetimes/medical-headlines/top-10-pros-cons-for-medical-practices-using-social-networking-web-sites
Sinclair, C. (2010, February). Twitter for Medical Professionals: 11 Uses in 9 Steps. Retrieved from Pallimed: http://www.pallimed.org/2010/02/twitter-for-medical-professionals-11.
YouTube. (2013). Medical technology. Retrieved from Education: https://www.youtube.com/education?category=University/Medicine/Medical%20Technology