Wednesday, December 8, 2010

To Understand Small Healthcare Marketing I Look At Big Healthcare Marketing

When a doctor has only 10 minutes per patient, how many minutes do you suppose he has for his blog.  So, to look for case studies I had to forgo the small business and look to the bigger ones--the insurance companies. The one that first came on my radar is Anthem Blue Cross / Blue Shield.

So what is the company doing in the social media arena? The health insurer is piloting a program to use Twitter to identify members with possible questions or concerns about health benefits. Twitter lets Anthem communicate and stay connected through quick, real-time conversation, and respond to each tweet about Anthem. The AnthemHealth account on Twitter has 225 followers, and includes messages to members complaining about long hold times, customer service complaints, and complaints about cancelled coverage.
Also, ever wonder why so many celebrities are pushing their Twitter account. It's because they get paid. Anthem is also working with reality show celebrity Bob Harper of the TV program, The Biggest Loser to provide information on healthy lifestyle through Twitter at Harper's account, BobHarperAnthem, which has 12,191 followers. That's quite an extended reach.

"Tools such as Twitter and Facebook provide an additional means of communicating with our members and all consumers in the communities we serve in a way that's convenient and of interest for them," said Anthem president Larry Schreiber in a statement.

The company also is using Facebook as a forum for it's members.  On YouTube they are showing Bob Harper videos and
On the Anthem Facebook page, the company is looking to provide a forum where members can interact with Anthem and each other. Though, neither of these seem to be getting many visitors.  The facebook page isn't integrated with the company page and only has a few hundred visitors and the You Tube videos don't have many views.

Any company can do this type of program on a smaller scale. Look for someone local in your field with a lot of followers on twitter.  They don't even have to be that popular.  Someone on facebook with 500 friends, that you partner with, still has 500 people that you wouldn't ordinarily be reaching.  Perhaps a small partnership where you pay a few hundred for say a dozen posts over a year, could reap you more reach and views than most listings on a traditional source.

The other case studies I looked at an may report on in the future are the University of California San Francisco Medical Center and Mayo Clinic. Both organizations are using social media to connect with patients. 


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