Social media is a virtual platform in which people interact, create and share content, information, ideas and views using online tools and related networks. Social media marketing is a process of achieving network attention with the help of social media platforms. Social media is building connections between end users and service providers by providing relatively simple, easy to access and unbiased platforms for sharing feedback. Social media interactions are integral part of marketing and customer service relations in any industry, hence social media in healthcare industry is no exception. Heath care organizations and health care personnel have started considering social media as an important tool for connecting with the end-users and keeping the consumers updated about the product development. The increasing number of consumers using social media for accessing and seeking information related to health care issues is acting as the driving force towards the progress of the health care social media marketing market. As well as, healthcare professionals and service providers are seeking global social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google plus and others as a networking platform. This would enable them to gain end users trust with easily accessible healthcare information and ultimately assisting the market growth. Increased expenditure on web advertisement by health care companies is also a factor propelling the market growth. However, there is an inherent risk correlated to social media marketing in healthcare making its usage a debatable subject. All the information available on internet is not authentic, making it vulnerable for creating mistrust among the users. Similarly, privacy is also susceptible factor while associating and engaging with patients via social media. These factors act as a challenging aspect for the health care social media marketing market.
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Today’s generation is extremely tech oriented and health conscious as well as the concerned for the health of their family. As a result, people are seeking for information and interacting with the health care industry by the means of web forum like never before. On the other hand, social media is providing a cost-effective and reasonable platform for the health care industry to reach out to the prospective consumers, making it as the best suited forum for the transparent communication. The participation of regulatory authorities in the issues related to drafting the guidelines for the health care organization regarding the use of interactive media for the biologics and drugs has proven to be contributory factor for the use of social media marketing for healthcare. As per U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the pharma companies can promote their product and on the third party sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. and the firm is responsible for the product promotional activities on the sites. While getting feedbacks from the customers is important, the organization shall also incorporate these feedbacks into their business and business strategies in a meaningful manner is equally important. While some organizations have taken the lead in this area, many others are struggling to understand this new medium of opportunity. Novartis has enhanced the sales of their over the counter products by promoting it on social media forum. Similarly, Johnson and Johnson have utilized social media for idea generation and in crises management.
Geographically, North America has the largest market for the health care social media marketing market, followed by Europe, due to large pool of tech savvy consumers. According to a study, Almost 72 % of patients searched for online information before or after a doctor visit. Moreover, the pharma giants taking up social media for the interaction are majorly based in this region. Asia Pacific is the most attractive market for the health care social media marketing market due to increasing number of internet users and developing technological interface in the countries such as Japan, China, India and Australia. Rest of the world has a potential for the growth as there are untapped opportunities in the health care social media marketing market.
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Developing a social media platform is no more an option today, it is a necessity. Some of the major players engaging in the health care social media marketing are Bayer AG, Johnson & Johnson, Inc., Novartis AG, Novo Nordisk AS, and Pfizer, Inc.
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