Wide-eyed and speechless, the Facebook moderator watched helplessly as her screen went black.
Beyond negatively impacting their stock price, the recent major hack of the market leader hurt members. This came in the form of user data being sold across the web to identity thieves.
Maybe data from the admins of your private practice were a part of this breach. Visions of phishing schemes may be running through your head as we speak.
Events like this are mostly beyond your control, but it’s possible to decrease future risk.
Allow me to present 7 reasons for experimenting with other options.
Challenges of Social Media in Healthcare
Ask any physician about their hesitancy to invest more in healthcare social media, and you’ll hear one word…HIPAA. But the sophistication of cyber criminals presents its own issues.
Far from the only reason behind a mass exodus from Big Tech, it still factors into a surprising statistic:
- 45% of Facebook users and 32% of Twitter users considered leaving the platform in 2020.
New technology has historically experienced slow adoption in the medical field. Unsurprisingly, social media and healthcare thus have a sensitive relationship.
Reasons for additional concerns:
- Pending antitrust complaints from FTC
- Free speech censorship
- Decreased organic reach of marketing
- Manipulating behavior
- Bias from a secretive algorithm
- Selling of user data
- Lack of privacy
With the goal of encouraging advertising spend, Facebook’s algorithm now makes it harder to earn “free” traffic. Formerly small businesses’ bread and butter, they’ve needed to pivot or look for other sites to market on.
Healthcare is patient-centric, so the flippancy with which data on users is sold should raise some eyebrows. What would happen if a medical provider did that?
Now don’t be alarmed, but I’m going to pose as a techy person for a minute. Bear with me, as it is pertinent to our discussion.
Social Media Structure
Centralized platforms like Facebook use a central “station” that controls the entire network. Whoever holds the keys, holds a large amount of power. One risk of this model is the alluring target the single station presents for criminals.
So you’d think decentralized platforms would solve this problem right? Well not exactly.
Two different types have been tried, but even open-source systems present their own problems.
One removed the central station and gave power to the end user. Another created many smaller “stations” to decrease the risk a hack would affect the entire network.
Mastodon is an example of the latter attempt. But when they encouraged their stations to block a conservative social platform, it was reminiscent of Big Tech.
O, if only there was a better way!
How Social Media Can Help a Healthcare Practice
⇒Watch my video on Gab – CLICK HERE ⇐
Why should your practice be active online?
SEMRush surveyed 1,500 marketers across various industries. Two statistics stick out:
- 87% distribute content on social platforms, up from 76% in 2019
- 83% believe organic traffic is an important measurement of success
As shown above, your competitors have a presence. So should you.
- Over 70% of U.S. adults have a social media account
Each year this number rises, as does the potential amount of prospective patients looking for healthcare services.
Okay, I’ve established the why. Now it’s time to offer solutions. Because those are the money makers correct?
Gary Vaynerchuk has found success being an early adopter of new social media, and suggests a sweet spot.
- When a platform is in its infancy
- Prior to an advertising platform making it too expensive to earn a following
Alternative social media sites are not all created equal, but I’ve come across three in particular that show great potential.
Coming on the scene in 2016, this Facebook alternative states the following selling points:
- No ads or sponsored content
- Newsfeed under your control
- Texting app similar to Facebook Messenger
Starting life as a beta in 2012, the self-proclaimed “protector of user data” has gained real ground. As of January it was up to 16 million members and growing.
Not too shabby for an upstart.
Founded in 2018 to combat censorship and privacy abuse, it experienced a lot of adversity early on. Twitter really took the threat seriously and used its influence to remove it from the picture…at least for a time.
But as of April, it’s charging back despite some hiccups. Free speech is the name of the game here, a big reason behind its popularity.
I’ve experimented with it, and it did have a similar feel to Twitter. Hopefully it’s around for the long haul. After all, any industry dominated by one major player experiences decreased innovation.
And the end result is a great disservice to the end user.
My personal favorite of the three, this growing juggernaut started operations in 2016. CEO Andrew Torba was a Silicon Valley product, but became disenfranchised and broke away.
Stats directly from Gab:
- 95% of their traffic is direct
- 100 million+ page views monthly
- 15 million+ unique visitors monthly
- 80% of users are based in the US
According to Alexa it ranks 1,743 in global internet engagement! Not bad for a platform fully funded through donations, premium subscriptions, crowdfunding, and some help from its founders.
From servers to a payment platform, everything is hosted internally. This negates any need for a reliance on outside influences. And that’s good because it’s faced just as much (if not more) adversity than Parler.
Focused on small businesses, there are some exciting features coming in the near future:
- Advertising platform for all budgets
- Marketplace (think Ebay or Craigslist)
- Monetization of content creator’s video content
Especially for private practices, this presents a possible revenue stream your larger competitors aren’t even considering.
Want to know more? I explore all three in more depth on a guest blog, check it out!
Elijah Wordsmith and Healthcare Social Media
The fact is users are seeking, and finding other options for their time and money. Reaching them on alternative social media platforms should be a pursuit of yours.
2021 is a great time to get on board and test the waters. If a specific social channel isn’t yielding fruit after 6 months, move on. No harm, no foul.
But acquiring a following before it hits mainstream can potentially lead to a lucrative return on your investment! Want an accelerated path towards this result?
Elijah Wordsmith content writing “verbalizes” the more individualized care current and prospective patients receive from your practice.
Bring the human side back by sharing stories online that impacted you or your staff. And enjoy a boost in patient retention and new referrals for a “practice that truly cares.”
Take the first step towards standing out online and schedule a discovery call today!