Most people will agree that when it comes to losing weight, it’s always easier to have support from people going through similar weight loss struggles. Many may not have considered the effectiveness of seeking that support through social media. University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health found that using Twitter helped people lose a substantial amount of weight. For every 10 posts sent to Twitter of the total 2,630 tweets, the group lost about 0.5%. Those tweets include ones participants sent and advice from weight loss counselors.
The study included 2 different groups of overweight men and women over a 6-month period. One group was assigned to receive podcasts twice weekly and the other group was assigned to receive the podcasts and have mobile access. With this mobile access, participants downloaded a diet and physical activity app and a Twitter app.
How can healthcare marketers join this Twitter support group and become an integral source to improve healthcare consumers’ health?
- Tweet daily. Those participants who had access to Twitter checked and posted daily. The counselors in the study sent tweets to the participants twice daily. Offer a daily health tip and start your own hashtag (example: #healthtip) so others can submit their suggestions.
- Provide encouragement. One example tweet posted during the six months was, “I avoided eating a pastry this morning at a breakfast meeting! I did have a skim mocha without whipped cream … not too bad.” It’s about overcoming daily hurdles, and that’s what is great about Twitter. You can interact and congratulate those who meet their goals as they complete them. There are chances they might tweet about something they are struggling with, so this is your chance to inspire them to keep striving for their goals.
- Listen. This is very important to social media in general. Are you listening to what healthcare consumers are talking about? Are you addressing their concerns and health struggles? Remember, it’s not about you, it’s about them.
- Inform. Patients and prospective patients turn to your healthcare organization for its knowledge and experience. Tap into your experts and use a direct quote from a doctor that offers information about being healthier
While this study pertains to weight loss, you can use these tips to address other health concerns like quitting smoking. Showing that your organization cares through social media can really start to grow relationships and establish trust with your healthcare consumers. And if you’re looking to grow your healthcare organization’s social media presence in general, review our list of free tools for social media.
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