Can Healthcare and Social Media Mix Successfully?

I arrived at Likeable with a background in healthcare PR. For a few years, I've worked with clients who were a part of giant healthcare companies, but were very hesitant about entering the social media space. Rightfully so, I'd say. These companies are heavily scrutinized by the FDA and other legal entities, so entering a world of open conversation would be pretty scary.
However, in my short time at Likeable, I've seen it work. Healthcare companies can do social in ways that other brands cannot. And here's how:
They provide help, support and customer service that can greatly impact lives. A customer posts on a page, saying that their insurance won't cover a drug for their condition. In a short amount of time, the customer service team responds, letting the customer know that the company offers financial assistance. The service team was able to provide extremely valuable information to the customer, who may not have reached out otherwise. In this sense, the organization's page created another place for the customer to reach out...and yielded very helpful results.
Healthcare brands' social platforms provide a space for trusted doctor recommendations. Sure, you could go onto your insurance company's website and look up a doctor near you. But then what do you know about his bedside manner, or even his education? Not much. Social platforms provide spaces for patients and customers to recommend the best allergist, surgeon or family practitioner they've ever had. This makes for a more valuable customer experience and better care for the patient overall at their next doctor's visit.
They bring more awareness to a condition or disease. Organizations like the American Diabetes Association and American Cancer Society have extremely active and successful pages. They showcase their walks and runs, their corporate partnerships and their national advocacy meetings through pictures and posts. This only excites their already existing communities more, and encourages more folks to hop on board. The more a community is engaged in these organizations, the more a cause becomes noticed and advocated for. Additionally, healthcare companies can show their fans how passionate they are about a cause, which only improves their reputation and makes them a more trusted source in the disease space.

What healthcare brands do you see in social? How are they doing it well? Tell us in comments!

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