I love the start of a new year because it is a time to throw my social predictions into the hat for later reflection. This year, I’m going against the grain of most predictions. I’m also looking a bit further into the future with predictions #6 and #7. Agree or disagree?
“Return on Investment” will be measured in much looser terms.
Digital marketing isn’t the mystery it was a couple of years ago. There is no doubt that companies, brands, and even hospitals have to be social in order to compete in today’s market. As 2013 rolls out, CEOs will begin to accept that some benefits of social presence aren’t immediately realized and that attempting to measure ROI wastes time and money. Marketing professionals will finally be able to get down to business. Don’t get me wrong. Marketing companies will develop measurement tools that do just about everything in an attempt to hold onto the market, but CEOs will be tired of pretending they see the emperor’s coat.
Social be incorporated into many departments and roles.
We will see a big surge in job descriptions calling for knowledge of social platforms. Why? Many more companies will choose to manage social presence in-house in an effort to cut costs and integrate social into multiple areas of a company. Social strategy will no longer be a Lone Ranger housed in the marketing department. Incorporating social into all facets of a company will be a growing trend as we start breaking down the silos and realizing all that is at ou fingertips.
Text-only interaction will seem naked and slowly fade away.
Just take a few seconds to fly through your Google+ stream, Facebook page or Pinterest page. What catches your eyes and interest? A picture is worth a thousand words, so companies will start to focus on communicating concepts through photos and video. The accompanying text will become secondary, focusing on search engine optimization as much as content.
Mobile sites and phone apps will no longer be an afterthought.
Smartphones are the wave of the PRESENT. Last year, smartphone use in China grew 150% (Pew/Nielsen research). The US is on the same trend, reporting that in mid 2011 there were already more mobile phone accounts than people! Half of these accounts were smartphones. Since then, there has been a steady upward trend of dumb phones being traded in for smart phones. The writing is on the wall (or should I say mobile wallpaper), so companies that want to stay visible will need to accommodate the mobile customer.
Hospitals and practices will start using social technology.
As healthcare providers are forced to care for more patients with less money (especially where ACOs form), they will turn to social technologies. They will start to use these tools to educate and inform patients, and to communicate better in hopes of improving patient satisfaction scores.
We are just starting to realize all the knowledge that can be gained from tracking people online. Google impressively predicted the flu outbreak and now everyone is imagining the possibilities. Businesses that lose social marketing business will turn to data collection and analysis as a new service. Information will be tracked and sold at a premium to predict all kinds of trends and responses.*
Privacy will have to be bought.
It’s no secret that our privacy is for sale, as sites like Facebook and Google track our moves and sell our data to the highest bidders. Built-in private browsing and permission prompts won’t be enough. We will have to purchase apps and gadgets to assure our privacy is safe. We will have to pay to block our whereabouts and encrypt our activity to lock down our personal information much like we subscribe to antivirus software today.*
* may be 2014 before we see anything fully baked.
When I am shopping for a doctor, I always google the specialty and the names of physicians who have been recommended. I want to know what other people are saying and I want to get a “feel” if that doctor is a right fit for me. Negative comments aren’t always negative… Surprised by that statement? Let me explain.
Back before the internet age, I was desperately searching for a new OB/GYN a month before my due date to deliver my first child. My then OB/GYN had just told me he would be inducing me because I had no experience having babies and his many years of delivering babies gave him the right to schedule my birth around his vacation plans. So when a nurse said there was one exceptionally popular doctor that she was a bit uncomfortable with because of his willingness to allow mothers-to-be to deliver babies in their own creative ways, I wanted to know his name. Nearly in tears, I called him and he saw me the next day. Four weeks later I delivered a healthy baby in under an hour with no medications. I went on to deliver two more over the years, and I never forgot how that one comment lead me to the most amazing and significant physician in my family’s life (other than my husband).
Today, this kind of information is all over the internet. People are much quicker to post negative comments than positive ones. So why don’t more physicians regularly google themselves? And more importantly, why don’t they get their names out there so the rest of us can learn about them? I recently read through some statistics from case studies conducted by Dr. Sikorski. They were eye-opening.
100% of patients googled doctors when they were considering elective procedures, or had been referred to a specialist.
A hospital realized their less-than-appealing doctor reviews were over 4 years old. When they had new reviews in place, the hospital immediately saw a 20% increase in patients.
Advertising costs decreased by average of 50% while case volumes increased by average of 120% every time the doctors were featured as opposed to the hospital/practice brand
I spent the better part of yesterday searching for a new primary care physician who was knowledgeable in bio-identical hormones. My experience echoed the above stats. Four physicians had reviews posted but they are all dated prior to 2007 (a lot of good that does me). The rest had no digital footprint besides the practice name and address.
In today’s age of social media, physicians shouldn’t count on patients finding them and booking appointment. They should be out there educating us on when we should seek them out, telling us why they are the right choice, and giving us resources to keep us on track with healthy lifestyle choices. Is that too much to ask?
Check out this Pediatric website.