At a Glance
- Facebook and Instagram are primary social media tools, including for healthcare.
- 78% of users access social media exclusively on phones, mobile-optimized content is essential.
- Responsive and genuine engagement support positive online interactions and brand recommendations.
Nearly every demographic — and marketing strategy — uses social media. Here are social media insights to consider when creating your medical marketing plan.
Social media is a powerful communication tool, as demonstrated by its ability to influence, educate, and inform prospective customers across a variety of industries. From consumer products and real estate to political campaigns, technology, and beyond, social media is an integral tactic in any marketer’s toolbox.
If you’re skeptical about how social media can support your practice’s marketing strategy, here are some powerful healthcare social media statistics to consider.
9 social media statistics for healthcare practices
1. More than 75% of people use at least one social media platform
Globally, the number of social media users is forecasted to reach 5.85 billion by 2027, according to Demand Sage. The US is in the top 3 countries with the most social media users, at over 302 million. Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) have now been around for nearly two decades. Add in massively frequented platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, and practices have options to connect with patients in meaningful and engaging ways.
2. Facebook is the most widely used social media platform
Facebook is the most-visited social media platform in the United States, according to Forbes. It commands 53% of all social media site visits in the country. While checking their feed for the latest on family and friends, users often engage with millions of small businesses that use Facebook. According to a 2023 report from Datareportal, Facebook users spend nearly 20 hours per month on the platform. Given these numbers, there continues to be a huge opportunity for healthcare practices to inform, educate, and connect with both current and prospective patients.
3. Nearly three-quarters of marketers feel social media is effective
If your practice is working with a limited marketing budget, it’s critical to know which of your marketing tactics are the most effective. One of the many benefits of social media marketing over traditional channels is the ability to track your campaigns’ results and progress — this offers greater insight into your social media return on investment.
Practices using social media can track the number of users reached with each post, their level of engagement (clicks, likes), how many people visited their website or booked an appointment as a result, and much more. 73% of marketers believe that their social media marketing efforts have been “somewhat effective” or “very effective,” according to Wyzowl.
4. Nearly 80% of social media time is mobile
The most common way people access social media is on a mobile device. 99% use a tablet or smartphone to connect to social media, while 78% do so exclusively from their phones, according to Forbes. This highlights the importance of creating mobile-friendly social media content. That means making your posts that short, sweet and to the point. Likewise, the most engaging type of content is short-form videos. Typically less than a minute in length, videos capture the attention of 66% of consumers.
Finally, since the goal of most social media posts is to convert readers and followers into patients via your website, this reaffirms the need for a website that is either mobile-optimized or mobile-responsive. That’s the only way to ensure a clear, satisfying experience for patients who visit your site via their mobile device.
5. 92% of Americans who use Instagram follow a business
With an Instagram account, you can feature physicians, facilities, services you offer, and any visually appealing content that won’t play as well on other channels.
If your specialty lends itself to visual storytelling — aesthetics, plastic surgery, dermatology, weight loss — then Instagram is a must. Its light tone and quick video snippets make it easy to engage with your followers, and can help prospective patients get to know your brand and services in an interactive way.
6. Users spend nearly 49 minutes per day on YouTube
The average time a US user spends on YouTube could increase to 48.7 minutes daily in 2024, according to Oberlo. That’s close to an hour spent on what people too often perceive as time-wasting videos of silly animals, pranks, and stunts. But with a staggering variety of videos, YouTube can be a source of education. Why not bring meaningful information to your prospective patients? Healthcare practices that use YouTube can connect with followers, patients, and prospective patients on a more personal level.
Common healthcare practice approaches for YouTube content include:
- “Meet the provider” videos
- Office and facility tours
- “Day in the life” physician or provider stories
- Patient stories or testimonials
- Educational videos or vlogs that answer patients’ most frequently asked questions
For providers who offer unique or highly specialized services, YouTube can be a powerful tool to introduce your practice to patients who may not otherwise make their way to your website.
7. More than 70% of consumers who have a positive brand experience on social media are likely to recommend that brand
Healthcare practices that engage with social media followers and respond to comments, mentions, and messages show customers that they care about building meaningful relationships, according to Reputation X.
Take that opportunity to show off your connected practice. Treat social media comments, questions, direct messages, reviews, and feedback just as you would when speaking with a patient in person or on the phone. This increases your chances of scoring a personal recommendation so you can continually improve your online reputation and grow your practice.
8. 70% of people watch Instagram stories daily
Just when healthcare practices figured out the social media basics, the Stories format on Instagram and Facebook took over. Stories has played an integral role on Instagram for more than a decade. In 2023, Stories has 500 million active daily users, according to SocialPilot.
Healthcare practices can use the fast-moving Stories option to give followers a quick look within the practice, feature patients (with permission, of course) or providers, or highlight new services or equipment. When it comes to Stories, creativity is the name of the game. But remember that Stories disappear after 24 hours unless you add them to your highlights reel.
9. More than 150 million users message businesses on Instagram each month
The rise of direct messaging on social media has created yet another avenue for patients and prospective patients to connect with your healthcare practice. Don’t ignore them. Millions of people talk directly with businesses through direct messages each month, and a third of those messages begin with an Instagram story, according to Instagram.
Check your messages regularly and respond promptly, just as you would after receiving a voicemail or patient portal message. As with the tips in number 7, this level of connection can help you improve the patient experience and maintain a positive online reputation.
Since most experts assume that social media use will increase, you may find your practice receiving more patient inquiries with time. Consider delegating the responsibility of monitoring and responding to comments to a practice staff member with a great track record for delivering exceptional customer service and prompt response times.
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75% of people look online to find a doctor. Patients take a critical look at web presence, online business profiles, and reviews when they decide to pick a health provider. Learn where your practice should be online in the 2023 Patient Perspectives report.