Describe your understanding of Social Media and the Technology tools it Involves

Social Media

Describe your understanding of social media and the technology tools it involves.

Social media relates to use of social technology tools in creating and enhancing human interactions, which may be for purposes of commerce, entertaining, educating or sharing of content generated by users (Mayfield, 2012). The technological tools in social medial are used to build an association between individuals with related interests, for instance, in marketing, it gives marketers a voice and a way to communicate with peers, consumers, and potential customers (Thackeray, Neiger, Hanson, and McKenzie, 2010). One characteristic of social media is that it encompasses a wide range of formats for its content. For instance, text, audio, pictures, and video, allow interactions across one or more platforms through social media sharing, email and feeds, allows one to one to many, many to many and real time communications, it take place through computers, tablets or mobile phones (Vance, Howe & Dellavalle, 2009).

The most commonly used types of social media are Facebook, which is a free popularly used social networking website where registered users can create profiles, upload videos and photos, send messages, and keep in touch with other registered users (Lenhart, Purcell, Smith, and Zickuhr, 2010). Individuals using the Internet spend more time on facebook social site than any other website (Terry, 2009). Twitter is a social cite that provides free micro blogging service to registered users to relay tweets, which are short posts. Members can broadcast tweets as well as follow other users’ tweets by using a number of platforms and devices (Terry, 2009). Google plus is a Google’s project social networking site where people can interact offline (Lenhart et al., 2010), Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia that is a free page containing open content developed by joint efforts of a group of users called Wikipedia’s, According to Eyrich, Padman, and Sweetser (2010). LinkedIn is specifically designed for business community to allow registered members to launch and document people’s network they know and trust professionally (Vance et al., 2009).

Debate the pros and cons of using social media in healthcare marketing, including any ethical, legal, and security issues that should be considered.

Social Media plays a big part in health care; they are used in healthcare campaigns, especially focusing on end consumers (Mangold and Faulds, 2009). Social media use for marketing purposes in health care may result in some benefits or drawback to the consumers or the healthcare organizations (Terry, 2009). Social media allow for quick dissemination of medical information where healthcare organizations are provided with an opportunity to demonstrate good leadership in healthcare topics that are most important today using their marketing departments (Grier and Bryant, 2011). Social media can help to disseminate accurate and actionable medical information on topics, such as diabetes, allergies, and geriatric medicine to not only participate in improving general health but also increase patient rosters and bottom line results (Terry, 2009).

The other benefit is promote access of patients across vast distances such that health care organizations can provide quality care to individuals not only in their own locality but also to people in far way places who may not have access to medical care in their locality (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010). Social media is a mechanism for controlling costs since it is one of the most effective ways to promote messages in marketing unlike other methods that may be expensive (Gilbert and Karahalios, 2009). The collaborative nature of social media assists companies in healthcare to find out customers sentiments around their brands so that they can react appropriately. They also use social media to build brand awareness, prove their undefeated leadership, and innovate (Terry, 2009).

However, there are some drawbacks, which may arise from use of social media in the promotion of healthcare brands and activities if not well monitored. Privacy concerns for health care organizations may arise due to the open nature of social media (Hastings and Haywood, 2009). The violations of set guidelines and privacy policies can result in stiff penalties and this may make the organizations shy from utilizing social media in marketing, especially if they have also not created social media policies of their own. Lack of training and knowledge in using social media by the marketing department staffs may expose healthcare organizations to risks. This is because they may post their messages without following the proper guidelines and policies resulting in legal and ethical issues (Terry, 2009).

Social media limits the kind of information that can be disseminated to other individuals since it is unethical to provide information about other patients who may not give their consent (Walsh, Rudd, Moeykens and Moloney, 2012). Use of social medial in marketing may result in social stigma for patients who also participate in promotion of health care messages and services. Organizations face ethical dilemma to promote themselves using their patients even if consent is obtained from them (Hastings and Haywood, 2009).

Explain the reasons why you would or would not utilize social media in addition to traditional marketing tactics.

Utilize both social media and traditional marketing tactics in marketing produces better results. This is because social media as well as traditional marketing are essential to effectively move though the four main concepts of successful marketing (Gilbert and Karahalios, 2009) The concepts dictate that marketers need to get customers attention, create interest in the product, build desire in them for the product, and  lead them to take the action of purchasing (Terry, 2009). The way the two methods are integrated in a marketing strategy is also very important. Traditional marketing help in engaging customers and build continued brand loyalty; social medial provides the right tools to exposes the products or services to potential customers.


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