Social media has given the healthcare industry a whole new outlook on how to communicate and interact with audiences. There has been a gold rush-like attitude toward social media in healthcare without due diligence to determine what the goals and strategies for a social media campaign might be.
However, not all social media vehicles may be well-suited for healthcare. Facebook is great for children’s hospitals around the country, as noted in an Alert Presence blog entry. And Twitter works wonders for HR recruitment. But what about Foursquare or Gowalla, the up and coming GPS-based social media programs? What need could those tools serve in healthcare?
Relatively new in the social media arena, Foursquare, launched in March 2009, is a location-based networking site and software for mobile phones. Users of the application “check-in” at different venues and are awarded points and “badges” each time they do so. If an individual chooses, “check-ins” and comments from Foursquare can be tied into Twitter and Facebook accounts to be shared with friends in other social networks. The more times an individual “checks-in”, the more points and “badges” awarded. And while, in the early days, points and “badges” did not get you anything other than bragging rights among friends, many businesses (from restaurants to movie theaters to gyms) are beginning to see the value in Foursquare and are offering discounts and special offers to their loyal Foursquare followers.
Foursquare does have an impressive presence for only being for a year and a half old. But who’s using it? Primarily young, single males. Not exactly the primary audience for the healthcare industry.
So, you tell me: Do you see opportunities for using Foursquare or Gowalla in healthcare?