Gunther Eysenbach, editor of the Journal of Medical Internet Research, defines e-health as “an emerging field in the intersection of medical informatics, public health and business, referring to health services and information delivered or enhanced through the Internet and related technologies” (2001). While the term was initially created to cover topics such as electronic health records, telemedicine, consumer health informatics, and mobile health, the recent popularity of social media extends this term to companies’ use of social media for health purposes. According to the National Research Corp.’s Ticker survey, about one in five Americans uses social media websites for healthcare information.
Twitter is one of the most rapidly growing social media websites, with an expected growth of about 26% among US Adult users between 2010 to 2011 (Verna, 2011). Advertisers and marketers are taking advantage, creating their own Twitter usernames to communicate with current customers or using promoted tweets to attract new customers. Marketers boast about their number of followers, how many times they were re-tweeted, or use small “nudges” to push people towards a desired action. But despite all the hype, is social media actually an effective marketing solution for healthcare? Do all these behavioral metrics (i.e., likes, follows, fans, re-tweets) actually result in an increase in action?
In the fast-moving and evolving world of social media, research is needed to understand the usefulness and effectiveness of social media advertising in healthcare. The hypothesis of this study is that sending healthcare product-related messages with targeted language to consumers via social media is an effective means of increasing purchase interest. This research will use Twitter as its social media proxy because it is currently one of the most talked-about social media sites, and is also one of the easiest and most cost effective types of social media for a company to engage in.
Kim has been with BuzzBack for over 3 years, working with fortune100 companies in the CPG, food and beverage and technology industries. She has executed numerous exploratory studies, A&Us, concept evaluations, naming tests, and IHUTs. Kim has a particular interest in concept optimization and consumer language profiling. In 2011, Kim was an ARF Great Mind Rising Star Certificate Winner. Prior to working at BuzzBack, Kim was in online media planning at PHD. She has a B.A. in Communications from Boston College.