For the past few decades, the world has progressed rapidly, in particular, in health communications. Moreover, it developed from being a one-dimensional aspect of public service pronouncements to an additional complex multi-dimensional approach. Undoubtedly, It focuses on popular strategies which are utilized by commercialized marketers popularly known as “Social Marketing.” It is a type of marketing designed not to specifically help a brand but to generate social or behavioural change. So, it raises the awareness of a problem using traditional marketing techniques.

Additionally, this consumer focus involves the study and constant reassessment of each and every aspect of the social marketing programme. So, benefitting the public is always the centre of attention. Nowadays, social networking platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, have become the main source of information. To conclude, social networking has been an important part of the marketing and communication strategies of many health-care organizations. It is a perfect mean to keep individuals, communities and healthcare organisations linked even though physically separated.

SOCIAL MARKETING

In short, Social marketing is the best way to spread information. Conversely, if it’s COVID-19 news from specific states or national news or information on drugs its treatment etc., social networks take the message where it’s going to need to. Not only are we learning the latest news alerts with the foundation of social networking sites in the 21st century, in addition, but we are also using sites such as Facebook and Twitter to provide personal and business updates. Social media also educates us about the clinical manifestations of many diseases, in turn, saving many lives.

Social marketing acts as a source of information in the healthcare industry. Moreover, it provides information to the patients and their representatives regarding the outcomes of disease. Many healthcare organizations rely upon social media as a part of marketing their services. There are many advantages in the healthcare sector due to social marketing which are as follows:

  • Educate the patients better as they are health care consumers
  • Lowering barriers to access online health services and information
  • Patients take a more involved part in their own health decisions
  • Adults would possibly share their health information and experiences through the use of social networks
  • Experts believe it increases the patient’s quality of care
  • The health-care system is more open in terms of outcomes, costs and benefit
  • Greater trust results from successful patient-provider relationships
  • Social marketing promotes mark appreciation and prestige for organization and uniqueness
  • The time and gap between doctors and patients under isolation is shrinking

WHAT IS SOCIAL MARKETING?

Jessica Hun defined social marketing as a method of marketing which is designed to create a social change but not to directly benefit a brand. Using the techniques of traditional marketing, it raises the awareness of a given problem or a cause, and it aims to convince the customers to change their behaviours. Rather than selling a product, social marketing sells a behaviour which benefits the society to create the desired change. During the 1970s, Philip Kotler and Gerald Zaltman realized that the marketing principles used to sell products could be used to “sell” ideas, and behaviours. Social marketing is defined by Kotler and Andreasen as a different form of marketing from other marketing areas only in terms of the marketer’s and his or her organization’s objectives.

CONCEPTS IN SOCIAL MARKETING THEORY

The concept of social marketing is a mass theory of communication promoting valuable information and accepted behaviours. For promoting communication and for the benefit of the society, it integrates marketing principles, tools & techniques. Into the following types, we classify social marketing:  

  • Operational Social Marketing
  • Strategic Social Marketing

Operational Social Marketing

To generate the behavioural change we design Operational social marketing. It raises awareness for a problem using traditional marketing techniques and focuses to persuade an audience to change their behaviour.

Strategic Social Marketing

To invent new strategies for development we design Strategic social marketing. It increases the awareness of a problem using traditional marketing techniques and focuses to persuade the audience to change their behaviour.

COMPONENTS OF SOCIAL MARKETING

Social marketing involves research and reassessment of every element of the programme. Benefitting the public is always the centre of attention. Its theory is a framework that helps to plan, design and evaluate campaigns by sharing information as to its main objective. Instead of trusting public service pronouncements, as in the past, it uses creativity to give out information. We prepare Information and distribute it as per a plan to allow sharing and outcome. There are four major components of social marketing. We use it as social marketing techniques which are:

  1. Product
  2. Price
  3. Place
  4. Promotion

PRODUCT

The Product in social marketing isn’t a physical offer. There is a continuum of products, ranging from tangible, physical products like condoms, to services like medical examinations, practices such as breastfeeding, ORT or a heart-healthy diet and finally more intangible ideas such as environmental protection. The goal achieved by social marketing is the development of sustainable products which benefits society. To have a genuine product, the persons must explain that they really are in problem and offering the product to them is a good solution. The role of the study here is to discover the perceptions of people about the problem and its product and to understand its importance.

PRICE

In social marketing, Price is what the customer will pay for receiving the offering. Prices could be monetary or non-monetary. The Monetary price is the selling amount of the commodity that benefits the community. The Non-monetary prices are the social costs and psychological costs such as changing habit. If the price is low, then the effect will be deeper.

PLACE

This defines manner via which the product is provided to the customer and is also where one can find the population. It is the region where social marketing will be most productive. It is the site of distribution of product, where the changes are accepted. If the place is easily available, the campaign is successful. For a tangible product, this refers to the delivery method, including the warehouse, vans, staff, stores where it’s sold or locations where it’s delivered free of charge. For an intangible product, the place is not well described but refers to decisions about the networks where customers are reached by information delivery.

PROMOTION

In social marketing, Promotion is a way information is made available. Many of the techniques are used. Advertising, the use of charts and documentaries along with public relations, entertainment and media advocacy are used as a means of the promotion of the services provided by Social Marketing. For promoting it in a better mean requires creativity. Due to its prominence, Promotion is sometimes wrongly assumed to constitute social marketing.

It includes a systematic usage of advertisements, media lobbying, sales, and means of transport for entertainment. The attention is on generating and supporting product demand. Public service pronouncements or advertisements are away but other methods are available such as a coupon, media event and editorials are used which helps in the awareness of the audience for the organisation’s social marketing campaign.

SOCIAL MEDIA: A MARKETING PLATFORM

Social networking is designed to allow people the opportunity to easily gain information and communicate. Such resources are used by healthcare providers to exchange information with customers in several ways, such as sharing information on vaccines and advice for cold prevention. Sharing reports about diseases is an important way for patients to get reliable information from healthcare facilities. Healthcare administrators use social media to gain insight into the programs they deliver and overall customer satisfaction by spending time assessing their rivals. To collect input and enhance efficiency, social media will provide doctors with individual responses to help them understand reactions to drugs and overall patient data. By this, freely available information on social networking sites helps healthcare providers to learn from the patient’s responses and to adapt accordingly. Healthcare practitioners do have the ability to assess the likelihood of new programs in the sector by following reviews on those pages.

So, in times of crisis, social networking sites usage had increased for providing consumers with details. Hospitals may provide real-time information about availability, clinical status and emergency room access by it. Having a social media presence helps healthcare workers interact with the information provided by organisations like the Red Cross and the Centres for Disease Control. Social Media acts as a marketing platform in the following ways:

  • Information on Diseases, its clinical manifestations, management and treatment could be provided on websites
  • These websites could be promoted by Social Networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram & Twitter
  • Another method is by creating an awareness video and uploading on YouTube which can be viewed by many people
  • Running online Ads, Commercials, Posts, Stories, Videos etc. can be done for the marketing of healthcare standards by Social Media

Also Read: Role of Social Media in the awareness of COVID – 19

MARKETING MIX STRATEGY

We develop The Marketing Mix Strategy by considering all the Pillars of Social marketing such as the product, price, place & promotion. Considering an example of a campaign for the screening of older women on breast cancer includes the following elements:

  • It can result in the following three behaviours:
    • Having an Annual Mammogram
    • Visiting a doctor for a breast examination each year
    • On a monthly bases, do Self-examinations of the breast.
  • The price of these behaviours includes the mammogram and the examination’s monetary costs, discomfort and embarrassment.
  • The Public that you may need to address include your target audience, people influencing their decisions like their husbands or doctors, policymakers, local radio station public service directors, as well as your board of directors and office staff.
  • Partnerships with local or national women’s groups, corporate sponsors, medical organisations, service clubs, and media outlets could be cultivated.
  • Government grants, such as from the National Cancer Institute or the Local Health Department, foundation grants or an organization like the American Cancer Society, can be the purse strings, or where the funding will come from.

SOCIAL MARKETING SITES FOR HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS

In general, according to Lee Ventola, as social networking develop, medically focus professional groups have been established. Funding sources for such sites differ, with financial support mostly given by professional societies, advertisement or data sales, research funding, and pharmaceutical companies. There are many websites which provide information to the doctors, physicians, nurses, pharmacists and even to the patients or consumers. We describe some of them below:

  • Sermo is a website “only for physicians” which verifies new member’s qualifications during registration. It consists of a message board upon which doctors establish discussion topics. It also provides a rating system by which doctors rank posts on the site based on perceived credibility.
  • Doximity is a newer “physicist-only” social networking platform that provides text and photos that comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which allows for crowdsourcing of point-of-care information. It uses a nationwide database to build demographic “placeholder” accounts and contact details for all US physicians
  • The site ‘s services include a robust library, discussion groups, calendar updates, and warnings. The platform also offers dedicated groups for medical directors working in a wide variety of fields, including hospital, veteran services, medicare, private practice, employer, mental health, managed care, correctional facilities, and long-term care.
  • Moreover, there are a few social networking sites for pharmacists, too. Such sites include ASHP Connect (www.connect.ashp.org), funded by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists; PharmQD (www.pharmqd.com); and The Pharmacist Society (www.pharmacistsociety.com).16 Skilled nursing networking forums include ANANurseSpace (www.ananursespace.org), NursingLink (www.nursinglink.com).

CONCLUSION

Not to specifically help a brand but to generate the social or behavioural change we design. It increases awareness on a problem using traditional marketing techniques and intends to persuade the audience to change their behaviour. In general, Nowadays, social networking platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, have become the main source of information. So, Social networking has been an important part of the marketing and communication strategies of many health-care organizations. It is a perfect mean to keep individuals, communities and healthcare organisations linked even though physically separated. So, Social marketing acts as a source of information in the healthcare industry as it provides information to the patients and their representatives regarding the outcomes of disease.

On the whole, Product, Price, Place & Promotion are the Four major components use as social marketing techniques. The Marketing Mix Strategy is a strategy considering all the Pillars of Social marketing such as the product, price, place & promotion. Moreover, to easily access information and communicate with others they design social networking to allow people the opportunity. So, Healthcare providers use resources and services to exchange information with customers.