Over the last year, we’ve seen digital and social mature more than any year before. What I mean by mature is not just the number of users on social platforms (that was set into endless motion in years past), but the increased specialization we’re seeing within each platform. For example, Twitter as a news/media channel (for reporters/clients), Facebook as a place to share passions and interests (disease awareness) and YouTube as a way to educate. Most of all, the people using these channels want share.
More importantly, the power of digital has been a focus in the past year and it has become much more than an obligatory piece of a communications strategy. In many ways, it is both the foundation and the glue that gives an initiative the power to succeed, living as the backbone of an integrated marking, advertising and public relations ecosystem. What initiative doesn’t have a website as the main destination? How many times have we seen social media, mobile apps and video as part of an integrated campaign? We should also recognize that social media is just one pillar of digital communications. Reaching an audience through the many digital channels they spend hours a day on (social, mobile, video, etc…) is key, and what’s essential to success is providing the right resources to inform, educate and change behavior once you reach them.
One major mindset change we’ve witnessed is that very few in the healthcare industry continue question the value of digital/social. Now it’s up to us to find and guide our clients to create the digital assets needed to meet the needs of people affected by many very different disease states.
2011 saw the beginning of the inevitable incorporation of digital into our everyday lives, a trend that is growing stronger in 2012. Sure we’ve always talked and texted on our phones, most are even checking their email now, but iOS and Android are powerful platforms that only scratch the surface of potential in digital communications.
Our mobile devices allow us to consume information during times when we normally couldn’t be reached – waiting in line or traveling, we’re even using our devices while consuming other forms of entertainment, like TV. The explosion of mobile device use, coupled with the development of engaging content in apps, videos, augmented reality and even applying the principles of gaming in healthcare for behavior change, means we’re just getting started.