According to new data, people are using social media for health-related purposes. In fact, almost half of adult consumers said they did in 2012 and 2011. Are you one of them?
It’s no surprise that that almost half of U.S. pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies who were surveyed by KPMG said they planned to increase their use of social media with patients.
If you’re looking for a round-up of South by Southwest Interactive that highlights Grumpy Cat’s glorious presence in Austin, I’ll tell you right off the bat you’re going to be disappointed. Surprising as it is, the whirlwind festival and conference of music, technological advances, and all-around shenanigans did garner some non-feline buzz.
Each year, the health track of South by Southwest Interactive seems to grow. Could this be because health marketers are catching on to (and finally getting approval on) the opportunity to capture the attention of 28,000 attendees and massive media attention the conference garners? Possibly. Could it be because a wave of health-conscious advocacy has broken through to the mass public, becoming a trend across all generations? Maybe.
I wasn’t able to attend the conference in person, but I was intrigued by all this buzz about the “Quantified Self,” started by Gary Wolf in 2008.
It’s natural this tech-based conference would highlight advances in the mobile/digital app and gadget area, but this year’s big health theme went further than just an app to track how far you walk in a day. The “Quantified Self,” according to TIME reporter Alexandra Sifferlin, has emerged as a trend to track “every possible health measure, in real time” and relies on the convergence between data and technology.
Apps and gadgets go far past acting as high-tech pedometers or a social weight-loss circle; some this year include an arm band that tracks activity and sleep levels (and, by the way – is a FDA Class II medical device), an iPhone blood glucose meter, and a bra that can detect signs of breast cancers.
So will this movement actually catch on? A 2012 Pew study found that seven in ten U.S. adults track a health indicator for themselves or for a loved one, but only 11 percent of adults track their health using mobile apps. While this number rose two percent from 2011, you have to ask: Will there be a “tipping point” for the Quantified Self movement, or will people just move on?
The internet has seemingly changed the world. But how?
In one way, the WWW has empowered the public to be self-taught experts on anything, whether it be crafts via Pinterest or medicine via WebMD – where marketers should be if they want to reach 5 million stay-at-home moms (Pinterest) or 691,000 professional physicians/surgeons (WebMD).
Notably, there are approximately 2,405,518,376 internet users in the world.
According to this infographic, more women than men are active on social networks (56%) and email (65% ages 18-29).
Results also show that, in the online world, women are more interested in health than anything else including apparel, family and food.
How are you engaging women online?
According to a survey by Enspektos, a third of digital health consumers have encountered medical content on Pinterest, one of the world’s top social networking sites. And while the majority of users are female, an equal amount of men and women came across health information on the site. Enmoebius, the source of this infographic, argues that now is the time for health organizations to experiment on the site. There are certainly exciting opportunities for pharmaceutical or medical device companies to test out disease awareness or corporate campaigns on this relatively new platform.
More than 1 million women have joined The 2nd Talk (http://www.the2ndtalk.com/), the Poise brand’s program to establish a whole new way to talk about menopause and help women approach it with confidence as of World Menopause Day, the 29th annual day of recognition for hot flashes, night sweats and everything else menopausal. MMC announced the Poise brand news yesterday on World Menopause Day.
Taking a light-hearted approach to topics commonly considered uncomfortable, the Poise brand also took The 2nd Talk on the road with the Hot Flash Road Show starring comedic actresses Sherri Shepherd and Cloris Leachman. Click here to watch and share some hysterical skits from the show:.
Last week I saw a blog post about marketing to boomer women that sounded authoritative. But it told only half of a story. The author advised marketers targeting Boomer women to recognize them as proactive health managers, vital and active. She quoted an AARP study that found the vast majority of Boomer women said they feel confident they are doing all they can to keep themselves as healthy as possible. More than 80% said they considered their health good or better and 62% said they have regular medical checkups.
The other half of the story is that what women say they do…or what they want to do…isn’t always what they actually do. According to the American Heart Association, a very high percentage of boomer women (and men) have health conditions that are often preventable. Reporting on 2010 data, AHA says that 69.4% of women ages 55–64 are overweight or obese. More than a quarter of women age 55–64 have high cholesterol and more than half of women age 55–64 have high blood pressure. These symptoms of heart disease, the nation’s largest cause of death, can often be prevented by diet and exercise.
Boomers, like all other generations, may think they are as healthy as possible. But if you want to understand health consumers, it’s always worthwhile to compare what they think with what they do. In the end, you may end up speaking to them as “proactive health managers, vital and active.” But maybe you might throw in a soupçon of health prevention messages too.