The future of social media marketing

Where do we go from here?

We’ve learned a lot about what social networking can and cannot do for healthcare marketing. We’ve seen creative solutions that have leveraged the best of social media potential to create memorable and effective marketing campaigns. We’ve seen half-baked, disconnected social attempts flop without making a ripple. And we’ve all gained a great deal of wisdom and experience, but what’s ahead for social media marketing? Where will social media marketing take us next year? In three years? How about ten years?

Let’s follow the trends and imagine some alternate futures in social media marketing for hospitals and healthcare providers.


Social media marketing 2013

Next year, hospital marketers will approach social media with more realistic expectations and therefore enjoy moderate successes across the board. Healthcare providers will become more sophisticated in social media communications, leveraging the social power of ‘movements’ instead of direct marketing. Hospitals that have natural, defined brands will find it easier to engage their customers through social channels.

The big news in 2013 will be that social media marketing will finally receive the financial support it deserves. Healthcare brands will realize that they can’t be social without delivering valuable, relevant content. Marketers will budget to create tools and resources that consumers will use and share, and video content that people will actually watch. Their plans will integrate social campaigns into overarching communication strategies, with attainable goals and systems in place to track their return on investment.

Social media marketing 2015

As social media becomes more ubiquitous, marketing delivered through social channels will become more interruptive and annoying to the user. In response, consumers will find ways to filter out marketing-heavy messages and ignore brands that aren’t sensitive to their desire for a social experience. Loud, noisy brands will be shunned.

Social media marketing 2022

In ten years, social media will become passive and automatic. As we move through our day, we’ll be notified of people, places and experiences around us. Most marketers will still be mystified about how to use this social platform as a selling medium, but some will find success creating entertainment- and content-driven messages.

Unfortunately, like today’s traditional advertising, the vast majority of social marketing will be interruptive and ineffective.