In Monday’s post, we shared a new resource presenting some data about the growing importance of social media to businesses in the healthcare industry.
Today we take a look at a company that’s been feeding the public’s craving for online healthcare information since its inception … and moved into the socialverse without skipping a beat: WebMD.
Founded in 1996 by Jim Clark and Pavan Nigam as Healthscape, WebMD has become synonymous with objective, reliable healthcare information. Early in 2011, WebMD’s network of sites reaches an average of 86.4 million visitors per month, solidifying its status the leading health portal in the United States. (Source: Wikipedia)
So it was only natural that America’s favorite online source for healthcare info would slide into Web 2.0 with ease … and it hasn’t disappointed.
Just yesterday, WebMD topped the 100,000-follower mark on Facebook. And the rest of its numbers are equally impressive:
- 100,145 fans
- 3,713 talking about this (comments, likes, shares on individual posts over the last 7 days)
- 352,598 followers
- 48,000 retweets and 3,500 mentions in the last 90 days
- 5,371 channel views
- 220 subscribers
So what’s the secret of WebMD’s social success? Here are a few that came to our attention:
Leverage timely topics
Recently popular Food Network personality Paula Deen announced publicly that she had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. WebMD turned the announcement into an opportunity to address public questions about diabetes and highlight other celebrities who are living with the disease.
Go beyond the obvious
You might not see an obvious connection between the Super Bowl and health, but WebMD did—in the form of healthy snack recipies for gametime noshing:
Use Twitter mentions and hashtags strategically
Notice that WebMD not only included three timely hashtags in the above tweet, but also mentioned the official Twitter handle of the NFL? That makes for some crazy Twitter search mojo, folks.
Write posts from the reader’s point of view
Some of the topics WebMD covers can be a little dry and less-than-appealing on their own … but frame them around the reader’s interests and you’ve got yourself a shareworthy post:
So, what takeaways do you see in WebMD’s crazy success on the social Web? Share your thoughts in the comments—we’d love to hear from you!
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