The hospital network in Sri Lanka is comprised of major Government hospitals, military hospitals, Ayurveda institutes, clinics and medical centres. In our series of reviews, we next take a look at Sri Lankan healthcare industry social media marketing: the content they post and the interaction they have with fans.
Durdan’s Hospital has an official Facebook page with 250 Likes. The content of the page focuses on promoting the services of the hospital, as well as highlighting events through photo albums. It is evident that the hospital is using Facebook as a means of social media marketing, with the aim of exposing its facilities and reaching a wider audience.
Hemas Hospital, situated in Wattala, has a highly active Facebook page which is updated several times a week. The content focuses on photo albums of recently held events, article snapshots, notices and health tips. The page has over 1,700 followers and the posts attract a fair amount of Likes.
Grandpass Maternity and Nursing Home, also known as Sulaiman’s Hospital, uploads photo albums of events and newly born babies. The page has a separate album named ‘Babies born at Sulaiman’s Hospital’ which is updated with photographs of new arrivals. It is evident that the hospital is focused on marketing their core service – maternity care and childbirth – through social media and maintaining a photo album for it is an applaudable practice. The hospital page has almost 500 Likes, and provides all the contact details and other information of the hospital.
Nawaloka Hospitals, one of the most prominent hospitals in the island, has a Facebook page that is updated a few times a month. The page has over 600 Likes and contains photographs, illustrations and links to articles that highlight the hospital’s facilities and events.
Vasan Eye Care Hospital’s Facebook page is updated a few times a week with posts about recent events and hospital services. The Facebook page of Wathupitiwala Base Hospital contains photo albums of recently held events while Castle Street Hospital’s Facebook page is updated with photographs and videos.
The Paediatric Unit of Sri Jayawardenepura General Hospital has its own Facebook page which is updated monthly with photographs relating to hospital events. Lady Ridgeway Hospital maintains a Facebook page that is updated with photo albums and video clips.
National Hospital of Sri Lanka, being the country’s leading medical institution, has a Facebook page which is inactive at present. The page has not been updated since June 2011. For a hospital that plays a huge role in many people’s lives and in the health aspects of society, the effort put into social media is disappointing. One could argue that social media marketing for a Government institution that most people know about may be a waste but letting the general public know about announcements, recent events, facilities and related information would be an added advantage for the image of the hospital. Social media platforms could also be used to respond to fan queries, in case of a need or emergency.
Other inactive profiles when considering healthcare industry social media marketing include the Facebook pages of Colombo South Teaching Hospital, Asiri Surgical Hospital and Ratnam’s Private Hospital, which have hardly been updated since they were set up. The Facebook pages of National Eye Hospital and Teaching Hospital Gampola are inactive at this stage while both the Facebook and Twitter pages of Western Hospital have not been updated since February 2011.
Lanka Hospital, formerly known as Apollo Hospital, was found to have a YouTube channel but it has not been updated for over a year. It is evident, through this analysis, that there’s high participation on Facebook while only two hospitals were found to be on Twitter and YouTube. It would be worthwhile if hospitals embraced other social media platforms, which would help them increase their popularity and reach a different spectrum of internet users.
It is also noteworthy that leading hospitals such as Asiri, Central Hospital, Ceylinco Healthcare Services, Joseph Frazer Memorial Hospital, New Delmon Hospital, Oasis Hospitals do not presently have any social media engagement whatsoever. This is a failure on their part to realize the power of social media marketing and to use it to spread their message and reach wider audiences.
This study showcases that healthcare industry social media marketing in Sri Lanka has lots of room for improvement, from expanding to more social media channels to embracing social media marketing altogether. The few hospitals maintaining Facebook pages are focused on marketing their facilities and services, and it is up to them to expose those pages more and gather more audience. The remaining hospitals would do themselves a huge favour by grasping social media, which could result in more exposure, more clients, and more business for the institutions.
This article reviewed the social media usage in the healthcare industry of our island nation. Our next study looks into the social media usage of the healthcare industry in other parts of the world; their practices and marketing methods, and analyzes how Sri Lanka matches up to them.