Social media can be device makers' best friends

August 31, 2010 by MassDevice

Social media offer the most flexible, rapid and transformative communications venue to communicate a medical device company's approach to accountable care and other issues.

Social media can be device makers' best friends

By John Smith

Business communications is in the midst of a radical transformation through the rapid emergence of social media — from self-publishing on blogs to instant communication on Twitter and networks like LinkedIn and Facebook. If managed correctly, social media can be harnessed as a powerful tool for business. If ignored, competitors will have a significant opportunity to gain an advantage. A medical device company should be ready to leverage social media to help clients build business and introduce and address issues, such as accountable care. Social media has become a necessary strategy in which managing ongoing execution and keeping ahead of this rapidly changing phenomenon will pay tremendous dividends.

Social media offers an immediate and direct communications channel for medical device companies to speak to its customers and other key audiences. Having a presence on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, in particular, gives device companies an opportunity to introduce, educate and comment on multiple issues affecting the industry, whether they be policy, product or competitive issues. Social media is a form of public relations and grew out of that discipline. But unlike traditional media relations which targets publications both online and offline, social media has the ability to access individuals directly and enable a device company to have one-on-one conversations with its key audiences. Discussion of the issue can be initiated from the company or the individual, and this interaction fosters a more personal relationship between company and client. This characteristic is particularly helpful in dealing with accountable care because each client will have different issues, different problems and details to address in order to achieve this goal. Social media allows medical device companies an almost consultative approach to its clients' problems, in addition to broadly educating them on accountable care.

LinkedIn, the first to gain widespread prominence and use, is primarily a business-oriented site designed to link colleagues of like-minded professions together, offering professional and industry insights, connections, as well as job searches. From the standpoint of building a reputation as an accountable care advocate, LinkedIn offers the ability to educate, in a more direct way, clients and industry players about a company's ability to move the accountable care mandate forward.