There are tens of thousands of health communities online, ranging from the most-visited health websites (WebMD, Drugs.com, National Institutes of Health, etc.), to user-run sites focussed on a single topic or disease.
Whether they’re big commercial endeavors or small sites providing support and information to a specific group, members and visitors to these online health communities want the same things: relevant, credible information and a way to connect with other people with similar questions or conditions.
As a healthcare company, should you consider sharing your knowledge and expertise through the creation of an online healthcare community?
It all depends on your marketing and business goals
If your objectives include educating, sharing information and building goodwill with specific stakeholder groups, then an online community offers a targeted way to achieve your objectives.
But before you jump in, keep in mind that launching a full-fledged online community is a big commitment in terms of resources and time. And probably the worst thing you can do is to launch one, but fail to keep it updated. If you look at the information needs of your target groups, they likely would prefer something more targeted anyway. Rather than trying to meet the needs of all your stakeholders with a big-budget initiative, think specific and targeted.