I recall one of my Lagos experiences late 2014, when one hero gave her life for the sake of other Nigerians, during the Ebola outbreak; I was in a commercial bus heading back to Ketu from Oshodi when the driver and his bus conductor began to haggle.
‘Oga, enter inside close door na!, Na wetin?’ [Enter the bus and close the door, Is there a problem with that?]
Usually, commercial buses in Lagos had their conductors hanging at the door whilst the vehicle was still in motion. This made the traffic authorities to sanction them: anyone caught in this unsafe act may forfeit business for the day, in addition to a fine.
‘Oga! I nor dey enter. LATSMA nor fit make me come die. Ebola dey! Abi you nor hear am?’ [Sir! I can’t enter this bus. The fear of LATSMA will not make me lose my life. There’s an outbreak of Ebola, or have you not heard about it?] The conductor replied.
[LATSMA stands for Lagos State Traffic Management Authority.]
Where you hear that one from? [What is the source of this information?]’
‘See you! You get big phone but you nor dey use am?’ [You have a phone that is internet-enabled, but you do not use it]
‘No insult me, just enter inside bus siddon. I take God beg you! [Don’t insult me, just enter the vehicle and take a seat. I beg you in God’s name]
‘Egbon, I dey tell you o! One woman and some other people dem die for Obalende last week o, because their body been touch another man body. I not wan try am for this Lagos. Na me be the only son of my papa. I never wan die’ [Brother, I am telling you the truth! A woman and some other died in a hospital in Obalende last week, because their bodies came in contact with another man’s body. I won’t try it again in Lagos. I am the only son of my parents, I don’t want to die yet]
‘How you take know? Nor be me and you dey work here last week?’ [How do you know? Were we not at work together throughout last week?]
‘Your phone get Facebook but you nor dey use am. No worry, when I enter Facebook, I go show you picture plus wetin all them doctor for we country don dey talk for this matter.’ [Your phone has the Facebook app, but you are not using it. Don’t worry, I will show you the pictures as soon as I log in. You will also know what the medics in Nigeria are saying about this]
This conversation gives life to the goals of social media marketing. Marketing is involved because it is a summation of activities involved in attracting, engaging and converting our target audiences into loyal followers (or customers) of what your brand represents and your mission.
This is foreign to some health care providers who seem to be strict with the health care regulations. Rules are made for man. If men were made for rules, there would have been so much counter-information on social platforms without any proof. If we lived by the law strictly, much more people would have been lost by the concentrated salt-water bath and drink that took the lives of a few during the Ebola scourge.
With a little digress here and there; I hope to drive home these goals, effortlessly. In 2014, a study carried out by the AIS Media Incorporated, in the United States revealed that 59% of adults search for health information online. 39% used the internet to figure out what medical condition they had- online diagnosis. 53% of online diagnosers asked for feedback by talking with a clinician about what they found. 41% of online diagnosers had their conditions confirmed by a clinician. All these searched promoted traffic to the sites that had the right content and stories for use by the readers.
In another of their study, 90% of patients in the US, trust medical information shared by peers on social media. 41% say social media will affect their choice of a specific health care provider or facility.
Let’s Zone this down to Nigeria. In Nigeria, statistics, show that we have a total population of over 180 million people, out of which 92 million people are Internet users. Other facts have it that 16 million of these people are Facebook users. Every day, 7.2 million Nigerians log in to Facebook, whilst 6.9 million people are actively online every day.
If you own a Facebook page, you will notice that if you can target at least 1.1 million Nigerians between the ages of 18 to 65 who are interested in the healthcare industry. This excludes all other keywords like healthy living, lifestyle, and so on.
By another insight through Facebook page audiences, a Non-Governmental Organization that wants to raise an awareness campaign on diabetes mellitus will reach out to 456,000 Nigerians via Facebook.
Hence, healthcare providers seeking the need to promote healthy living have multiple opportunities to do so through social media platforms that suit their goals.
It also implies that with effective campaigns, a pharmaceutical industry can sell one hand sanitizer each to over a million Nigerians who are interested in hygiene.
All these instances draw us back to why Nigerian healthcare brands should embrace social media.