Necessity, not novelty

Friday, August 23, 2013

It used to be caregivers who were online searching for a lift chair for Mom or a respiratory provider for Dad. But online demographics have changed drastically.

Sixty percent of adults 65-plus are online, and adults 50 to 65 years of age spend an average of 2.4 hours a day on Facebook. The fastest-growing demographic on Twitter—with 79% growth—is 55- to 66-year-olds.

These kinds of statistics show how critical it is for HME providers to create a robust online presence, says Jeremy Kauten, general manager of VGM Forbin. He’ll share more on this topic at Medtrade, and offered this preview.

HME News: What trends are you seeing in online marketing among HME providers?

Jeremy Kauten: Two years ago, our survey found that one-third of providers were not online, and today it’s not much different. Some think, “Why should I use these tools to market to ‘old people?’” They need to stop thinking of the demographic that way.

HME: Give me an example of what HME providers should be doing online?

Kauten: One provider we worked with did a drawing for an iPad to people who “liked” their Facebook page and went from zero to 1,000 likes. If a patient won one of their retail items, they would take a picture and tag them on Facebook. They started getting messages—“How do I get one of those?”

HME: How should they get started?

Kauten: Do an editorial calendar of posts. Getting started is the biggest hurdle. If you can hire an intern, a temp or a consultant to get it started, then keeping it running is easier. 

HME: What do you hope providers take away from your session?

Kauten: That they need to use Facebook to market their business. It’s not a novelty, it’s a marketing necessity.