Medical Expert Brand Awareness
Although I wasn't able to find direct evidence that on the brand awareness benefits medical experts gain by commenting on health-related topics that are not their specialty, I found indirect evidence that shows such commentary can be beneficial. The indirect evidence includes hospitals and clinics that have seen increased revenue by employing content strategy aimed at educating its patients; and doctors that have built a huge following because of their online presence and health-related advice not limited to their area of specialty. Below you will find more details.
After an extensive search, I wasn't able to find direct evidence that commenting on health-related issues outside a medical expert's specialty had any effect on brand awareness. This is likely because no such studies have been carried out, however, there are some indicators that show that commenting on health issues had positive brand awareness effects, regardless of if the medical expert specializes in that particular field or not.
Studies show that organizations can increase their visibility by using social media (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, YouTube) to share advice, content and other health-related information. In one of such studies, "57% of consumers said that a hospital’s social media presence would strongly influence their choice regarding where to go for services. A strong social media presence was also interpreted by 81% of consumers as being an indication that a hospital offers cutting-edge technologies. In another study, 12.5% of surveyed health care organizations reported having successfully attracted new patients through the use of social media."
There are several other indirect evidence of such benefits. A study by Pew Research showed that 80% of people on social media are looking for health-related information and that about half of such people are searching for a specific doctor or medical expert.
According to a study by Google, 84% of patients use both online and offline resources when researching, with 77% of people using search engines, 76% using hospital websites and 32% using TV. YouTube traffic to health-related contents increased by 119% year-on-year according to Google. Practice Builders also claims that "60 percent of patients made an appointment purchase based on a blog post that they read." With so many people searching online for health-related information, commenting on such topics will certainly help increase brand awareness, especially if it is done correctly and effectively.
A key reason posts by doctors or physicians is likely to help increase brand awareness is that 60% of consumers say they trust posts by a doctor compared to 36% who trust posts from a pharmaceutical firm. This means that doctors are trusted more than health brands and information about the brand's product coming from a doctor is more trusted than similar information coming from the brand. This provides an indirect evidence that doctors are generally more trusted on health-related topics, regardless of their specialty. So doctors commenting on health-related topics is likely to increase their brand awareness.
There are also a few clinics that have benefited from increasing its commentary on health-related issues. For example, Orlando Fertility Clinic reportedly increased its revenue by over a million dollars by employing a comprehensive strategy to boost their online presence. The company designed a website and provided contents to "reach new and existing patients and provide them with the information they needed to make decisions regarding their fertility options." The Medical Center for Female Sexuality is another example of a practice that benefited from providing information and education that helps potential patients. The clinic doubled its leads, increased conversion by 127% and increased revenue by 24% by developing a "digital strategy to satisfy the prospect's need for information."
Patient Pop provided an analysis of the 5 most visible doctors on social media. The top doctor on the list is Dr. Mikhail Varshavski, with over 1.9 million followers. Interestingly, his posts are not limited to his specialty and it includes everything from health advice, to lifestyle advice. Another example is Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist, with over 123,000 followers on Twitter. Dr. Eric's tweets are not limited to cardiology and but anything related to health. Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson is another doctor with over 32,00 followers and that gave a lecture on TEDEx. She is a pediatrician but has several other health-related posts such as posts on Zika virus and HPV. Dr. Sunny Malhotra is an example of a doctor that has increased his visibility by commenting on health-related topics. The doctor has a Twitter following of over 3,000 and he comments on health-related topics such as lifestyle, healthcare startups and other topics outside of his specialty as a cardiologist. As a result of his visibility online, in 2017 he was commissioned by Huffington Post to write an article on the benefits of social media for physicians. Other examples of medical experts benefiting from increased brand awareness due to their commentary on health-related issues are in this post.
To wrap up, although there is no study specifically showing the brand awareness benefits medical experts that comment on health-related issues gain, we have detailed a couple of indirect evidence that shows that they likely benefit by making commentary on health-related issues.