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Title: An investigation of how healthcare organisations use social media as marketing tools in the UK : the case of private and social care organisations
Author: Teemil, Zahir
ISNI:       0000 0004 8499 8559
Awarding Body: University of Bolton
Current Institution: University of Bolton
Date of Award: 2019
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The Researcher has been employed as a manager in a private healthcare firm for many years. The advancement of technologies and abundance of social media platforms have led to innovative marketing methods for businesses in an era of continuous pressure to cut cost for long term sustainability. However, healthcare organisations still rely heavily on traditional and costly marketing methods for their businesses. The research seeks to investigate how private Healthcare Organisations are using social media and its platforms as marketing tools in the UK. The research objectives are: • To critically evaluate how organisations are utilising SM as marketing tools. • To critically examine the use of SM platforms as potential marketing tools across healthcare organisations. • To evaluate the effective use of Social Media as marketing tools in healthcare organisations. • To explore the challenges and barriers of using SM and its platforms as a potential marketing tool across healthcare organisations in the UK. • To make recommendations for formulating a Social Media Marketing Strategy that managers and marketers could use to market their organisations in the healthcare industry effectively. Through literature reviews and empirical methods; an extensive search was performed to establish and understand the main subject areas within healthcare marketing and social media. The research uncovered the gaps in the subject area to answer the research question and objectives. A conceptual framework was created using combined elements from the literature review: preferred SM platforms, effective use of SM and challenges and barriers need to be considered when using SM for Healthcare Organisations. By identifying the philosophical positions for the research objectives, the research design was developed and decided to use a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to collect data. Having looked at the various methods to collect data, it was agreed that a case study strategy approach would be most suited to address the research objectives. The researcher uses a case study strategy and through Observation, and Semi-structured interviews to collect the research data. As a result of the findings, the recommendations that have been made are: 1) Use Linked In, Twitter and Facebook for SM marketing in healthcare organisations. 2) Determine resource needs, focus on 2 or 3 platforms if new to SM marketing. 3) Know their audiences and target them accordingly. 4) Design SM activities for long term strategies to include content strategy and frequency of post. 5) Determine and agree on company policy for content clearance. 6) Participate in and listen to customers' online conversation. 7) Encourage and use sponsor adverts to reach their target customers. 8) Encourage posts with a combination of texts and photographs. The combined results from the research methods are: Linked In, Twitter and Facebook are the most used and preferred platforms in Healthcare Organisations. The effective use of SM and its platforms are: share and communicate healthcare-related information, marketing, monitoring and creating brand awareness, recruitment activities, Building trust, customer relationship, viability, creating good brand identity, good images and communicate better with customers, interactive communication and monitor their competitors. The challenges and barriers identified for using SM marketing practices during this study were : Negative comments, Lack of knowledge and understanding, Budget/cost, Lack of focus, lack of time and resource, Lack of engagement, culture and age, personal preference, return on investment, Privacy, confidentiality and ethical and target. Finally, a new conceptual framework was developed to reflect the research findings. The research contributed to the development of UK based research and literature within the field of promoting the use of social media for marketing healthcare organisations. It would allow the marketing strategies for healthcare Organisations to be up-to-date, efficient and cost-effective; similar to the USA and other advanced nations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available