Social media marketing has become a critical element of patient outreach and engagement in the healthcare industry.

As technology continues to make its way into the healthcare industry, professionals are increasingly turning to social media marketing, a new study from Frost & Sullivan found.

The research firm polled more than 60 healthcare professionals about the use of various technology at their institution. The survey revealed 84 percent of respondents use social media at their company, and most popularly for social media marketing.

In general, healthcare institutions view social media marketing as simple way to engage potential prospects.

While the value of social media to hospitals and other healthcare institutions is expected to grow, those lacking a social media marketing strategy risk falling behind competitors.

A critical element of social media marketing for healthcare institutions is customizing content to certain audiences. Like most industries, healthcare is approached very differently by different demographics, so tailoring specific content to its projected audience will help improve success, Brafton recently reported.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.