Social networking can be very helpful to hospitals and healthcare organizations. And healthcare marketers have used it with varying degrees of success. But there are some basic rules, which must be followed to build online relationships and leverage the power of social media.
Here are seven fundamentals for social media success:
1. Listen – Social networking for marketers is more about listening and less about talking. Listen to discover what’s important to your target audience. Only by listening can you create quality conversation that’s relevant and adds value to your friends and followers.
2. Quality – It’s not about quantity…how many online connections you have. But more about quality. It’s better to have a few relationships that value your content and who are loyal than to have thousands you connect initially but never become engaged.
3. Focus – You can’t be everything to everybody. It’s more important to be narrowly focused providing specifically directed content. A focus intended to build your brand instead of being too broad and general.
4. Consistency – It’s like any relationship; you can’t be a friend just every-once-in-a-while. A friend is there consistently. To have meaningful relationships you need to have frequent contact and dialog. If you disappear for a while, your followers will leave you for a more reliable relationship
5. Value – People don’t like others who talk about themselves all the time. A friend must care and bring something worthwhile to the relationship. You can’t use social networking to always promote your brand or services. It must be about providing something of value.
6. Acknowledgment – People don’t like to be ignored. If they are ignored for very long, they will find better friends elsewhere. So when someone reaches out or participates in a conversation, acknowledge them.
7. Patience – Strong relationships are not built quickly. And social media success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a commitment for the long haul.
As we swim into the waters of social media it’s easy to be overwhelmed and begin to sink. But as healthcare marketers if we adhere to these basic rules, our likelihood of long-term success is greatly enhanced.
Reference: Susan Gunelius writing for Entrepreneur Media