Experimenting with social media does not minimize the importance of brand development and consistency.
More and more hospitals are joining the social media fray. It’s new, it’s fun (if you’re under 40), and it’s basically free (except for time). Some who have begun utilizing this consumer- controlled media have jumped on the bandwagon and have forgotten the importance of branding.
Though changing and less used, traditional media is still very reliable and important to establishing a brand. Brands are difficult to create using just social media. There must be context already established for the brand to make sense in social media. Brands are usually formed by using traditional media and a relevant website. That is the foundation and context for effective use of social media.
Even with social media, there should be a brand strategy. The way you interact in social media should:
1. Reflect your hospital’s core messages
2. Differentiate you from the competition
3. Be delivered in a tone and style consistent with the brand.
Social media is used to engage in conversation, it is not to be used to promote or sell. So in addition to social media conversations, traditional media should still be used to sell your product or services.
In other words, the brand must be consistently integrated across all media.
Neither traditional nor non-traditional media operate in a vacuum; they must work together, in the same tone with the same overarching marketing objectives. With the proper brand coordination, each type of media enhances the other.
Social media? Yes. Forget traditional media? No. Consistent brand strategy and messaging across all media and platforms? Absolutely!