Convincing Your Hospital CEO to Use Social Media

As a hospital marketer you and your team realize the importance of Social Media as a marketing tool. However, chances are your eagerness to take advantage of Social Media is not shared by your hospital CEO, Chairman of the Board or other folks in the “C Suite”. Disapproval thumbs down

Perhaps they just don’t understand. In a recent study of the CEO’s of Top 100 Companies (list according to Forbes.com), the top brass is just not participating in Social Media like their employees, partners, and customers.  Research done from May 29, 2009 thru June 16, 2009 by www.uberceo.com shows:

  • Two ouf of 100 CEO’s had Twitter accounts
  • 13 had LinkdIn profiles
  • 81% didn’t have a personal Facebook Page
  • None had a blog

This level of detachment probably means top management at a lot of institutions, including hospitals, doesn’t realize the marketing opportunities available to their brand.  Thus the Marketing/PR Department has to sell the concept “up the food chain”.

Here are some things to consider when having the discussion with your board:

  • Share the numbers:
    • Facebook just reached the 250 million user mark and is expected to reach 300 million by the end of 2009
    • There are more than 30 million active blogs on the internet
    • According to Compete, Twitter has more than 6 million unique visitors per month and more than 55 million visits per month
    • Growth in newspaper circulation since 1990: -8 million
    • Average age of network evening news viewer: 60
    • Social Media represents more than 15% of time spent online
  • Avoid the “hip factor”. Resist the urge to show your enthusiasm for how “cool” Social Media tools are. Instead cut straight to the value that participating in Social Media will provide your hospital.
  • “Show me – sell me”. Give a demonstration of Twitter or Facebook.  Show results that a search on Twitter yields for your hospital or competitor. Explain how this information can be a benefit. Show how hospitals who are leading the way on Facebook are doing it.
  • Expense: Demonstrate how the expense associated with using Social Media for your hospital is often less than traditional media expense. Not that Social Media should replace traditional media, but demonstrate how by shifting just a few dollars from traditional media, more opportunities arise – possibly at a cost savings.
  • Additional Department Benefits: Show how opportunities are possible beyond advertising, marketing and publicity such as benefits for HR Department with recruitment and retention or how employee teams and committees can use Twitter to keep informed during projects.
  • Viral Marketing: Explain how building a relationship with one person via Social Media can yield “cheerleaders” for your hospital – at no additional cost
  • Permanence: Social Media, while ever evolving, is here to stay in some form. By not participating, opportunities are missed. Hospital across town not involved? Arrive first. Hospital across town is involved? Get going.

Go for “buy in” on small projects. Set goals and timelines for these small projects. Execute them flawlessly. Report back. As more familiarity is achieved – go deeper. Wade in. Don’t try to jump off the diving board into the deep end at the onset.

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