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Hospital Social Media Strategy Checklist

Are you satisfied with your hospital’s social media efforts?  Perhaps it is time to review and possibly revise your social media strategy. Here are some social media strategy DO’s and DONT’s for healthcare marketers.

Common Mistakes in Hospital Social Media Strategy

FIrst of all, taking a look at what “NOT” to do can be helpful. So here are a few of the “DONTs”.

  • Poor planning up front. “We need to be on Facebook” is not enough. Therefore, clearly define the goals, objectives, and metrics for measuring. After all, knowing what success looks like is important.
  • No content calendar. Creating a content calendar is an essential part of the process. In addition, the calendar needs to coincide with other hospital communication efforts, local events, and even the seasons.
  • No set schedule. Most posting is haphazard. Instead, post content at regular intervals, at opportune times.
  • Don’t leave it to marketing. Effective social media execution requires participation from all levels of the facility. Therefore, involve the service line managers, physicians, HR, and department heads.
  • No procedure for responding. Because patients and others in the community will attempt to engage with your hospital online, have a system for handling these comments and responses, ahead of time.

Essential Elements of an Effective Healthcare Social Media Strategy

In addition, your social media strategy should answer many of these questions.

  • What are we trying to accomplish?
  • What does success look like? Furthermore, how will we measure success?
  • Who is responsible? In addition, who is on the team?
  • What are the priorities?
  • Who are the target audiences?
  • Where will the content come from? Also, what about photos?
  • How will we involve doctors and other professionals?
  • What is the posting schedule?
  • How and who will  handle comments and responses?
  • What level of integration will there be with other communication efforts and channels?
  • What about boosted posts? And if so, what about budget?

In conclusion,  if you are looking to improve your hospital’s social media efforts, a review of the basics may go a long way.


ABOUT JIMMY WARREN
Early to bed, early to rise, work like crazy and advertise! Jimmy Warren is president of TotalCom Marketing Communications and has over 30 years experience helping many kinds of businesses build a strong brand. A large portion of that experience has been helping hospitals and healthcare organizations. He loves the ‘weird’, interesting and extremely talented people he gets to work with every day – that includes co-workers and clients. Outside of work he enjoys his grand kids, traveling and any kind of good ole fashion Alabama sports. Roll Tide!

Healthcare Marketing: 25 MORE Interesting Facts About Social Media

Sarah Evans, author of social media and PR blog “Commentz” regularly compiles interesting stats and facts about social media. She recently shared her most relevant ones with Ad Age. Some can be useful to healthcare marketers.

1. “In early March, Google removed from its Android Market more than 60 applications carrying malicious software. Some of the malware was designed to reveal the user’s private information to a third party, replicate itself on other devices, destroy user data or even impersonate the device owner.”

2. “Groupon is on track to bring in between $3 billion and $4 billion in revenue this year alone. Facebook’s 2010 sales were reported to be only around $2 billion in its sixth year of existence.”

3. “A study of 24,000 consumers across the 16 largest countries found that those who are most connected, living on the cutting edge of social media tend to be more ‘prosocial’ than average, being more likely to do volunteer work, offer their seats in crowded places, lend possessions to others and give directions.”

4. “99 percent of Android devices are vulnerable to password theft.”

5. “Recent estimates put less than 10% of the population using Twitter, far less than other social sites.”

6. “More than 3.34 million mentions were recorded over a one-month period of people making social asks.”

7. “David Poltrack, CBS Corp., announced that, based on a new research study, ‘age and sex don’t matter when it comes to increasing TV ad effectiveness.'”

8. “An average of 40 percent of the traffic to the top 25 news sites comes from outside referrals, the study found, with Google Search and, to a lesser extent, Google News the single biggest traffic driver.”

9. “Almost one-in-four South Africans use social media as a tool to look for work, but are concerned about the potential career fallout from personal content on social networking sites.”

10. “The percentage of US parents who allow their children between ages 10 and 12 to use Facebook or MySpace more than doubled from 8 percent a year ago to 17 percent now.”

11. “33% of Facebook posting is mobile.”

12. “Fully 69% of visitors to news.google.com ended up 3 places: nytimes.com (14.6%), cnn.com (14.4%) and abcnews.go.com (14.0%).”

13. “85% of media websites now use online video to cover news.”

14. “”Social media advertising spending will increase from $2.1 billion in 2010 to $8.3 billion by 2015.”

15. “Facebook is approaching 700 million users and Google handles over 11 billion queries per month. World-wide there are over 5 billion mobile subscribers (9 out of 10 in the U.S.) and every two days there is more information created than between the dawn of civilization and 2003.”

16. “Twitter reported that the network saw more than 4,000 tweets per second (TPS) at the beginning and end of Obama’s speech [re: death of Osama Bin Laden]”

17. “65% of all social media related to the royal wedding has come from the U.S. in the past month [April]. The U.K. has been responsible for just 20%.”

18. Re: the Royal Wedding: “911,000 wedding-related tweets were tracked in the past 30 days. That’s about 30,000 per day and accounts for 71% of all social media.”

19. “According to NPR’s internal usage data covering January 1 through mid-April, users who request audio — maybe a station stream, a national newscast, or NPR Music content — view twice as many pages as those who only read the apps’ content. On average, audio streamers rack up 4.2 pageviews per visit versus 2.4 for the text-only crowd.”

20. “Twitter penetration rates in Canada are among the highest in the world, according to new data from online tracking firm comScore Inc., which suggests that nearly one in five Canadian Internet users over the age of 15 regularly visit Twitter.”

21. “Traffic from social media has highest bounce rate. […] If you’re looking for ‘hyper-engaged’ readers, those that click through five or more pages on your site, forget the guy who came from Twitter. A link from another content site is three times more likely to be engaged, and someone coming in from search, is also above average.”

22. “”Digital services accounted for an estimated $8.5 billion (28%) of the $30.4 billion in 2010 U.S. revenue generated by the 900-plus advertising and marketing-services agencies that Ad Age analyzed.”

23. “Total Facebook spent on lobbying, Q1 2010: $41,390. Total Facebook spent on lobbying, Q1 2011: $230,000”

24. “Nearly seven in 10 tablet owners reported spending at least 1 hour per day using the device, including 38% who spent over 2 hours on it. And while just 28% consider it their primary computer, 77% are spending less time on desktop or laptop PCs since they got a tablet.”

25. “According to a Network Solutions survey, the use of social media among SMBs has grown over the years, rising from 12 percent in 2009, to 24 percent in 2010 to 31 percent currently.”

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Hospital Marketing: Strategy First, Social Media Second

Social media is not the answer to marketing woes. But a strong, strategic plan is.    

“TGIF” – that’s Twitter, Google, the Internet and Facebook. And listening to some people you might get the impression the answer to every marketing problem is one or all of the above.  We just need to use these four tools, use them more often, invest more money and resources in them and we will become the market leader.  There is no doubt these four revolutionary developments have forever changed how we market products and services.  But are they the answer to all our marketing issues?

I think not!  As powerful and effective as these mediums can be, they are not at the core of what makes brands strong.  The most important thing is an effective marketing strategy. Without it, no combination of TGIF can resurrect a bad brand or sustain a good one.  Al Ries, chairman of Ries & Ries effectively made this very point in an article in Ad Age.  He emphasized that better strategies, not better weapons, win wars. And he gave some compelling examples.

Linen N Things didn’t go bankrupt because it didn’t effectively use Twitter. It went bankrupt because it was a knock off of Bed Bath & Beyond and never differentiated itself from the market leader.

DHL didn’t pull out of the U.S. market because it didn’t buy enough AdWords from Google but because it was the No. 3 brand in a category dominated by UPS and FedEx.

Kmart didn’t go bankrupt because it couldn’t figure out how to use the internet to promote the brand. Rather it went bankrupt because it was caught in no man’s land between low cost Wal-Mart and the high end Target.

Coca-Cola didn’t fail in 3 attempts to build a leading energy drink brand (KMX, Full Throttle and Tab) because it didn’t have a Facebook page but because it waited too long after the launch of Red Bull.

The point is obvious.  While TGIF are useful, effective and should be important elements in most marketing campaigns, they will not compensate for a bad marketing strategy. As Ries states, “what wins wars are better strategies.”   We sometimes spend a lot of time analyzing and utilizing Twitter, Google, the Internet and Facebook and not nearly enough time developing a strong effective strategy.  Without a good strategy, no medium will be effective.  With an effective strategy, just about every medium can be effective.

Let’s do the hard work.  Let’s focus on our brand strategy.  Then we will be prepared to choose the appropriate tactics to win the brand wars.


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