Healthcare Advertising Agency

Healthcare Marketing: 7 Rules for Hospital Crisis Management

At some point your hospital will face a crisis.  Follow these tips to successfully navigate the situation.

Hospital Crisis Management

Every organization faces a crisis of some sort from time to time.  Social media has certainly increased the likelihood of a problem becoming a crisis.   There are now so many venues where news of the crisis can be spread and an abundant number of ways consumers can weigh-in on the crisis.

Deborah Budd, writing for Second Wind  provided some very valuable insight into crisis management that is worthwhile to share.

When your hospital faces a crisis, here are seven rules to follow:

1.    Don’t hesitate

It’s foolish to think the crisis will go away.  Most of the time it won’t.  The internet and social media almost guarantee it won’t unless responded. Get in front t of the situation as much as possible. Acknowledge the situation and state that you are looking into it and will be back with more information when it’s available.  This establishes you as a source for information rather than a target.

2.    Stick to the plan

It’s not easy but there can be a good result. Any crisis is uncomfortable and tense.  But handled well it can increase stakeholder loyalty and enhance your hospital’s brand.  Stick to the communications plan and see it through.

3.    Silence is a loud message

Any information void will be filled with something.  And usually it’s not good.  The negative press and social media comments will become worse until you provide a reasoned and rational response

4.    Respect those affected

Always acknowledge and respect those adversely affected.  People want to know your hospital is acting to correct the problem that has occurred.

5.    Don’t use data or facts to minimize the situation

Facts and data are only useful as much as they align with the concerns created by the crisis.   Focus on those affected and use data as background.

6.    Never ignore inquiries

“No comment” usually creates the perception of guilt.   It’s much better to respond with “I don’t have answer but I’ll get back with you as soon as I do” or “here’s how we’re handling things now.”  Never refuse to answer.

7.    Never lie and don’t hide the negative stuff

In the end, integrity is the most important thing.  Hiding the truth or not owning up to it will make matters worse.   You earn credibility by being honest and sincere.

The day will come when your hospital is faced with a crisis.  How you handle it will determine how your band is perceived.  Handled appropriately and professionally will go a long way toward minimizing the crisis and making your brand even stronger.

Healthcare Marketing: Six Deadly Sins of Hospital Social Media

Various attitudes toward social media can make our social media efforts dead on arrival.

Healthcare organizations are paying more attention to social media.  More and more organizations are experimenting with it.  But there is not universal consensus of its usefulness.  There are various attitudes among healthcare marketers toward social media.  Susan Giurieo writing for recently listed several social media mistakes made by healthcare organizations.  It’s worthwhile to review some of the mistakes she mentions.

1. Avoidance

Many healthcare marketers wish social media didn’t exist.  It is confusing to them and is a distraction.  The problem is that millions of people (500 million on facebook) are engaged in social media.  To ignore this audience is not a wise decision.

2. Fear

After avoidance, many healthcare marketers accept social media because they have to but resent it and fear it. It’s new. It’s different.  It has risks and uncertainties.  Therefore some fear it. Instead we should embrace it.  Learn how it can be effective.  And welcome the opportunities and possibilities it offers.

3. Sloth

Doing social media requires work. A lot of work.  Some marketers are just not willing to invest the time to learn how to do it effectively.  But most good things require work.  Effectiveness does not come easy.

4. Narcissism

Many debunk social media because they think it’s trivia and personal.  The truth is “social media is not about you.”  Instead it’s about building relationships, and helping others.

5. Selfishness

Again, “social media is not about you.”  It’s about sharing and giving.  It’s not about pushing a personal agenda or a corporate agenda.  Instead it’s about providing useful information, resources and help.

6. Lack of imagination

Sometimes we finally accept social media and begin to use it. But we do it half-heartedley. Without much thought or imagination.  And the full potential is never realized.

Social media is far-reaching and powerful.  It can be used to inform, educate, build relationships and improve lives.  But only if we embrace it and use our creativity and ingenuity to maximize the possibilities.


Healthcare Marketing: How Consumers Are Using Internet as Health Resource

Almost 90% of Americans who use the internet have gone online to search for health information.

Next to their doctor, Americans depend on the internet more than any other source for health information.  And the type of website visited depends on the stage of the health condition.  The MARS Online Behavior Study was recently released and provides a wealth of information about how consumers use the internet as a health resource. The study conducted by Kantar Media reveals that consumers use health information sites more than search engines across all stages of the 40 ailments covered in the study.  And the sites most visited are those that offer helpful tools or connect them to a larger community of people with the same condition.   Sites that offer access to medical professionals are also generally preferred.

Here are other findings from the report:

  • Of the 178 million Americans who go online monthly, 89% have used the internet for health research with the typical user being females under the age of 50.
  • The primary reason for going online is to gain general information about a condition (71%) followed by researching specific symptoms (59%).
  • 56% stated a healthcare professional recommendation makes a site trustworthy followed by 46% who cited inclusion of academic articles or scientific research.
  • 79% believe the internet is very helpful in providing health and wellness information but 74% were very cautious about which sites to access.

For those recently diagnosed with a condition, 77% say they turn to the internet for information second only to 81% who depend on a healthcare professional.

It’s obvious, and no surprise, that the internet is a major source of healthcare information.  For healthcare marketers, the challenge is to discover how to tap into this behavior and become a viable source or clearinghouse for Americans who rely heavily on the internet for health information.


Healthcare Marketing: Social Media Screw-Ups

In just seven short years there have been social media missteps that show the power and risks of social networking.

In a little over six years Facebook has gathered 500 million members.  Over 14 billion videos are watched on YouTube each day.   And Twitter has more than 165 million users.  There has been so much attention given to the strengths and advantages of using social media as a marketing tool. But there are also considerable risks as social networking has shifted power to the consumer.

While there have been great success stories for companies who have used social media, at the same time there have been major headaches and embarrassments to companies who have been victimized by either consumer advocacy or their own mistakes. Matthew Yeomans, a co-founder of Custom Communication created “A Short History of Social Media Screw-Ups”.  The presentation is a walk down a short memory lane and shows us some of the pitfalls and dangers of  “social media”.  As health care marketers, we should learn from the mistakes of others and commit to not repeating the same mistakes.

Watch the presentation here: