Mistakes in Social Media

Healthcare Marketing: Mistakes Can Speed Thru Social Media at Warp Speed

But mistakes handled correctly can lead to stronger consumer relationships.  

There have been some pretty notorious mistakes that have raced across social media networks.   BP’s response to the gulf oil spill dug a hole that they are still trying to crawl out of.  Response in social media caused Gap to go back to its original logo within days of announcing a new logo.   And one of the latest was Kenneth Cole’s twitter that the real cause of Egypt’s uproar was due to the announcement of Kenneth Cole’s new spring collection.  The tweet was deemed insensitive, inappropriate and self-serving.

The latest snafu prompted Rupal Parekh in Ad Age to outline the “Seven Stages Of Committing A Social Media Sin”.  And she indicated how quickly the stages occur within social space.  Here are the seven stages she outlines:

1.     Gaffe – some brand makes a critical mistake.

2.     Outrage – public anger is expressed via the internet.

3.     Apology – the brand realizes their actions are perceived very negatively and offers an apology.

4.     Parody – unflattering imitations appear.

5.     Humor – consumers go from criticizing the actions to making fun.

6.     Indifference – nobody seems to care anymore.

7.     Repeat – some other brand makes another snafu and moves to center stage of social networks.

One of the amazing things about this outline is that with the Kenneth Cole incident – it sped through all the stages within just 7 hours.  A very short cycle.

The other amazing thing is that at the end of the cycle, the brand had 10% more followers than when the gaffe occurred.

So what can healthcare marketers learn?  First of all mistakes happen.  And sometimes they blindside you.  Consumers sometimes react in very surprising and unexpected ways.  But the most important thing to remember is quick, sincere, authentic responses is usually well received and will lead to dissipating the issue.

Healthcare marketers are not very likely to commit social media sins that will reach the magnitude of negative responses directed toward national brands.  But the lessons learned still apply.  Any gaffe that is addressed in social media, even if in limited local circles, can cause much concern and fear.  But just as we have learned from national brands, timely, honest and transparent responses will reap positive results. In fact, they may provide the opportunity to improve our brand and build even stronger consumer relationships.


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 KevinMD.com 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.