Risks of Social Media

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: http://www.slideshare.net/socialmediainfluence/social-media-screw-ups.

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Hospital Marketing: Why Risk Your Brand On Social Media?

Even though The Mayo Clinic has an extremely strong brand, they are not conservative when it comes to their participation in social media. In fact, they are just the opposite.

The Mayo Clinic is one of the strongest healthcare brands with an incredibly strong reputation.  So some would argue they should be conservative and not risk their brand to social media and it’s potential pitfalls.  Well the Mayo Clinic feels completely differently. Mayo is heavily involved in social media.  In fact, they are one of healthcare industry’s leaders in social networking.

Examine their participation:

  • Facebook – More than 13,000 fans and used as a forum to distribute content and provide a venue for conversation and patient input.
  • YouTube Channel – Over 600 videos that have been viewed 1.5 million times. Most of the videos provide patient education and patient testimonials.
  • Blogs and Podcasts – For consumers, researchers and physicians.
  • Twitter – Over 24,00 followers.

Stewart Gandolf referenced Mayo’s acceptance of social media in a a recent blog and gave Mayo the following credits:

  • It’s gutsy.  They are confident in their brand to put its reputation on the line.
  • It’s realistic.  Consumers will be having conversations about Mayo.  Now Mayo can join in those conversations.
  • It’s brand building.  Mayo is a leader in everything they do.
  • It sells. There is a call to action (“To request an appointment”) on their Facebook page.

Many healthcare marketers are wondering if they should subject their brand to the dangers of social media.  And if they should put their brand at risk by providing a forum for consumer-driven conversations.  No one has more to lose than the Mayo Clinic.  Yet they are leading the way and using social networking tools to enhance their brand even more.  Maybe more of us should follow the leader.

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