Social Media: To be or not to be…

In 2012, it is difficult to believe that some hospitals are still not leveraging social media to communicate with their stakeholders. If your facility is not leveraging social media to communicate with stakeholders, or if you are not consistently maintaining it, then it is time to give it a second look.

Social media is not going away anytime soon. In fact, it has the potential to perform better than forms of traditional media. While we would never claim social me to be the end all in marketing communications, it is important to note that it should be a tool in your marketing communications tool kit.

Many hospitals and healthcare facilities remain hesitant to participate in social media. They often manufacture road blocks that might seem logical, but are miniscule in how outlets like Facebook and Twitter can help increase communication with their community members.

Social media should be seen as a public relations tool.

As a hospital, you should be the source for healthcare information within your community. Social media allows you to educate stakeholders on healthcare-related news and trends. Online social networks allow you to easily share this type of information.

In addition, once you grow your audience, it can become an efficient way to advertise events, promotions, and other hospital happenings.

Your hospital does not require a team to participate in social media.

We often hear executives and CEOs say that do not have the team required to maintain a social media presence. It doesn’t require a team to manage a social media program, just a knowledgeable professional who can best represent your hospital online.

This might be yourself, marketing or public relations manager, community outreach team member, or someone on your foundation. You will essentially want to have someone who can professionally be the “voice” of your hospital and keep discussions in line with other marketing and PR messages.

Team members and social media…

Be a champion of technology and rely on them to speak positively about your brand among their friends and family. While it is a smart idea for your facility to have a social media and Internet policy in place, most of these individuals will not be administering your social media program. It’s important to know the difference.

You can block social media from hospital computers all you want, but you cannot block it from their smart phones and mobile devices. Embrace technology and educate your staff on appropriate use of social media during their shift.

A comprehensive strategy is key to any marketing communications program. Understand the goals and tactics and how you will measure success. SRJ can certainly help develop a comprehensive strategy to create a successful brand within your community. Start a discussion today by calling 214-528-5775.

Why not lift your voice and try to control the message?