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Archive for January, 2011

Social media and healthcare

January 22, 2011 4 comments

In the past couple of months, I’ve immersed myself in the study of healthcare social media.

I’m finding vast potential for connecting healthcare organizations with key communities such as patients and their family members, physicians, nurses, those who govern and regulate the industry…

Like government (where I formerly worked), healthcare as a whole seems to have many fears and concerns when it comes to social media marketing:

Technical issues. Some, especially those in IT, are concerned about matters such as hacking and viruses. Yet they are willing to learn and take steps to prevent problems in these areas.

Privacy. Others, mainly in the HR arena, fear that employees will divulge confidential or inappropriate information. They cite cases where hospital employees have actually posted photos on Facebook of emergency room patients, or carelessly vented about a difficult situation. Yet they are willing to adopt policies similar to those that have protected other organizations from such risks.

Time. Many, mainly in PR and marketing, wonder where they’ll find the time to monitor social media, respond to comments, and otherwise engage with key influencers. After all, social media marketing is a commitment, not a campaign. It takes up some of your precious time, those minutes and hours that you could be finishing that important task on your to-do list. Yet they are excited about the effectiveness of going direct with members of their key audiences and markets — about bypassing the media filter, DVR’s/Tivo, and subscription radio. They are willing to try new time management practies.

No first-hand experience. Yet others, with a variety of backgrounds, don’t use social media in their personal lives. They don’t Facebook or visit the blogosphere. Some are private people who don’t want to share on the Internet. Others don’t like communicating via computer. Many say they’re too busy. A variety of reasons. Yet they know they are late adopters who may have to at least give it a try. Social media isn’t for everyone — yet. Neither was the telephone, the radio, the television, the Internet, e-mail or other commonplace parts of our daily lives early in their adoption phases. Take a look at Social Media Revolution 2.

Overall, my early assessment is that healthcare in general will  slowly but surely move ahead with social media marketing. I’m really encouraged by organizations such as the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media. Great things lie ahead. I’m excited to be a part of them.

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Social Media Field Guide: A tool I’ll start using immediately

January 5, 2011 8 comments

Next week, I’ll begin a new phase in my career as Media Manager at Catholic Health Partners — a Cincinnati-based organization with 34 hospitals and numerous other health care operations in five Midwest states.

Part of my responsibilities involve social media strategy — a key part of my job at the Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services the past several years.

During the past few years, I’ve read lots of books, e-Books, blog posts, magazine articles and the like about social media marketing. I’ve attended many conferences, workshops, professional association gatherings, social media meetups… I’ve watched numerous videos and listened to helpful podcasts.

As I’ve mentally prepared for the new job, I’ve jotted down lots of ideas — based on my experience and reading/viewing — on various scraps of paper. I’ve sent myself e-mails. I’ve tried to keep track of every tidbit that might be helpful to my new clients.

At times, I’ve felt overwhelmed by it all.

Then, two weeks before Christmas, I went to lunch with Krista Neher, a Cincinnati-based social media marketing pioneer who gives talks all over the world. (We’re really fortunate to have such a knowledgeable and personable guru right here in the Queen City.)

Krista shared a copy of her new book, Social Media Field Guide: Discover the strategies, tactics and tools for successful social media marketing. I read it on the plane to and from a holiday-week vacation in California. My daughter looked on in amazement (and amusement) as I underlined many portions and jotted down notes.

This book takes all of the stuff I’d learned over the years and put it into an orderly process that will help me educate and coach my new clients about strategic social media marketing.

It offers easy-to-understand descriptions in a format that could help social media newbies as well as pioneers in this exciting area.

  • The Field Guide begins with a Social Media Map, which takes the reader through strategy and objectives (the destination), target audience (the terrain) and rules of engagement for social media.
  • It then leads readers through a Social Media Field Guide, with areas such as content, publishing, sharing, social networks, microblogging, collaboration and co-creation, discussion and review sites, social media public relations and mobile social networks. It concludes with a section on measuring results.

 I highly recommend this book — and will share how I’ve used it in my new job as the year unfolds. Here’s to a great 2011!!!