Stay real with social media


I’ve noticed a few healthcare organizations that recently jumpstarted aggressive social media programs.  Way to dive in, I thought – until I noticed that their content matched up with other organizations’ posts.  Turns out it’s syndicated content.  It looks and acts like a local voice, but it’s not.

For a small business or hospital, starting a social media program may seem daunting, especially in terms of time to do it well.  If weighed against the prospect of not engaging in social media at all, pre-packaged information wins. 

Or does it? 

How effective is syndicated social media content when consumers crave the real thing: authentic people and experiences they can connect with? 

And if they connect – thinking it’s a local personality or voice they can trust – what happens when customers realize otherwise?

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8 Responses to “Stay real with social media”

  1. medXcentral (Jim) Says:

    Thanks for Clarifying, Melissa.

    Then I agree with the wisdom of others who have commented. The cream will rise to the top. And, that warm fuzzy customer service connection can not be achieved by a software robot.

    Here’s to the future.

    • Melissa Speir Says:

      Thanks for weighing in, Jim and Nancy. Is there a way to make syndicated content work, esp. for smaller orgs who may have fewer resources for social media outreach?

      • medXcentral (Jim) Says:

        Seems as long as you indicate that it’s not original content (transparency) and then be sure to foster a two way engagement with anyone interested in the post, all would be well with the SMuniverse.

        Anyone else care to weigh in?

  2. Nancy Cawley Jean Says:

    Nice post, Melissa and thanks for making us aware of this! While I try to follow all the hospitals in Twitter, with the rapidly expanding number it’s getting harder, and I hadn’t noticed this new trend. I can understand how syndicated content could be helpful for hospitals that do not have the time or resources to put into social media, yet still recognize the need to be part of it. On the other hand, it seems to be completely juxtaposed to what we strive for in social media: being personal and engaging with people. Without the personal touch, I’m not sure how effective syndicated material will be in terms of social media as a customer service tool, building a loyal fan base and truly engaging with followers. Perhaps their expectations of social media are different?

  3. bonsecoursrva Says:

    I have not witnessed that myself but would not be surprised. It strikes me as a lazy and unfruitful, and, as you said, potentially damaging. The good news is that the proverbial cream tends to rise to the top. As we get better at minimally invasive procedures the idea of a geographic stronghold on medicine lessens. People are already more free to chose their provider – its easy to imagine the hospital 1 hour away using original content with a real voice…they will attract the patients who are put off by the local hospital using syndicated content. Of course when there is direct local competition, the one who is the most authentic and offers the best patient experience will win every time.

    Great, thought provoking post – thanks!

  4. Melissa Speir Says:

    Thanks for asking: I’m talking about diffrent healthcare organizations posting identical content from a syndicated source.

  5. medXcentral (Jim) Says:

    Not sure I understand completely. Are you talking about syndicating “original” content, posts and status updates via multiple social media platforms? Or, are you saying (which is what I’m hearing you say) that unrelated facilities are posting identical content from a syndicated source?

    Please clarify. Thanks.

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