Archive for June, 2010

SCHA Social Media Workshop – The Afternoon Sessions

June 24, 2010

There’s more to getting started in social media than hashtags and status updates. There are hard truths that need to be examined. Or buzzkills, as one speaker so eloquently labeled himself. In other words, plan and prepare.

First up, does social media even make sense for your organization? Reed and Ed co-led a thoughtful discussion on ROI and social media. There are a few ways you can frame ROI with social media. Including:

  • Social media metrics (number of followers, message reach, number of fans, interactions)
  • Direct value (resulting new patients via word of mouth, word of mouse and direct interaction)
  • Indirect value (service recovery, customer service, brand monitoring, media and community outreach, patient education, recruitment, employee retention and crisis communications)

Ed pointed out that with such a small entry cost and little capital investment required, any value is ROI. The main real cost will end up being time. He also cautioned that ROI can’t just measure sheer numbers, the quality of interactions themselves have value.

With many healthcare facilities and processes getting a bad rap for being behind the times, social media is an excellent place to be fresh and modern. Whether it’s apologizing for an errant bill or ownership of a frustrated consumer’s problem, most consumers are surprised, amazed and appreciative that someone is listening. And not all interactions are bad, typically there are more positive ones that can recharge a tired nurse or department.

Still not convinced there’s value? Think about the exact ROI of services such as pastoral care, front desk staff, groundskeepers and housekeeping staff. Or, as Ed said quoting David Scott, “What’s the ROI for putting your pants on in the morning?”

Ed and Reed agreed there are certain services that are expected in this day and age, it’s part of doing business. Just as websites are now the norm, they both believe social media will become part of the typical consumer’s expectations.

Legal Issues
Next came Michael Shetterly from Ogletree Deakins Law Firm with a sobering and entertaining discussion of social media ramifications. He likened the evolving, ever-moving social media realm to giving your employees the keys to the car. Social media is so new and changing so fast, the Supreme Court has only had two cases that involve social media and one of them happened last week.

What areas must be considered when implementing social media? A lot. FTC guidelines. HIPAA. Privacy of staff, patients and the lady in the background of your hilarious hand-washing video. Copyright. PHI. Not to mention employee use of social media, web and texting.

Michael advised organizations to keep their social media guidelines and employee use guidelines up to date and very specific. Revise policies to reflect use of social media and blogs and to insulate against liability. Be sure to share policies with all employees and offer real-use training.

Panel Discussion
Last on the agenda was a panel discussion. The panel featured a range of hospitals and personnel including:

  • Andy Busam, Public Relations, Coordinator, Randolph Hospital
  • Dr. David Geier, Orthopedic Surgeon and Sports Medicine Specialist, MUSC
  • Sally Foister, Director of Marketing Services, Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center
  • Ronda Wilson, Marketing and Communications Director, Georgetown Hospital System

So let’s start the sharing right here, Social Media Revolutionaries. What were your biggest takeaways from the panel discussion?

SCHA Hosts Social Media Workshop for Hospitals

June 24, 2010

SCHA’s one-day social media workshop (tweets at #smrev) will no doubt get the social media wheels whirring at many SC hospitals. The morning sessions featured Reed Smith and Ed Bennett, two social media rocket scientists.

Reed took workshop participants through the social marketing mix advising them to approach social media with a different set of the 4 P’s of marketing. Instead of Product, Place, Price and Promotion, he suggested Policy, Purpose, People and Plan. Reed’s plan for social media?

  1. Listen and monitor. Search for existing communities and content. Identify ongoing conversations and blogs.
  2. Join the conversation. Leave the sales-y mentality behind. Ask questions and participate. Being involved gives you credibility and the opportunity to talk about what you do.
  3. Measure. Look at what’s working and what’s not.

In addition to connecting with external audiences, Reed advised that social media is also a great way to connect with staff and physicians for recruitment and retention. For staff, noting good deeds and awards is magnified on a Facebook wall. Their family will likely see it, as well as the average Facebook user’s 150 “friends.” In employee recruitment, social media can be a welcome alternative to the local chamber website and give a feel for what’s going on at your organization. Having information accessible is to your advantage, too. Your prospects are doing brand research on your organization, too.

Reed advised tying social media efforts to traditional ones:

  • Include social media icons or links in print, digital and broadcast communications.
  • Put links to Facebook pages and blogs on your website and reciprocal links back to Facebook.
  • Even include descriptions of social media vehicles for less social-savvy consumers.

He also discussed user-generated sites such as Yelp, Foursquare, Gowalla and YouTube which allow organizations to amend user content by adding special offers and information, contact data, reviews and more.

Reed advised hospitals that it does take time to manage social media but that it can be managed efficiently. Social media can be a valuable tactic in your marketing arsenal.

All that just from the first speaker. Next up was Ed Bennett.

Ed’s presentation was chock full of data on national social media use. His Found in Cache blog includes special widgets displaying hospital social media activity in SC (and NC) hospitals. Ed kicked off his presentation with an interesting tidbit on why social media matters. Google has cruised along as the #1 website for years. Facebook, a relative newcomer to the scene has surpassed Google in website visits. That’s like John’s Hopkins, who has dominated the US News & World Report’s America’s Best Hospitals list for years, suddenly dropping to number two.

Ed, who has been following social media data for years, has noticed a 10% decrease in non-social media web traffic as people spend more time on social media. After all, he said, there are only so many hours in the day. The dissemination of information has undergone a fundamental change. Where we were once provided information through traditional marketing, e-mail campaigns and first generation websites, today we get information from our friends and through social media.

Ed’s social media program goals are basic and effective:

  • To enhance and enable word of mouth.
  • Perform brand and reputation monitoring.
  • Media corrections.
  • Get his hospital “in the room” (be a part of social media).
  • Establish his hospital as a trusted source. Build on the current web program. One of Ed’s stongest suggestions is to be “in the room.”

Being “in the room” is especially critical if something goes wrong or there is a crisis. You can’t get in the room when a crisis happens; you should have been there already. Rather then being on the defensive or unprepared, your community will likely support you if they know and trust you already. More important, they will come to your defense and help you.

Ed suggested that YouTube is a nice, “safe” way to get started on social media. His “secret sauce” for more views? When you upload videos, be sure to utilize the 250-300 word description and to use relevant key words for search. Also, be sure to secure non-profit status when applicable. He also advised that as much as we’d like, we can’t plan for something to go viral, just be ready in case it does. Have the behind-the-scenes story ready and other relevant information in case the content catches.

Ed suggests branding your social media efforts closely to your organization to prevent ambiguity. Ed’s a Twitter guy and likes it for the searchability and amount of raw information. Right now, he says it’s a smaller community but it’s a great place for reputation monitoring and service recovery.  He gives Facebook props for its ability to engage and build communities. As far as how much to tweet or update your status, Ed suggests no more than 2-4 times a day. But that guideline can go out the window if there’s something of quality to share.

Ed showed how they are pushing their Facebook page by embedding good content from their website such as an active Ask the Expert tab. Facebook has helped the hospital find patient stories that started with one unsolicited comment from a reader. The Facebook wall is also a good place for employees to see the impact they make in people’s lives. Even in acknowledging service breakdowns, an apology and acknowledgement can yield positive benefits.

Ed also suggested making a blog a home base for all social media activity. On a blog you have more control. Then you can add Facebook and Twitter, if those a part of your plan. Add Twitter and blog feeds to your website.

Ed offers these insights:

  • Try social media. It’s not that hard or scary
  • Find passionate people to manage the communities.
  • Learn from his mistakes. Start with policy and legal review, then implement. Be sure social media is accessible to employees. If it’s not, start the effort to make it accessible from the workplace. They’re already accessing it from their smart phones. It’s also helpful if you want to be seen as a progressive employer.
  • Last, don’t use the word blog. Call it something else if you can. That term can send up stonewalls on social media efforts.

All that information from the first two speakers. The afternoon sessions featured a discussion on ROI with Ed and Reed, legalities of social media use with Michael Shetterly of Ogletree Deakins Law Firm and a panel Q&A with several hospitals and a physician using social media. A post will follow on the afternoon session.

It was a full day of useful information for those using social media and those pondering the use of social media.

Social Media Listening

June 22, 2010

One of the greatest benefits of social media participation is the opportunity it gives you to listen. Listen to what “fans” are saying about your business and industry. Listen to customers’ (and potential customers’) topics of interest at any given time. Listen to understand what’s working in the market and what isn’t. Listen to what competitors are saying and what’s being said about them.

All you have to do to open your ears is activate an account. This listening phase is a perfect entrance to social media efforts. It’s time to grasp the opportunities and etiquette of social media such as Facebook and Twitter if you’re unfamiliar with them. Time to activate free tools such as Google alerts. Time to develop a social media strategy and processes for resolution before going “live” with your efforts.

Radian 6 has a great eBook on activating a social media effort.

Rather than hitting the ground tweeting, take a few weeks to stretch, warm up and acclimate to new media. This readying phase will likely uncover activists and detractors alike as well as what’s being said about you or your competitors.

That knowledge is a great foundation to build social media efforts upon.

Say You Want a Revolution in Healthcare Marketing? Alright…

June 11, 2010

Following some great regional healthcare marketing conferences (CHPRMS and GSHMPR – see recaps here), the South Carolina Hospital Association is putting on the Social Media Revolution June 23 in Columbia, S.C.

It’s a one-day workshop – in partnership with Carolinas Healthcare PR and Marketing Society – featuring some “Twitterati” in these two sessions:

Social Media in Healthcare: Making it Work for You – Ed Bennett, Director of Web Strategies at the University of Maryland Medical System, will discuss best ways to frame appropriate policies and launch a social media revolution in hospitals of all sizes.  He’s also known for maintaining the Hospital Social Network List, which tracks the digital activities of over 500 U.S. Hospitals.

The Social Media Revolution: From Here to Beyond – Reed Smith, an interactive media consultant who created hospital social media guides and best practices while at the Texas Hospital Association, will show how to implement a team approach inside the hospital to coordinate social media efforts.

Other sessions we’re looking forward to:

  • Measuring ROI of Social Media Strategies
  • Avoiding Legal Pitfalls of Social Media
  • Panel Discussion – SC and NC hospitals of all sizes outline their strategies, reasons why, lessons learned and organizational goals for social media.

Hope to see you there and share more resources for healthcare social media, and strategy.  If you can’t make it, follow live updates on Twitter (hashtags: #smrev #hcsm) and check our blog for the event recap.

Brand Security

June 8, 2010

A company’s brand is fragile. On the grand scale, it can be severely damaged by a bad event – i.e BP. But, it can be equally destructive on a very small scale.

I recently had a sales rep knock on my door selling home security systems. This was not the “big one” that everyone knows, so they were trying to make their mark by offering a fairly comprehensive system for free as long as you put their sign out front. I was very interested. I had been considering getting a system since I moved in two years ago. When he stopped by I was on my way out, so I asked him to come by in two days, on Thursday, when I would have more time.

Thursday comes and goes and he doesn’t show. Friday, I’m packing up to leave town for the weekend when he stops by and I tell him again this isn’t a good time, come back Monday. I was already getting a little irked because he told me he had not stopped by Thursday because they were installing two systems in the area. This didn’t sit right with me since I don’t see why the sales rep would have anything to do with installation.

Well, that was the last I saw of him. He has yet to return, but it doesn’t matter now. This security company is off my list. I consider trust and reliability to be the top values in a security company, and this sales rep displayed little of both. To me, a sales rep is an extension of a company. So, if he comes back, thanks, but no thanks.

I think this is a perfect example of how even strong brands can sabotage themselves. The easily protected pieces of a brand such as a logo or tagline are a small part of an overall brand image. A company’s reputation and products or services are paramount, and they are always exposed.

It would be wise to evaluate all of your company’s “touch points”, like sales reps, to ensure their actions and intentions ring true with your brand values and message. Doubly wise if a touch point is entrusted with your brand’s first impression with consumers.

Transcendent Marketing is in Bloom

June 4, 2010

Have you heard about the steak-scent-spilling billboard our grocery-chain neighbors to the north, Bloom, have posted? Chances are that you have.

After all, it was on the front page of our local Columbia newspaper yesterday even though we’re 90 miles from Charlotte. This morning it was featured on NPR. It’s on the Huffington Post, ABC News, Chicago Tribune, Twitter, Facebook – it’s everywhere. (Google “Steak scented billboard and you get 22,300 results.)

That’s what makes it such a great board.

Bloom’s daring creative transcended outdoor’s traditional drive-by audience and generated hundreds of thousands of impressions in other media. And did I mention that all of those impressions were free?

That’s what great creative does. It breaks the bounds of its media space to become infinitely more valuable to the advertiser.

Will I ever smell the pepper and charcoal fragrance it emits? Probably not.

But, it’s reached me – and hundreds of thousands of other people who will never see the board – dozens of times. And for the first time in years, it has me thinking about, and talking about, Bloom.

I haven’t had a reason to talk about them since, well, that muffin billboard they did a couple years back…

When Brand Love Goes Bad

June 4, 2010

Procter & Gamble has a problem. This spring, they redesigned Pampers diapers making them 20% thinner and more absorbent through what they have billed as Dry Max technology.

For months, parents have complained about babies and toddlers getting severe,  blistery rashes from the “new” diapers. As days went by, the story grew from local conversations in passing to a public Facebook group that (as of today) numbers more than 10,700 members. When the Associated Press picked up the story, it perked up the ears of local and national media. Now there are lawsuits and a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission investigation is underway.

At first, P&G said little. One entity they did talk to? Ad Age was invited inside for a first-hand account of P&G’s response to the unfolding situation. After initially saying little, P&G pushed back, hard.

From carefully worded SEO-optimized statements to mommy blogger courting sessions, P&G’s strategy seemed to bite the hands that feed an $8.5 billion brand.

I have been a loyal Pampers user for two children (almost six years with a one year break in the middle).

In fact, I had a problem with some Pampers about a year ago. P&G smothered me with love and refunded me for a large box of defective diapers. That interaction made me sing their praises even louder for their effective customer service and the fact that they didn’t make me jump through hoops to get a refund. I loved Pampers. I still love them. I just won’t use them.

My one and a half year old is one of the kids who suffered what I classify as a horrific diaper rash. His rash is finally better but I will never forget it.

So many brands market to moms these days. P&G’s situation is a reminder that even the deepest brand love is an ongoing relationship. It’s up to marketers to decide if the relationship merely falters and recovers. Or, is a complete break-up.

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