Archive for August, 2010

Healthcare social media: it’s about location, location, location

August 31, 2010

One of the biggest trends in healthcare social media is location-based services such as Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt, Britekite, Google Places for businesses, Google Latitude – and now, Facebook Places.   Twitter also incorporates location sourcing as well as the online review site, Yelp!

Location-based social media channels are game-like apps that allow you to “check in” wherever you are – home, Starbucks, a ballgame, the hospital – to share your location and see where your friends are.

Retailers like Starbucks and Gap have jumped on the opportunity to offer benefits to those who check-in frequently at a store or entice those in the area with instant coupons.  Sort of the ultimate in geo-targeting.  Facebook Places also is gearing up for location-sensitive advertising

As popular as these social media services have been, Facebook has just brought them to them to the masses – all 500 million members.

So, if you don’t already have a profile set up for your healthcare organization, you soon will – courtesy of your patients.  That could be an important first impression for your hospital.

Check to see what listings may already exist in case they need to be corrected or enhanced.  If none, here are some how-tos on getting your hospital set up:

  • Facebook Places – You must claim your Place and validate your information.  Per Facebook’s Help Center: If your business’s Place already exists on Facebook, click on it to visit its page.  At the bottom left side of your Place there will be a link that says “Is this your business?”  Click on the link and you will be directed to a claiming flow.
  • Foursquare
  • Gowalla.  This app is becoming a go-to channel for travelers, so take note if your hospital is near a major interstate or part of a tourist destination.
  • Google Places
  • Twitter Places
  • Yelp!
  • Localeze.  This company is providing some of the business listings for Facebook Places, Twitter Places and other search engines.  You may want to check or set up your listing with them as well.

Location-based services help patients and families integrate your healthcare organization in their social media outreach.  Imagine them sharing “baby’s on the way” or “headed to emergency surgery” or “last chemo treatment!” 

We’d love to hear any other examples or benefits from social media geo-tagging or location listings.

Social Media Use in Southeast Hospitals

August 24, 2010

Social media in healthcare seems to be growing exponentially. Or does it?  For starters, let’s look at hospitals in the Southeast. 

Based on the Hospital Social Network List (last updated July 24), 112 hospitals across six Southeastern states engage in social media.  That’s an average of just 16% of short term acute care hospitals (not including children’s hospitals).

State Using SM Total ST-Acute ( % in SM YouTube Facebook Twitter Blogs
AL 6 100 6% 4 5 5 0
FL 40 213 19% 20 27 26 5
GA 19 115 17% 12 18 11 2
NC 17 106 16% 8 10 16 5
SC 16 64 25% 7 14 14 3
TN 14 117 12% 8 9 12 2
Totals 112 715 16% 59 83 84 17

While social media may not be right for all of these hospitals, the numbers seem surprisingly low especially when considering the wealth of facts validating the top social platforms.

Danny Brown recently shared excellent stats on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogs.  Some of the highlights: 


  • The average Facebook user has 130 friends.
  • There are more than 100 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices. [Does your hospital have a mobile-friendly site? What about your Facebook page design?]
  • People that access Facebook via mobile are twice as active than non-mobile users.
  • More than 25 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) is shared each month.
  • The average Facebook user is connected to 60 pages, groups and events.
  • People spend over 500 billion minutes per month on Facebook.

Statistics from Facebook press office


  • Twitter gets more than 300,000 new users every day.
  • There are currently 110 million users of Twitter’s services.
  • Twitter receives 180 million unique visits each month.
  • There are more than 600 million searches on Twitter every day – more than Yahoo and Bing combined.
  • More than a third of users access Twitter via their mobile phone.

Statistics from Twitter and the Chirp Conference.  


  • The very first video uploaded in April 2005. By June 2006, more than 65,000 videos were being uploaded every day.
  • YouTube receives more than 2 billion viewers per day.
  • Every minute, 24 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube.

Statistics from YouTube press center


  • 77% of Internet users read blogs.
  • There are currently 133 million blogs listed on leading blog directory Technorati.
  • Bloggers use an average of five different social sites to drive traffic to their blog.

Statistics from Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2009 .  
Hopefully, these stats may help you build a case for jumping into social media at your healthcare organization – or expanding your outreach into other channels. 

How hot dogs made us socially acceptable.

August 20, 2010

With a growl in our stomachs, we went in search of the city’s best hot dog. Little did we know what we’d find were the makings of a social media success story.

It all started with a friendly argument. As we wrestled over what makes the perfect hot dog and where one can find such an exalted treasure, we decided there was only one way to settle the matter. We’d put our city’s hot dog vendors to the test.

In true Adams Group fashion, we soon had a name for our little venture, a logo, a scoring system and parameters to guide us on our quest for the preeminent pup.

So, we set out to our first hot dog hawker, ate way too much, took a bunch of pictures, tabulated the scores and posted everything to our Facebook page. The Dog Fight was born, and it was fun.

Every week we ventured into dives and delis, gas stations and gourmet restaurants, in search of perfection. Every now and again, someone would comment on a Facebook photo, or recommend their favorite source of such succulent sustenance. But overall, things were quiet on the Facebook front. Until, one week, we took a frankfurter furlough.

The minute we failed to post our regular update, people began asking questions. What happened? Where are you? Our adventures were being followed on a grand scale – we just didn’t know.

Within weeks, we were at the center of a foodie frenzy. Other companies’ employees challenged us to Dog Fights, we hosted “celebrity” guests, and our own dog fighters were recognized around town (and heavily questioned about where to grab a good dog).

We even got the attention of traditional media, which exposed our Friday lunch activities to tens of thousands. Dog Fight had taken on a life of its own – a life that is thriving today.

Why tell this tasty tale? Because it taught us a lot about achieving social media success:

First – Have fun. Share something that interests you and, chances are, it will interest others as well.

Second – In these cases, traditional metrics may not be giving you the full story. You probably have more followers than you think.

Third – This is not a push marketing medium. Invite people into your experience, and share with them.

Fourth – Be honest, open and transparent. If you are, the medium will reward you.

 Finally, if you know of a great hot dog place in South Carolina, let us know.

The Big List of Smart Hospital Marketing Ideas

August 6, 2010

Ideas are the lifeblood of what we do.  Particularly, smart healthcare marketing ideas that work.  My colleagues and I have come across some great ones in the last few months at conferences, in blog posts, on social media and via healthcare trades.

Problem is, where are all these ideas when you need a little inspiration?  Maybe tucked in the back of your head, on some Delicious posts, RSS, bookmarked pages, saved emails, Twitter favorites or a good-old-fashioned, printed-out tickler file.  Maybe a little too spread out to be a good resource.

So, here are a few of our recent favorites jam-packed into one post for easy access.

From the South Carolina Hospital Association Conference in June 2010 featuring University of Maryland Medical Center’s Ed Bennett and Reed Smith, a consultant for St. David’s HealthCare in Texas (Full recap here and following #smrev)

  • Tell people where they can connect with you on social media every chance you get.  Beyond your website, include social media icons in print ads, online banner ads and TV spots – plus direct mail, collateral, health education sessions, registration, discharge, etc.
  • Develop custom tabs on Facebook for service lines, news, your Twitter feed, etc.  UMMC features good web content on an active Ask the Expert tab.
  • Or kill two birds with one stone like Children’s Hospital Boston, which has a Connect tab of links to all its Facebook pages, Twitter feed, YouTube channels, eBooks and more.
  • Consider setting up profiles on user-generated sites such as Yelp, Foursquare and Gowalla so patients and families can integrate your organization in their social media outreach.  Imagine them sharing “baby’s on the way” or “headed to emergency surgery”!  (Not so sure? Foursquare just hit 1 million check-ins per day.)
  • Use Facebook as another outlet to discover powerful patient stories. They often start with one unsolicited comment from a reader.
  • Facebook walls also are good place for employees to see the impact they make in people’s lives.  Share examples of what consumers saying about your hospital online, as well as through traditional feedback channels.
  • Remember that beyond connecting, Facebook is good (and cheap) for target advertising.  See one hospital’s experiment and results here.
  • Non-profit hospitals can set up a free call to action to embed on YouTube videos.  That could give a big boost to Foundation efforts.
  • To encourage more views on YouTube, include a full explanation with keywords on every video post.
  • Does your organization have its own Wikipedia page? Or hi-res pics on Flickr for the media?
  • Embed e-newsletters and podcasts on YouTube & Podbean for exposure beyond Facebook or Twitter.
  • Ask which social media channels your audiences are using – on exit surveys, class registrations, consumer research, etc – to best target your efforts (and help prove value if needed).  
  • During registration for any event, have staff ask if your spouse would be interested in any topics (and draw them in).
  • Some hospitals are having success offering couples screening packages, especially about cardiac and stroke.
  • During employee orientation, talk about appropriate social media and web use.  Outline your hospital’s social media policy in detail.
  • Search Twitter and other social media sites for people asking for physician recommendations and kindly suggest the hospital physician referral services. (Twitter just surpassed Yahoo & Bing as the fastest growing search engine.)  
  • Lead a social media workshop for board, senior team, top hospital ambassadors and any doubters.

From the Georgia Society for Healthcare Marketing and Public Relations conference, May 2010. (Full recap here and following #gshmpr)

  • If you haven’t already, look into a mobile platform for your website.  Usually these are completely different sites and maintained separately from the main site.
  • At a minimum, make sure ER & urgent care info is on your mobile platform. Most people search on their way.
  • Explore greater mobile connectivity with additional options. —E-community has a pregnancy text message program (great for hospitals promoting women’s services). — Northshore Long Island Jewish Hospital has the mobile option to share your location while en route.  — Beth Israel Deaconess and Scott White Healthcare have multiple iPhone apps. Some have Blackberry apps due to high physician adoption.
  • Be sure to check which browsers access your mobile site the most.  (You may see mostly iPhone and Blackberry but Droid and iPad numbers are rising quickly.)

Other great ideas

  • Orlando Health launched an integrated campaign called “Family Is” and asked patients to submit photos, videos, and statements of what family means to them – via Facebook.  The “Family Is e-Scrapbook” has received hundreds of responses so far.
  • The No. 1 Element of an Effective Hospital Fan Page is a custom Facebook URL. Then, direct audiences to your URL. Put it in all marketing like your main site.
  • Think “find us on” or “follow me on” sound self-centered, not patient-centered? Create your own “talk to us” on Twitter badge.
  • Create employee webisodes for consumer outreach, employee relations and recruiting. Peer-recommended staffers can tell what they love about the hospital. Post across social media channels, then put all videos on a loop to show during career fairs.
  • Randolph Hospital hosted an event at its cancer center featuring five laptops for staff to show unfamiliar patients how to get on social media – to connect with friends and the hospital. 
  • In June, the Mayo Clinic launched The Mayo Effect, an ambitious internal communication effort with a twist. Each face-to-face meeting that leaders conducted opened with an edgy “You-Tube-style” video, followed by a presentation by the CEO (filled with stories rather than lots of PowerPoint) and an open discussion with him.  Mayo made these meetings and discussions available to all employees through different media. The CEO also pointed employees to a refreshed website and new blog as the main resources for the details of the plan. Within the first few weeks, 22,000 employees logged on to the website. 

Of course, this list is just a start.  Add your own, and let’s build a great healthcare idea resource.

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