By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
Although healthcare marketing is actively embracing social media, we’re looking for examples of genuine, beyond-the-basics innovation. If you’re using online and social media tools in ways that are truly new and different, we want to hear from you. We’ll help tell your story.
Here’s a bit of background and some inspiring examples…
Someday, with the clarity of hindsight, we’ll remember our current digital culture as the “wild west days” of social media. Commercial brands and retail outlets, big and small, have jumped into Facebook, YouTube and Twitter with little more than a wish and a hope. (And no real plan.)
Digital marketing in general, and social media in particular, is a moving target. And, for the most part, hospital and healthcare marketing have been among the early, if sometimes tentative, users.
We’ve written about a doctor advising doctors about getting started in social media. And we’ve documented toolkits and tripwires for social media beginners. Even pharmaceutical companies are hanging back, still pondering their digital strategy.
But many of the uses of social media by hospitals, providers and healthcare communicators are still at the most elementary level. It’s difficult to benchmark these things, but few examples go beyond the basics. A sampling of innovative uses include a Brockton (MA) hospital that brought video Skype to the maternity ward, and an Albany (NY) multi-specialty group that launched a robust and user-friendly patient portal capable of virtual office visits.
A few other stories occasionally make the news. One such report, by MedCityNews, listed hospitals that go beyond a simple online presence. They cited Seattle’s Swedish Medical Center online (and all night) “Sleep Up” related to sleep disorders. In Falls Church (VA), Inova Health System sponsors an interactive fitness program using video, Facebook and Twitter. The report also referenced live-tweeted surgeries—by several hospitals—that demystify upcoming operations for other patients.
We’d like to hear your success story. Send us a note about a unique use of social media in healthcare and we’ll write it up. And if you’d like social media to play a profitable role in your marketing plan, reach out to us with a click here.