Editor’s note: This article was written by guest blogger Anthony Cirillo, FACHE, ABC, a healthcare marketing and experience management expert and expert guide in assisted living for about.com. For more information about the author, please see our About page.
Everybody is going gaga over social media and, I have to admit, I am very involved. But, as I told attendees at the Cleveland Clinic Patient Summit, using the social media in healthcare is drastically different than other industries.
First, we are marketing something that people do not want. We can’t issue a Groupon that says “Buy one nursing home day, get the second free. Act now.”
A CEO I am working with has been struggling with the whole social media thing. So I tried to really skinny it down for him. Here is my take on how healthcare should use the social media.
Facebook – most people are looking for deals, coupons, etc from services and products that they use on an ongoing basis – think restaurants, retail. So it is not a perfect fit for healthcare. However, to the extent that you can build communities of people based on their affinity – caregiver community, Alzheimer’s community, weight loss community, diabetes community – that would help. And for everyone else, it is not about what you do as an organization but about what you share that can help him or her live a healthier life.
You Tube – picking up from the last line above, people will care less about viewing a procedure or process as they will care if your activity professional produces a video on activities elders can do at home to promote quality of life. Provide information people can use. Over time they will remember who provided it and think of you when they need what you offer.
Twitter – the best use is to use one of the many Twitter tools out there and monitor mentions of your company. That is what Comcast does for their company and they identify customer service issues immediately. So using it in service recovery is becoming essential. A family caregiver leaves your facility and tweets about something that went wrong. You can deal with it immediately.
But you can also use these for breaking news that really has an impact and to create flash mobs at events or even in advocacy efforts. Take a cue from the following recent event.
A flash mob of dancers dressed as grey-haired senior citizens recently hit New York City’s Times Square to draw attention to long-term care insurance. Members danced a choreographed waltz in pairs, while a string quartet accompanied them. After the waltz, the dancers tore off their costumes and began a swing dance number. Following the dancers, an eldercare expert addressed a small crowd of spectators and spoke about the increased need for seniors to purchase long-term care insurance.
The mob was sponsored by non-profit group 3in4 Need More, which focuses on long-term care advocacy and the need for LTC insurance.
And that is how you use the social media!
Oh and to watch that video, click here.