I read this article about healthcare marketing in the Westchester County Business Journal – Social media engagement: A conundrum for hospitals.
The author states that transparency of social media for hospitals can be a bigger undertaking than for other businesses in which patient privacy protection is not a concern. Challenges include, according to the author, should medical centers have a social media presence? If so, what accounts do they administer in-house? Last, should hospitals respond to patients and their families who post comments, both negative and positive, on social media sites?
Yes, these are valid challenges. But responding to satisfy a patient need or concern is just one side of the social media coin. The other is the larger opportunity to integrate and leverage social media across all facets of the organization (beyond marketing and communications and as adjuncts to campaigns) to strengthen connections between people, and people to your brands and business.
At Trajectory, we refer to this as building a brand’s Social Capital™. And we think it’s pivotal to the future success of your organization. It acknowledges that social media has changed business forever, and that like it or not, all businesses today are fundamentally social businesses. With customers now in control of their relationship with brands. Which requires a broader view of social media’s role. Embedding it throughout the organization along the entire customer journey – from awareness, to consideration, purchase, experience and loyalty.
Social Capital, we believe, is built on a foundation of six pillars. One of them is Information Sharing, similar to what the article author is talking about in terms of hospitals responding to patients and families. The most important pillar, however, is probably Usefulness. And it has to do with delivering real value. Because lets face it. Most people do not want to engage with brands, let alone co-create with them. Which means delivering meaningful customer value vs. what you need from a customer will be the holy grail of your success.
SO…should health systems and hospitals have a social media presence? Only if they want to remain relevant. The industry is shifting from repair care to proactive well care, consumers have a bigger stake in their decision-making, emphasis is shifting from volume to value and traditional providers are now competing with a new crop of retail and technology players. Yea, we’d say the time is right.
What’s your point-of-view?