One of the hardest parts of getting health care organizations to engage with blogs, is finding the personnel to actually write the blogs. The idea behind the blog is easy to sell to an organization, even the organization gets excited about the idea of the blog, but it ultimately comes down to servicing the blog. This even transcends social media technologies…once an organization engages, then it is all about servicing the social media platforms.
This comes down to personnel and fundamental problem beyond staffing, integrating something new in the marketing/pr strategy. Hospitals and health care organizations are typically large organizations with a marketing staff that is already stretched.
Social media strategies have to integrate obtainable goals simple strategies that make time management a feasible part of the current workload. This provides a couple of things, user engagement and simple ROI. Health care marketing professionals have to find some positive result to integrate a new strategy inside the organization and their respective silo.
Executive leadership loves the idea of blogs because it gives them the power to control the message. It is an effective pr engine that allows C-Suite professionals to combat out-of-context quotes in newspapers and other forms of media. It is also provides a tremendous platform for C-Suite professionals to take a stand of health care issues related to health care reform. This issue has brought many CEO’s to the blogger world to protect the market space and the hospital they represent…why, it is a political battle that affects a hospitals’ bottom-line and patient ratings.
“Once step at a time!” – This is what I tell health care marketing directors and C-Suite professionals. If you want to start a social media strategy or a blogging strategy…do not bite off more than you can chew.
Write a mission statement for the strategy and plan out when you will service these social medias. This is purely a time management issue…plan it out! Decide who will service the blog or social media. If the CEO is going to write his/her blog, then set a schedule for them to integrate within the busy schedule. This means, integrate the proper technology to facilitate this action. Make sure IT turns down the firewalls so the CEO and marketing professional can access these sites. Also, if a marketing professional is going to help the CEO or Executive to service the blog, set schedules and goals for posts. Be prepared to step away from the schedule if a topical event comes to the forefront that needs to be addressed by the executive.
Also…create a simple strategy to measure your success. Do this from the beginning. Decide what you are “tracking.” Basically, how many times you update, how many followers, how many hits are generated via links, etc. Set obtainable goals.
With C-Suites in health care tackling the blogging world, look at other executives who are blogging. Check out the length of the posts and frequency of the updates. Also, decide whether you want to allow your audience to respond to your posts. This is crucial, because if you allow those to comment on your posts…you need to make sure respond to each comment. Find other blogs that you can regularly read. This is a part of your time management schedule and it allows you to learn not only the “in’s & out’s” of blogging, but it gets you in the language of blogging.
Social media for health care organizations is a reality, but now it us up to the organization how they not integrate the strategy but service it long term.
Great Health Care CEO Blogs:
Running A Hospital – Paul Levy – President and CEO of Beth Israel
Thornton Kirby’s Blog – President & CEO of South Carolina Hospital Association
William L. Roper, MD, MPH – CEO, University of North Carolina Health Care System