An interesting recent article highlights a very surprising lack of meaningful action among hospitals that use social media. It baffles me as to why, in 2011, some healthcare institutions have not yet figured out how to leverage social media to their advantage – especially with so many proven success stories out there to learn from.
The article specifically looks at study results from a group of hospitals that use Facebook. Despite the fact that many hospitals use Facebook fan pages as a powerful and proactive source of engagement and information-sharing, less than 40% of hospitals in the study posted information daily to their Facebook pages. Hence, 63% had no unsolicited feedback or questions posted on their pages. And less than half used the event calendar feature within Facebook to promote hospital-related events.
Is there really nothing going on in your hospital or practice? Is there no news you can share with patients to make them more informed? Is there no research you can share with clinician colleagues to help them become more aware?
We’re in a time when the economy places a strain on institutional budgets and when patients have more places than ever to find information. So why not leverage the tools you have at hand to facilitate and cultivate relationships? Social media can serve as a cost-effective, easy, and valuable entry point for patients and families to engage with your hospital or your cancer center.
Read my series of posts on social media to learn all the reasons oncology clinicians should be using social, and read about these success stories to find ideas for your institution (or ask an expert to help you find the right idea).
Most importantly, social media empowers people to share experiences, both bad and good. And many times there’s no marketing more powerful that the endorsement of a friend or relative. Make sure your hospital or practice makes it easy for people to share positive news in social media on your Facebook page, if not on a variety of other sites as well.