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5 Social Media Resolutions for Hospitals

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, January 9, 2013

In 2013 the new millennium officially became a teenager. And like all teenagers, it is seriously addicted to social media. Really, mom and dad should consider limiting its data plan.

Hospitals, however, are still playing catch up in the social media space. There are plenty of excuses, from staffing problems to technical ditziness.  But none is acceptable anymore. MySpace, the granddaddy of social media, was created ten years ago. It's time the healthcare industry got with it.

An infographic by Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group highlights just where hospitals stand in the social space. Only 26% use social media. No, that is not a typo—just one-quarter of hospitals in the US use any type of social media. Of those,

  • 84% are on Facebook
  • 64% are on Twitter
  • 46% are on YouTube
  • 12% blog

So that's where we stand. Now let's look at healthcare consumers.

About one-third of consumers use social sites for health-related matters. And these patients are sharing their experiences, with 44% of respondents saying they were likely or very likely to share a positive experience they had with a hospital.

More notably, 40% said they were likely or very likely to share a negative experience they had with a hospital.

So like it or not, patients are talking about your organization on social media sites. It's a hospital marketer's duty to be there to listen, share successes, and respond to complaints. Let's take a tip from the newly pimple-faced millennium and get social.

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2 comments on "5 Social Media Resolutions for Hospitals"


Ryan Squire (1/9/2013 at 5:15 PM)
Please review your article and advice that hospitals should have employees sign a form indicating that they will not share negative comments about the organization. There is a growing body of evidence that this practice is illegal and in violation of the National Labor Relations Act. Several decisions by courts and the National labor Relations Board have indicated that employers must have a policy and practice that protects employees' rights to discuss wages, hours, and working conditions; regardless of whether those discussions are negative. Here is a link to the NLRB report on social media: http://www.nlrb.gov/news/acting-general-counsel-releases-report-employer-social-media-policies

Stephen Moegling (1/9/2013 at 2:13 PM)
Excellent article and very inspirational. Though a small percentage of systems are using social media, fewer are using it effectively to contribute to the organization's business goals. One reason for this is the silo approach systems have taken with social [INVALID] branding over here, event marketing over there, and social does its thing in a kind of communications limbo. I posted a New Year's Resolutions blog for healthcare marketers that you may find relevant, especially Resolution #4: http://gojunto.com/healthcare-marketing-new-years-resolutions/