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5 Social Media Resolutions for Hospitals

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, January 9, 2013

3.Take a hard look at risk management
Of course, using social media to promote your organization has its risks. As much as people enjoy sharing positive feedback online, they seem to enjoy sharing negative feedback even more. It's the nature of the beast. But this is absolutely not a reason to avoid social media altogether.

Like I said before, social media is about 10 years old. Most people using social media aren't new. Therefore, most people using social media know that the anonymity users have on some sites turn people into hate-filled harping conspiracy theorists.

You can just tell when a commenter has taken a couple crazy pills. Most internet users put everything they read online through a filter and, for marketers, this acts as a barrier of sorts.

That said, there are some steps you should take to mitigate your social media risk. Make sure that you have a comprehensive social media policy for employees and that the policy is up to date.

Employees should sign a document stating that they understand they are not to post any patient information or any negative comments about the organization.

I'm amazed at how often I see a high school classmate post on Facebook about how much they hate their nursing job and mentioning the hospital by name.

It's also important to make sure all providers understand where the boundary lies when communicating with patients on social media. While you're at it, ask physicians if they have a public Twitter account or blog where they postulate about anything healthcare related.

Doctors  represent your organization, so it's critical to know what they're putting out there. Social media savvy docs can also be great allies when formulating a new campaign.

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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/