Manley and her team have achieved their social success by being strategic about every initiative, paying close attention to which audience they are aiming to engage, and determining the best way to make a meaningful connection with them. This requires them to think about not only the audience's wants and needs, but the way the audience uses social media.
"For instance, if I am trying to reach 50-year-old women, the most brilliant tactical execution in Google Plus is probably not going to work because, by and large, the women I'm trying to reach aren't using Google Plus," she says.
This strategic approach to social patient engagement lead to one of the medical center's most successful online initiatives—a private Facebook group created for its surgical weight loss patients.
It has worked because our objective was focused and clear—facilitate peer-to-peer support—and it aligned with a very real need of this group," Manley says. "The community is truly that—a community of patients going through an experience that impacts virtually everything about their lives. It is really about them, not us, and that is what set the stage for success."
3. Tracking the Right Metrics
Vanderbilt's social strategy is grounded in closely tracked analytics and metrics, which amounts to much more than simply keeping updated spreadsheets and reports. The trick, Manley says, is to make sure you're measuring the right elements.
"There are so many things you can measure in the online environment, you can easily find yourself chasing rabbits," she says.