What now?

So what does all of this mean? We have talked a lot about different social media site usage and how to connect them with different healthcare organizations but is there a general, overall rule of thumb to follow? Does each individual social media site have to be focused around those four or five specific principles we talked about in previous blogs? Of course it doesn’t! One of the greatest things about creating your healthcare organization’s content is the freedom you have to be creative, personal, and inviting. Here are five key principles to keep in mind when posting your healthcare organization’s content.

  1. Understand who

The very first step in reaching out is to know whom you want to reach. Once you know who your target audience is, then you can better know how to reach them. Are youdownloadr readers going to be young, old, men, women, or parents? Are they only looking for more
information, special recipes, or stories to brighten their day? You can tailor your content to be specific towards readers. Do not write towards everyone because each message should be directs towards a specific audience. Check out The American Cancer Society for some great examples.

  1. Short sweet and to the point

Do not overwhelm your readers by posting and overwhelming amount of content. Keep your messages to the pdownload (10)oint. Make bullet points or number important information, bold important words or short phrases, and hyperlink words so that the readers can find more information on the topic if they need to. Give examples so that your readers can mentally picture what you are trying to describe. Make your content simple but easy to understand. The Alzheimer’s Association does a great job keeping their site concise and to the point with many visuals, videos, and an organized website.

  1. Timing is everything

I mentioned it before but cannot stress it enough, timing is important. Whdownload (11)ether you are sharing content on Facebook, posting a blog, or updating a website, it is important to post it at the right times. Mid-afternoon and after dinner are high-traffic times on social media and therefore prime times to post new content. If content is posted too early or too late, it
gets buried and lost under the static from other posts. Post several times throughout the day. Keep your readers intrigued and wanting to come back for more information. Check out Sunny Brook’s Instagram page for a good example of post timing.

  1. Respond!

An advantage of having social media is the ability we have to respond to messages and comments from readers. If they have any questions, helpful comments, or concerns they can responimages (19)d to a post in only a few seconds. The important thing for us to do is to reply in
an appropriate amount of time. By responding to readers, we not only provide a helpful source that they can rely on but it also builds a personal relationship. Have a set time limit for replying such as 24 hours or a maximum of 48 hours. This way, readers know they can rely on a response and will come back to your site with any other questions they need. Health Digest is a great source for anyone with questions. They encourage their readers to comment below their posts and respond within a reasonable amount of time.

  1. Show why they need you

The final and most important part is to show your readers why they need you. Show them what’s in it for them and give them reasons to keep coming back. Answer tdownload (7)heir questions, give important information they can’t find anywhere else. Make your information clean and clear with plenty of visuals and bullet points so that they can easily pick out the most
important information. Let your readers know you value them. Men’s Health does a great job of this on their website because they incorporate so much information into one place. They provide healthy recipes, fitness tips, and all different types of health articles.

If anything…

If you take anything away from what I’ve written about over the past few months, I would hope that you would keep these final five steps in the back of your memory. Pull them out while writing, share them with a friend, or apply them to any work environment. By keeping these key concepts in mind, you will not fail.images (20)

Advertisements

You Need This

If you have not yet heard of Instagram, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon. The popularity of this new social network site has skyrocketed almost overnight reaching 100 million users. Instagram is a great source for anyone who iimages (17)s tired of sappy statuses, dull tweets, and social media rants. Instagram is an online photo and video-sharing social network platform that allows its users to share their content publicly or privately with their friends. Instagram provides filters for users to apply to their pictures as well as sharing through other social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, and Flickr. Instagram is a great source for ‘picture people’ like myself and wanna-be photographers to express themselves in a visual way. How can a healthcare system use a site that is strictly photos, you may ask? Simple. Here are a few creative ways for healthcare systems to use Instagram, or pictures at all, for their benefit…

  1. Engage

The first rule of using Instagram for a healthcare system is to engage with your followers. Show them you are there and can provide an ear to listen. One idea of engagement could be to creaInstagram-Contestte a picture contest to promote your office or business. It could be a personal story of how a doctor or nurse touched or helped a patient. The picture could be of them and the doctor/nurse together. Pick the best picture or story and post in on your Instagram. That way, you b
oth recognize your followers and promote your business at the same time. Check out Boston Children’s Instagram for inspiring stories and patient engagement.

  1. Sneak peak

Who doesn’t like sneak peaks? A cool way promote healthcare on Instagram is to post pictures of a short sneak peak. This could be to show a new building being built, a Starbucks coming soon to the hospital, an upcoming event, or a new product. People feel special if they feel like they are “in the know”. This also makes your Instagram valuable if it is a place where people can get breaking information first-hand.

  1. Backstage pass

Another way to make people feel special and excited about your business is to give them a behind the scenes view of something they do not normalimages (18)ly get to see. Show them the inside of an empty OR, a doctor scrubbing in before a surgery, or even a doctor’s lounge. People are interested in things they can’t see. Their curiosity will bring them right to your page and keep them coming back. Check out Shriners Hospitals for some great behind the scenes pictures.

  1. Display a product or service

Displaying a product or service not only increases the viewers’ knowledge of the organization but it also benefits the healthcare organization by showcasing the pros of what they have to offer. Take a picture of a service dog making his or her hospital rounds. Show a patient doing physical therapy with all the bright obstacles and machines in the therapy room. You could even show the cafeteria or fast-food restaurant located inside the hospital. Every piece of information shown is increasing viewers’ knowledge about the organization. Bon Secours Hampton Roads does a great job of this. They show their involvement in the community, the services the provide and how they use them in their area.

Instagram has and continues to rapidly become more and more popular. I encourage everyone to put both themselves and their organizations up on this social media platform. In order to be successful you have to go with the times. Instagram is an easy and fun way to stay up-to-date. Have fun with it!

 

Put it Down

images (11)Revolutionary, it could change the world, and mind-blowing were some phrases used to describe social media when it first came out. People were finally able to connect personally with their loved ones who lived miles away or on the other side of the world by engaging in pictures and videos showing off their new home or new life. We all thought it would be revolutionary but has it always been as great as we once thought it would be? Social media has started to affect our mental health and well-being, lowering self-esteem and assisting in eating disorders. What happened between it being revolutionary and now? Here are some health effects of time spent using social media.

The addict

Too much times spent using social media can be detrimental to your health. So much so that researchers have created a scale related to Facebook addiction called the images (2)Berge Facebook Addiction Scale (BFAS). The scale uses six different criteria to measure levels of Facebook addiction. Some examples include, “you spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook and planning how to use it”. The scale also uses words like “often” and “very
often” to get users to rate their time and experiences with Facebook. If four out of the six criteria are used frequently, then a Facebook addiction is present. Facebook is described by users to be used for things such as gaining attention and boosting self-esteem. However, Facebook does not always have such positive affects on people, unfortunately, sometimes the opposite happens and that is where we begin to have a problem.

Stress and eating disorders

Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have recently led to negative physical effects such as eating disorders and high levels of stress in high school students and college students. These negative effects come from the fact that people want to share their positive experiences but hide their negative ones. For example, the Facebook posts I put up will, most of the time, be happy, fun experiences. I love to post about my trips and fun weekends. However, the hard here is that I do not post mid-week struggles. I don’t want to shout out to the world if I’m having a bad day, I would rather conceal it. This is where the harm lies. If everyone only thinks my life is happy and great, that’s not real life. It makes others think less of themselves as if they don’t have as great of a life as mine… which is not true AT ALL! This sad downward spiral has led to these sad disorders.

How to improve?

We get it, this is sad and depressing, but how can we fix it?

Put it down

Did you hear that? Put. It. Down. If you’re talking with another person, lay your phone down. Engage in a human conversation of reading body language and facial expressions. Trust me, its mimages (16)uch better and easier to get their point than trying to read into a text or Twitter post of plain words. A good rule of thumbs to keep in mind is to only use your phone if you could pretend to talk on it, and not be rude. For example, if my friend or co-worker is trying to talk to me, I would think to myself, would it be rude to be talking to someone on the phone right now? An actual call? Of course it would! Not that I would actually talk on the phone, but texting, surfing social media, or even checking my email is just as rude to engage in while someone is carrying on a conversation with you as talking on the phone. Keep that in mind.

Game changer

A 19-year-old Instagram star quit social media and made a huge impact. Since then, she has encouraged everyone to know that “social media is not real life.” She has also launched her own website called Let’s Be Game Changers in order to inform others how destructive trying to gain approval online can really be.

Food for thought…

It is so easy to get caught up in social media. Trying to keep up with friends, family, and fashion has become almost a full-time job. It is so easy to only post things that flatter you, make you look good, or make your life look easy. We have all fallen guilty of posting the “best” picture. I encourage everyone to take a step back and see how this is impacting others. Take time away from social media to spend real time with friends and family.

 

Did I say that??

What is ethics you may ask and what does it have to do with health content? Ethics are all about the moral principles that control how we act and our behaviors. Have you ever download (7)wondered what ethical rules health organizations are held to when posting on social media? What about doctors and nurses? Are they allowed to post anything they want even on their private social media accounts? As always, here are several ethical things to keep in mind when posting health content on social media…

For Healthcare organization…

  • Stay positive

When posting anything health related, wither mental health, physical health, or emotional health, always try to stay positive. When you’re ill or feelindownload (8)g down, the last thing you want to hear is the slightest bit of negativity or bad new. Cheer things up! Share
positive stories about recovery. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation prides themselves in being a positive healthcare facility to all. Check them out!

  • Read before you share

Surprisingly enough, a lot of people do not read, or do not fully read articles before clicking the share button. Read! Know what information you’re sharing. I’m guilty, we probably all are but it can start here.

For doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals…

  • Stay professional!

For the love of God please stay professional!! Doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals should not be posting binge drinking on social media or sexually suggestive photos! It gives the wrong idea not only to your friends and family but also especially to clients, co-workers or people ranked over you. Do you have complaints about another doctor or know someone who does? Follow this link to report a state complaint to the medical board.

  • Just stay away

Avoid questionable things such as holding an alcoholic drink or making political comments. If a patient were to look you up, they could deny treatment from a doctor due to certain political beliefs. Save yourself the trouble and just stay away. Some doctors have download (9)admitted to unprofessional behavior in this study. Badmouthing other doctors and finding medical reasons not to care for a patient are demonstrated in this study and are DEFINITELY things to avoid.

I know it is not always easy to hold your tongue… it’s one of the things I struggle with the most! However, in this case, it holds the risk of loosing your job… that’s a big deal. Direct your energy somewhere else, encourage readers, it could get you a lot farther than a lost job.

Evaluation Nation

Evaluation is a vital part of planning in our daily lives. For example, when going to the grocery store, we evaluate the price of different brand items if we want to buy the stshutterstock_44222080ore brand or a name brand. We also are evaluated on our health if we are
healthy enough for physical activity or to fly on a plane. Evaluation is a key element in our daily lives that also apply to healthcare organization’s social media.

Healthcare organizations must also evaluate what they put out on social media before posting anything. How can a healthcare organization make the content they post worth evaluating? What can they put out there that would make their organization be chosen over a different one? Here is a list of to-do’s in order to be chosen over the “generic brand”.

Do understand who your audience is

When you know when your audience is then you can know how to reach them. Aim for a high conimages (13).jpegversation rate. Be humorous, meaningful, and having a deeper understanding of your audience. This will in turn, increase your business value. Women’s Health does a great job of this on Facebook by posting intriguing and humorous articles. Their page gets a lot of feedback both directly to them and from others.

Do expand your reach.

Yeah, yeah… everyone says that but how? If you only have but so many followers then you can only reach but so many people. False. If one of your followers thought you had an interesting piece of information or they got a good laugh out of it, they are likely to retweet it. Then not only have your followers seen it, but all of their followers have also been reached by your tweet. Be interesting. Make note of what types of information people like the most. Maybe there is a certain time during the day that you get more likes. Keep posting during those times. Soon your reach will soar. The Mayo Clinic does a great job demonstrating reach on Twitter. They tweet during the highest traffic times of the day posting shorter tweets and articles earlier in the day and tweets with more information later in the afternoon when they know their followers have more time to read full articles.

Do involve media

Video has quickly become the fastest storytelling medium in the market. Jump on the train because it is taking off somewhere fast and may never slow down. Keep your videoimages (14)s short between 30 seconds to 1.5 minutes; people want to get the facts and information quickly. Show a video of a backstage tour. Show them scenes they have never seen before. Be creative and spark their interest. Soon a lot more than just sneak peaks will intrigue them. Girls on the Run Grand Strand does a great job of posting inspiring and educational videos throughout their twitter. A lot of their media content involves different videos of real-life stories or live feed videos from their 5k races.

Overall, a plan needs to be set in place as to how you’re going to grab their attention. Think about if your health organization is going to spark interest. Is it going to get people talk? Are they going to want to repost it and contribute in a Facebook discussion about it? With this type of mindset, your followers will never get bored.

Why Strategy?

Have you ever been thrown into something without having a clue what to do or even where to begin or end? Everyone and everything needs a general idea of what to do or where to go… we all need a strategy. A strategy is simply put, a plan of action to get to your overall aim. download (6)Strategy is a key elements in our daily lives that also apply to healthcare organization’s social media.

Healthcare organizations must rely on strategy when putting out any healthcare information.

Here’s a list of what do to when putting out healthcare content on social media.

 

Create a Strategy…

Who?

Decide who your target audience is. The first step in any plan is to decide whom. Once you’ve decided this, then you can plan how to target your audience. Everyone is different and how you market or reach them will be different too. For example, there is a Facebook page titled Parents of Type 1 Diabetes. This targets a very specific audience of people. This page allows parents to talk, discuss recent problems or situations, comment on others post, and post local camps or diabetic activities.

Keep it simple

Do not overwhelm your reader by putting too much information or writing lengthy paragdownload (5)raphs. This could cause the reader to disengage and not read your information at all. Make it easy to read by putting bold headings with shorter summaries under each heading. Make the headings easy tips with information that short and to the point. Or caption your pictures with short captions that grab attention and link somewhere that they can find more information about the topic. The Red Cross does a great job of this on twitter. They tweet short messages and almost always post a link at the bottom so that their followers will know where to find more information.

Hear and be heard

One of the greatest things about posting information on social media is the publics’ ability to respond. A lot of times people will leave a comment with more information or asking anything from a simple question to an opinion about something. Listen! Hear what they have to say and leave a comment back answering them or giving advice. This ultimately makes your site more valuable to the public. They know they can get a quick response back if they are stuck in a bind. No one wants to be ignored. Never stop listening. For example, Texas Health Resources uses social media both or internal use and for community building. They use their social media to connect with each other, share comments, and message each other back and forth.

What’s in it for them?

Answer their questions. Give them a reason to keep coming back to your site. Like the example I gave in the beginning when choosing between a store brand or a name brand, give your readers reasons why to choose your site. Give good infAdvocate-Health-Care-Logoormation, make it clear, and be accessible. Advocate Health Care has an amazing Instagram page that posts both videos and pictures along with helpful links. They post videos of how to do things such a CPR and fun facts. This keeps their readers both informed and entertained.

 

Personally…

I think following healthcare organization of social media is a great idea. For one thing, I literally learn something new every day. I am a picture person so I love to scimages (11)roll through Instagram and just look at pictures. I love when hospitals or doctors offices post fun facts of the days. It is an extra bit of trivia to put in your back pocket and pull it out anytime you want to impress anyone or sound informed. My advice to all of you is to find organizations that fit your personality and follow them! It does not have to be about diabetes or something you’re diagnosed with. I love to give blood so I follow the Red Cross to see what blood drives are popping up in my local area. If you’re not into that then follow healthy recipes or easy workout boards on Pinterest. Keep it easy and fun you will always be informed and entertained.

Split.. Boom.. SNAP!

If you’re over the age of 30, odds are you’ve asked the question, “What is Snapchat?” It’s a fair question. Since a younger crowd dominantly uses Snapchat, what would someone out of college have to do with the app? Better yet, how can Snapchat be used by a healthcare organization? Snapchat is currently the fastest growing social network having more than 100 images (8)million people using the network on a daily basis. While Facebook dominates the market for businesses on social media, less than 2% of businesses use Snapchat to promote their organization. While this may seem like a downer to some, an optimist would look at it as an opportunity.

Snapchat is a mobile messaging app that snapchat11n-4-webis used to share photos, videos, text, and drawings with friends. What makes the app stand out from other popular social media sites is the fact that Snapchat messages, videos, and text disappear from those receiving after up to ten seconds. Snapchat allows its users to express their creative side through the drawing feature as well as filters, which allow users to add fun expressions and stickers.

Snapchat is growing in the healthcare industry but in order for it to continue growing, that 2% needs to rise! As always, here are some to-do’s for healthcare organizations that are looking to succeed in the world of Snapchat.

 

Who?

Think about who is going to be looking at your snaps. Snapchat is primarily used by the younger generation so try to engage them. Fitness tips, general health and wellness, and young parenting are all things that would apply.

 

What?

Snap anything! 65% of people are visual learners and believe it or not, Snapchat helps with this. A day in the life of a doctor or nurse would be a fun idea to snap. Someone in high school or looking for a new career could learn a lot about what it’s like to work in a hospital. Another inspiring idea would be to follow a journey of somSnapchat+Doctoreone going through therapy (of course the patient would need to be willing to share their journey and give their permission). Maybe a stroke patient would like to raise awareness of their journey. Their therapist could snap videos or pictures of sessions each day so followers could watch them as they build their strength. Young Stroke Survivors could use the videos to not only raise awareness but also to encourage other stroke patients and their families.

 

Where?

In the morning before going in for a shift, snap a healthy, hearty meal or a mirror selfie in scrubs. Come up with a clever caption or tag the time before an early shift. This shows the reality that being a doctor or a nurse really is around the clock. Snap a pic of the doctor’s break room, a view from behind the nurse’s station, the set up of an OR, or a doctor scrubbing in for a surgery. People love to be nosey and what better way to satisfy their needs than to give them a view from backstage.

 

When?

Snap throughout the day. Your Snapchat story expires every 24 hours so post some snaps throughout the day or night. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, post healthy food ideas, exercise routines, or encourage people to have regular check ups. Show that an OBGYN visit could be healthy and not as scary as some may think; especially to the younger crowd who may have reservations about going. Show motivation and encouragement throughout the day.

Who to follow

Here is a helpful site of inspiring Snapchat accounts to follow, get motivated!