Sunday, January 22, 2017

Dear CEO, this is why you need social media.

“We don’t do social media,” says the CEO.

I find that time, and again, CEOs and leaderships teams are making things more complicated than they need to be because of outmoded ideas or misconceptions, especially when it comes to social media. Maybe, though, it’s more about the fear of becoming more accountable, transparent and growth oriented.  Besides thinking you know it all and can do everyone’s job.

It does require letting go of the past, the way you have always done things and realize that you do not have all the answers.

Social media is a two-way conversation.  The vendor can engage and enhance the provider understanding of the issues and manage buyer journey with content that is delivered at the right time, in the right format to enhance the customer’s experience. The healthcare provider can engage the patient and healthcare consumer, position themselves as the solution to the search for high-quality, cost-effective healthcare across channels and build trusted status. 

After all, isn’t that what the surveys are saying? Buyers aka providers, vendors, healthcare consumers and patients, desire their choices in companies to be trusted and are active in social media channels to reach those audiences?

In the simplest of terms, it’s all about being where the audience can be found.

And in real world bottom-line results, you cannot grow revenue, market share, and brand without social media.

Ready, Set, Go -10 Steps for Success

1.       Commit to social media all the time. The challenge is to keep in front of your audience with relevant information, all the time.  Attention spans are short.  If someone sees no changes on a pretty regular basis in your content or information, they will fall away.
2.       Create a following on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for example.
3.       Spend at least 10-15 hours per week engaged in social media activities.   Share articles and comment on appropriate topics in their LinkedIn groups. Comment and share your company blog. Social media is all about knowledge and value.
4.       Make sure social media is an active part of your marketing activities.
5.       Make sure that everyone is using the same social media tactics, techniques and materials. All marketing materials should be content appropriate and provide value, not features and benefits. Does the content for sharing answer the questions, how does this help me? One size does not fit all.
6.       Revisit and change as needed, the ideal company profile and buyer personas.  Why? Because as you learn via social media and social selling one can infer intentions, pain points and challenges they are looking to solve by what they read, comment on or share. All clues in developing your social media and social selling approach.
7.        Use marketing automation for accountability, tracking, etc., and make sure your marketing department has full access to the information.  Mine the data for strategy and new opportunities.
8.       Once one understands the publications and interests of the audience search out relevant content to share. Do not limit yourself to content that is created in-house. Become the well informed, eclectic CEO with a wide variety of thought leadership sources.
9.        Make sure that the entire organization knows what you are doing.  Nothing more embarrassing or damaging when someone at any level of the organization is clueless and can't be supportive.
10.   Evaluate, monitor performance, make changes as needed in the program or staff and start the cycle again.

Understand that social media channels are living, breathing entities.  They have staying power in the market environment and provide a consistent presence for the enterprise to be easily found, tell the brand story, engage, influence choice, as well as manage experience.  

Don’t so social media?  Then be prepared not to grow.

Michael is a healthcare marketing business, marketing, and communications strategist and thought leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare marketing strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters receives over 20,000 page views a month and read in 52 countries.  He is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association and HubSpot Academy- Email Marketing, Inbound Marketing & Inbound Sales Certified. Post opinions are my own.

For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join his group, Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

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