Monday, February 20, 2017

To blog, or not to blog? Today’s provider social media question for consideration.

One of the easiest ways for providers to take advantage of social media is blogging. There are thousands of stories of quality care. There are the stories of dedicated and highly educated and trained professional employees.  There are physicians on the medical staff whose collective knowledge and practice of medicine tallies in the hundreds of years with stories of quality, care, and compassion to tell.  Volunteers are coming in daily who have heartwarming stories of engagement and loyalty and most importantly the first-hand experience with their care or a loved one’s health care. 

No additional resources needed for this effort. The communications talent in your marketing department is already in the building, ready to provide compelling content and context surrounding the hospital or health system.

Best of all you control the message.  The hospital or health system can link to the website. Post to Facebook. Broadcast on Twitter. Engage potential employees and followers on the Hospital page on LinkedIn. And use the blog as a mechanism for establishing an active media relations program to develop a press following.

I don’t understand why, and please don’t site HIPAA.  There is nothing in blogging that requires the release of protected health information.  That is nothing but a smoke screen used to not engage in social media.

Let me pose to you this question.  How many times has the provider marketing team completed a Google search to see who is blogging and writing about the organization? Just because an organization doesn’t engage in an aspect of social media doesn’t mean that it’s not happening in the broader community.  Remember that the healthcare consumer is the new paparazzi.

But beyond that little exercise, blogging should be part of the structure of a strategic and fully integrated organizational marketing plan. It’s a method for communicating. It’s a method for building a brand.  It’s a process of engaging not only the patient but the newly minted health insured and the burgeoning healthcare consumer.  They are all out there searching for information, so why not provide them with meaningful content?

Now that being said, this isn’t about fluff. Oh, look at the new building. See our state-of-the-art cardiac cath lab.  Or the ever popular we have wireless internet and HD TVs!  Blogging is about controlling the message, experience and providing meaningful engagement content by using the blog innovatively.

Since so few providers blog, this is a blue ocean strategy for reaching out and engaging. You establish the tone, tenor, and terms of communication are determined via content that has contextual clarity.   And that ladies and gentleman, makes everyone else in the market-  me too.

 To blog or not to blog the hospital?  I think the question has been answered.

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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