A funny thing happened to what was ‘social’ media like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube Instagram, etc., where communities of people formed and came together to share funny videos of baby’s and dogs and photos of “here are the dishes I am having for dinner” postings.
Social media platforms have evolved for better or for worse into the new mainstream media #NMM. Twitter and other platforms now drive the news cycle. A racist tweet comes out, and a TV show canceled. The last petulant Twitter escapades of POTUS make headlines. Reporters post their stories on Twitter, Facebook, Flipboard for example, before they ever hit the website or print editions.
Reporters who previously loathed the ICYMT in an email, now use the acronym to accompany their story posts and reposts.
Action and reaction drive the news cycle. Everyone is a reporter without the benefit of an editor or having to fact check. “If it’s on the Internet and social media than it must be true.” A statement that has gone from being a standard joke to some ridiculousness posted, to the new standard of acceptability as true without verification.
What does the mean for hospitals and health systems?
It means a new approach strategically and tactically to social media. Strategy and tactics that are proactive for media news generation that is much more serious and refined. An evolution from the look at what we do, evolving to the significant news of the day that will have an impact on your health and wellness. From pretty pictures of buildings and smiling staff, to content and messaging that will impact the news cycles. From hoping someone will follow the hospital to following reporters and editors to pitch the news.
Consider the following hypotheticals. A person decides to examine the hospital history of malpractice settlement and tweets out the findings. Someone takes the mortality rate information from CMS and computes the number of patients that die in the hospital each year and say it is from preventable medical errors.
No warning. No anonymous news tips to reporters or assignments editors. A tweet. Blog posts. A Facebook post. A YouTube commentary. The story goes viral. News media outlets pick it up, and now there is a media crisis communications situation.
Do you still think social media is unimportant or just fluff?
It’s the new mainstream media.
And if you aren’t finding ways to leverage and build relationships with reporters and key influencers using the new mainstream media, then you risk losing control of the narrative you want in the market.
It’s time to stop calling them ‘social.’
Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist, and thought-leader. As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters is read in 52 countries and listed on the As an expert in digital marketing & social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide and is an established influencer. Inquires for strategic consulting engagements can be made by calling 815-351-0671. Opinions expressed are my own.ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, and a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association.
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