Webinar Followup – Building a Social Network

I ran out of time during last week’s Webinar “Meet Consumer Expectations” and was left with some questions that were naturals for a response here on GeoVoices.These questions boil down to the following:

Can you list some hospitals that are setting up their own social networks?How do we do this?What do we need to do to make these successful?

In other words, “We want to start our own online community, what should we do?”Without knowing details about your organization, audiences that you seek, or communities you envision setting up, the answer is you probably shouldn’t start a community!

Start by asking the question – Why does your brand need its own online community?

If the network you envision truly doesn’t exist or if the audience you’re trying to reach isn’t participating in an online community (but if they are willing to do so if such a community is sponsored by your organization), then this makes sense.On the other hand, if you think that you can control your message through this network, think again!

For most hospitals, the strategy should be to go to where your audience is, rather than making them come to you. An example of this was brought to my attention through a blog post by Shel Holtz, which discussed Parkland Health & Hospital System’s efforts to reach out to teens through MySpace.

One of my favorite bloggers on topics of social networking, Forrester’s Jeremiah Owyang, recently participated in a virtual roundtable on the question of when it’s appropriate to create your own social network.This podcast dives into much greater detail on the situations under which a private-label online communitywould be appropriate.

Signing up for a new online community presents a barrier even for people who are comfortable with social networking.Utilizing a community in which your audience already has accounts and checks regularly greatly increases the ease with which they can get involved.

If you can’t make this Webinar – don’t worry! We record all of our live broadcasts so that you can replay them at your own convenience. All recordings are available on our Web site 48 hours after the original event. You can access any recorded webinars using your Geonetric.com account.

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Ben Dillon

About Ben Dillon

Ben’s a big picture type of guy. He loves sharing new ideas in digital marketing, keeping a watchful eye on healthcare industry trends and seeing how it all intersects. A sought-after speaker, writer, blogger and current SHSMD board member, Ben’s an influential voice in healthcare marketing, helping organizations across the country embrace online strategies to engage health consumers. Combine his industry savvy with his background in software development and you can see why he’s also an important member of Geonetric’s software team, ensuring our content management system stays a step ahead of market needs. Ben holds a master’s degree in eBusiness and strategic management from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Michigan. When he’s not traveling and evangelizing, Ben enjoys cooking with his family and playing the Big House with the University of Michigan Alumni marching band.

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