Five Reasons You Should Approach Social Media Differently

We’ve all dipped our toes into the social media pool at this point, but the novelty has worn off (for your executives, if not for you) and you want to really start making something of these tools.

In other words, it’s time to get serious and put together a plan that’s ready for prime time. As you look to take your hospital’s social media endeavors to the next level, here are five things you must start looking at differently.

  1. Social is part of our lives. Stop thinking about your social channels as special, delicate flowers that need to be handled with care. These have turned into workhorse tools just like TV or the Internet. This means that social needs its own strategy – but not a strategy that stands on its own. Social platforms work best when they’re operating in concert with your other marketing and communications efforts. These are also tools that require serious engagement.
  2. Fish where the fish are, but watch how many lines you’re casting. Consumers now congregate in virtual communities of their choosing and that’s where they talk about you. They no longer need to come to you to get information. Today, you need to have a social monitoring program to catch these conversations where they’re happening. From that list of places, you then need to determine where and how your organization is going to engage. No organization has the resources to be everywhere in a meaningful way. So divide and conquer – determine where you just listen, where you respond, where you establish social outposts and where you build your own communities.
  3. SoLoMo. Relevance matters and nothing is making consumers’ engagements more personal and relevant than the collision of social, local and mobile (SoLoMo). Mobile devices are very personal and people carry them turned on 24×7. This combination of factors is a marketer’s dream, capable of reflecting individual preferences AND current situation. Who am I? What do I like? Who are my friends? What do they like? Where am I right now? SoLoMo brings all of these personalization parameters together. The convergence of these technologies offers the ability to target and segment not available in any other way.
  4. There is no R (return) without I (investment). Yes, it is possible to calculate ROI for social media initiatives, but only when you bake ROI into your plans from the beginning. The biggest barrier to return isn’t the inability to track or measure what’s being done, it’s the lack of investment put behind these programs. TV advertising gets tremendous resources for market research, planning, creative development and production because it costs so much for distribution. Just because social media brings the distribution cost down to almost nothing doesn’t mean that you can shortcut the process and still get a great financial return.
  5. Start with a program mentality. One area where social media is different from most of our traditional marketing tools is the timeframe. Social takes a sustained effort over time to build and engage a following. Unless you’re hiring Isiah Mustafa, you must resource, staff and plan for social like an ongoing program rather than a campaign. Sure you may run campaigns that utilize social media, but if you start from scratch when doing so, don’t expect much.

There’s no better time than right now to take your social media efforts to the next level. Check out our Advanced Social Media webinar event to learn more strategies for social media success.

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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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