Social Media in the Health Services Industry


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it\'s 2009 - The global community awaits your social media strategy. An analysis of social media with a focus on the health services industry. Very recent examples are cited. Please contact me with any questions or if you\'d like a free, customized, social media opportunity analysis.

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Social Media in the Health Services Industry

  1. 1. Social Media in the Health Services Industry Orange Paper 17 April 2009
  2. 2. it’s 2009 The global community awaits your social media strategy. 1
  3. 3. Social technology adoption increased tremendously in 2009. Three in four U.S. adults now use online social tools to connect with each other, compared with just 56 percent in 2007.1 Two-thirds of the world’s internet population participates in social media with the sector accounting for nearly 10 percent of all internet time.2 This growth in popularity of social is really only half of the story. The staggering increase in the amount of time people are spending on social media properties is changing how people behave, share and interact within their normal daily lives. Consequently, social media is eating into the share of online time held by other sectors. A recent Nielsen Wire report claims that the total amount spent online globally increased 18 percent between December 2007 and December 2008.3 In this same period, the amount of time spent on Member Community sites rose by 63 percent, which accounts for 1 in every 11 online minutes. What else changed in 2008? Ratings and reviews, “voting” for websites, and peer- generated video experienced the largest growth, while blogs and tagging closely followed. The social audience is becoming more inclusive; what started out as a pursuit of the young is now shifting to an older audience. People under 18 years of age are making up less of the social network and blogging audience, whereas the 50+ age group are accounting for more of the audience. 1 Social Networking’s Global New Footprint, posted 9 March 2009 to the Nielsen Wire website. 2 Ibid. 3 Ibid. 2
  4. 4. Forrester’s Social Technographics®1 classifies consumers into six overlapping levels of participation. Older adults are now also more likely to participate socially as Spectators and Critics, placing them in the active rungs of the Social Technographics® ladder. 1 Social Technolographics is a registered trademark of Forrester Research, Inc. 3
  5. 5. “If the past few years of health marketing at CDC have taught us anything, it is that the days of the passive consumer who receives top-down health information are virtually gone.” relates the Director of the U.S. Centers of Disease Control (CDC), Jay M. Bernhardt, PhD, MPH. “People now choose rethink participatory models of information exchange in which they seek out and interact with information, often using web- based and mobile technology. This shift challenges health Successful health marketers to use customer-centered strategies to keep up marketing demands with people, because for health information to reach people, customer-centric and it must be delivered using the same cutting-edge media that people already use to access all the other relevant information in their lives.”1 cutting-edge tactics. Recently, the CDC participated in a unique, interagency collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to use interactive and social media to enhance the response to the deadly Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak and its associated recall of peanut butter and peanut-containing products. This collaboration included podcasts for adults and children, widgets for web pages and social network profiles, mobile-accessible content at, Twitter messaging, promotion through social networks, and outreach to bloggers. There are currently 216 hospitals actively involved in the social media channels of YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. YouTube is the most popular with 126 channels, followed by 132 Twitter accounts and 83 Facebook accounts.2 In mid-February 2009, Henry Ford Hospital surgeons sent Tweets from the operating room during a live partial nephrectomy performed with the da Vinci®3 surgical system. For this, the hospital gained national media attention from CNN. Dr. Craig Rogers, the lead surgeon in the Henry Ford Hospital surgery, claimed that the impetus for his Twittering was to let people know a tumor can be removed without taking the entire kidney.4 Following along online were other physicians, medical students and the merely curious. 1 Excerpt from Health Marketing Musings, posted 26 January 2009 at CDC Director’s Blog website. 2 Data gleaned Ed Bennett’s blog. 3 The da Vinci robotic surgical system is a registered trademark of Intuitive Surgical, Inc. 4 Surgeons Send Tweets from Operating Room, by Elizabeth Cohen, posted 17 February 2009 on the CNN website. 4
  6. 6. Aurora Health Care also produced a live Twitter-cast of a surgery in April 2009. The knee replacement procedure was billed as was an informational broadcast meant to educate thousands of viewers. During the surgery, Aurora caregivers posted updates as Tweets and answered questions from people before, during, and after the procedure. As a direct result of the Twitter-cast, Aurora’s total number of Twitter followers grew from 930 followers to 1,700 registered followers in one day. During the surgery, the number spiked to 2,240. Followers included patients, press, doctors, staff, and other hospitals, to name a few. Aurora also saw its content being shared more than 75 times through re-Tweets to other networks. News of Aurora’s live surgery on Twitter traveled quickly, alerting representatives of the show “Good Morning America” who then covered the surgery on a segment of the show. “This was an educational experience not only for the thousands of audience members, but for Aurora as well,” said Jeff Smith, vice president of medical affairs at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center. “This event helped us to better identify the information people need to alleviate fears, dispel myths, and learn about a potential procedure.”1 Sanofi-Aventis is using the YouTube channel GoInsulin to break down barriers and misperceptions about insulin. This channel tests visitors knowledge about insulin and features videos of real people talking about their struggles to manage their blood sugar. In published interviews, Sanofi’s Senior Product Manager, Metabolism Marketing, Lynn Crowe states that the company’s first-ever YouTube channel “is indicative of our belief that expanding social media platforms will play an increasing role with patients, and can be used to effectively deliver information on the risks and benefits of diabetes treatment and care.”2 1 Aurora Health Care Twitter-Surgery a Success, news release posted 16 April 2009 on Aurora Health Care website. 2 Sanofi Leverages YouTube for Diabetics, by Ben Comer, posted 9 February 2009 on Medical Marketing and Media website. 5
  7. 7. recently observed that as companies search for new ways to market their products and engage their customers in the current taciturn economy, chief executive officers are finally looking more and more at how social networking tools can extend their brands, create corporate cultures based on listening and learning, and establish their own leadership profiles. “Nonetheless, big brands, generally speaking, haven’t successfully tapped the potential of social media; they tend to regard Web 2.0 platforms as just another way plan to push out short-term marketing campaigns. They fail to grasp that the new media require new ways of doing business. Old ways need to be tossed out.”1 It’s critical to develop a strategic plan of action. 6
  8. 8. Negative Results in the Absence of a Social Media Plan To be successful, a social media strategy needs to be fully integrated with your other digital strategies. Failing to properly engage can have a serious impact, as Johnson & Johnson (J&J) brand managers recently found out. Over a weekend in mid November, the blogosphere exploded in outrage over a social media campaign that centered around Motrin. Motrin customers and potential customers viewed the campaign as cynical, misinformed, tone-deaf, horrible and ridiculous. They were offended and furious. J&J failed to weigh in on this controversy at all over the weekend, which did nothing to stem the tide of angry sentiment. By Sunday night, the internet was peppered with irate blog postings and anti-Motrin YouTube videos, and the negative conversation was the number one topic on Twitter. The New York Times covered the controversy the next day in an article.1 The Motrin website was shut down on Monday by J&J, and their vice president of marketing emailed bloggers an apology. In his blog on the Advertising Age website, Tom Martin noted that J&J missed out on a huge opportunity to engage in a conversation with the audience they were attempting to reach and understand.2 He claims that an established social media presence would have been immensely helpful for generating a positive Motrin campaign. He also believes that a credible, monitored Twitter account for J&J might have nipped the negative Tweets about the ad campaign in the bud. 1 Yes, CEOs Should Facebook and Twitter, posted 11 March 2009 by Matthew Fraser and Soumitra Duttahttp on the Forbes website. 1 Moms and Motrin, posted 17 November 2008 by Lisa Belkin on the New York Times’ Parenting Blog website. 2 Did Motrin Overreact to Twitter Complaints?, posted 20 November 2008 by Tom Martin on the Advertising Age website. 7
  9. 9. Another Missed Opportunity On 16 December 2008, the Cleveland Clinic issued a media alert for an upcoming 17 December news conference where they would announce the first near-total face transplant in the U.S. Cleveland Clinic’s media team developed an excellent content page with background, context, and digital assets for the working press. The channel carried an edited version of this press conference and subsequent discussion, along with procedural animation and operating room video. The well coordinated coverage catapulted the SurgeryNews into YouTube’s Top 40 most visited channels for the day (en par with the FoxNews Channel). The Cleveland Clinic did not post this material to their own YouTube channel until the following day and initially received less than 200 views; just a fraction of the over 10,000 hits on Surgery News. Currently this material has compiled over 19,000 aggregate views on SurgeryNews compared with just over 1,100 views on Cleveland Clinic’s own channel. While it is possible that an internal review process may have delayed Cleveland Clinic’s YouTube posting, it would suggest a breakdown in what was an otherwise excellent media strategy. 8
  10. 10. Right now, your customers and most likely your competitors are writing about your products/services on blogs; defining you on Wikipedia, posting user generated videos on YouTube and commenting on social networking sites like Facebook. Are you listening? Do you know what the tone of your brand is in the social media sphere? Do you know how to use this social activity to your own advantage? act What To Do: Best Practices for Getting Started • Invest yourself personally/professionally in the social media world What toe should be • Observe and listen first, using your personal presence, in different channels dipped in the waters • Move quickly, but do not rush; a poor presence does more harm than no presence first? • Coordinate company-wide efforts; educate constituents • Get focused and start small; select a business objectives/audience • Identify company strengths and unique assets (people, content, etc.) • Identify the type of engagement that can energize your audiences • Emphasize value, quality, depth and differentiation • Find unique, authentic, human voices for the company in alignment with your objectives • Manage expectations • Commit. 9
  11. 11. Proven, Winning Strategies for Social Media Strategic Foundation From the outset, Acsys Interactive provides focus, prioritization and context to your social media planning. We start by analyzing data about the social behaviors of your audience. Our team examines how social media let us help affects your industry, and reviews your competitor's activities to provide a clear perspective on where your organization sits. Acsys Interactive has proven, winning strategies that can help you build a successful strategy and action plan. We then look within your company to uncover unique content assets and capabilities-information that can be used to start a dialog with your audience in concert with your existing offline marketing initiatives. 10
  12. 12. Expert Implementation While we pride ourselves on big ideas and big-picture thinking, we are rooted in developing practical, actionable, scalable plans that provide opportunities for rapid execution, learning and quick wins. Acsys Interactive is highly skilled in the development of digital assets (video, rich media, audio and text) for the chosen social media channels. Our world-class marketing, creative and technology teams work together to seamlessly execute the initiatives put forth in the strategic plan. Free Consultation Talk to the experts at Acsys Interactive about our free, customized, social media opportunity analysis. 11