The more and more I work with large hospitals working to integrate a social media strategy, educate the organization, and build a community of social media communicators…the more I am learning that the only way you can eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Not as social media communicator, but as a practitioner.
The next task on my agenda, work with a department outside within a “service line”. I had an appointment and met the director and a nurse. What I realized, they had already built a solid strategy for this department’s social media approach: build a community. They just used technology to connect and share branded information that allowed the patients to trust and learn more about the organization.
I sat back and thought…large organizations have so many tentacles, so many messages, so many “brand ambassadors.” We as practitioners need to be careful when implementing a social media strategy before evaluating a the communication strategy. A communication strategy with the organization’s audiences and with the organization’s “brand ambassadors.”
More and more large organizations are talking about a huge social media issue, they have tons of “brand ambassadors”! This is a good thing and can also pose a challenge. If you take a large hospital that has lots of service lines, departments, and thousands of employees that represent the face of the organization…there are probably lots of active social media accounts that are not a part of the strategy.
We are social creatures and we are also technology creatures as well. We want to use something that will connect us with other people that share the same ideas and conversations. It may be a receptionist in a doctors office of a major medical university. The front line relationship for that office because they are the ones who meets the patients on a daily basis. they might think, hey…start a Facebook group to connect with patients and offer them some information that might help them. Connect with them daily and build a relationship with them. The reality, they are one of many people out there doing the same thing, inside an organization.
What comes of this can lead to some interesting conversations. Right now, hospitals across the country are scrambling as fast as they can (especially in marketing departments) to not only understand the social media’s but also create repository of all the accounts and set-up some best practices. Their is a brand identity conversation and for hospitals, a HIPPA conversation.
So…what to do? COMMUNICATE!
You now have “brand ambassadors” within your organization that you can work with to build a Social Media strategy for the whole organization. They are the front line people meeting with those who use the organization’s services. Empower and engage the “brand ambassadors.”
First step…build a team! Empower those “brand ambassadors” in your organization and engage those who are the tentacles to all of the service lines and departments. Build an advisory team and meet regularly.
Second…do a social media assessment of the organization. Spend time finding all of the social media accounts that have been created and identify those who are managing these accounts.
Third…after you have built a list of all the social media accounts within the organization (or someway represent part or whole of the organization), do a message analysis of these account. Learn what messages they are transmitting, what conversations are taking place, and the frequency of these messages.
Fourth…identify the audiences each one of these social media accounts are engaging. Be as specific as possible, drilling down to the very core of this group.
Fifth..compare notes between the messages of the “brand ambassadors” and the organization’s brand. Find the consistencies and the discrepancies.
Sixth…write a social media mission statement for the organization and all the tentacles that fall under the brand. Engage your “brand ambassadors”.
Engage, Communicate, and Tell the Stories.