KB: We use social media at the American College of Chest Physicians each day. We have employed social tools to build a community, share the latest research and news in chest medicine with our membership, educate and inform the public and patients about health topics like COPD, lung cancer and asthma.
We are most proud lately of our work on Reddit. Our Reddit Ask Me Anything was designed to increase awareness of a non-pharmacological treatment of severe asthma called bronchial thermoplasty, to raise awareness of the American College of Chest Physicians, and to position the organization as a thought leader in pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine. We have a couple more AMAs planned this year and we’re thrilled to bring interesting researchers and ideas to this community.
I’m also really excited to continue exploring how our use of Facebook Live can help break down boundaries, bring information to those who might not otherwise get it due to geography or economics. We’ve already started dabbling in Facebook Live in our training center—it’s a great facility and we host courses often and the tool is helping us to tell that story.
Sounds like you are using social media in some creative and innovative ways Kristi. Can you remember back to when you first started using social media? What prompted you to get started with it?
KB: I began my career as a fundraiser and in partnership management for a non-profit. While working for the CHEST Foundation as a Development Manager, I fell into social media. We had a public-facing campaign and I was able to take a tiny budget and make a real impact in reach, engagement and mobilization in a New Year’s contest we were holding. I immediately fell in love and luckily work for an organization that allowed me to take on a new role in our Marketing Communications department so I could further explore my interests. My role continues to evolve at CHEST, but I absolutely have a real love for social and new media.
It’s wonderful that you are able to explore and nurture you passion for social media in your career. That’s awesome. So which platforms do you enjoy the most?
KB: It’s so hard to choose—like picking a favorite child (ha!), but I like them all for different reasons. Professionally, Twitter is amazing. I love that I’m able to connect with like-minded people working in the field, and follow clinicians working in chest medicine to see what they are most interested in—that part really informs my day-to-day work.
For reach—it’s a tool within a platform, but I’m loving the impact of Facebook Live. And, from a branding perspective, we have really enjoyed employing Spotify playlists as a tool for promoting the meeting location each year for our annual meeting. Our team has a great time curating these playlists. And, it’s a nice opportunity to show that our meeting isn’t all about the science! We’ve also used Storify as a tool to engage our subject matter experts in curating interesting content in a specific area. We syndicate these across our platforms. It’s an easy way to engage thought leaders and, again, gives us plenty of ideas as we develop our own content.
I love that idea of using Spotify! What a fun way to showcase your brand’s personality. Now I’m interested to learn more about which healthcare topics interest you. Do you take part in any particular twitter chats?
KB: CHEST holds quarterly Twitter chats with the hashtag #pulmCC. We’ve worked hard to engage different sub-specialties in the chats and we’ve talked about big data in the ICU, palliative care, sarcoidosis—it’s run the gamut. I’m also completely in awe of the lung cancer social media chat, #lcsm. The group behind the chat and Twitter handle are so passionate about what they do. I had the pleasure this year of meeting two of them at CHEST 2016—Deana Hendrickson and Tom Verghese (pictured below).
They are two really amazing people. Deana lost her mother to lung cancer, and Tom is a thoracic surgeon. I’m just moved beyond belief by them because they have created a real grassroots movement around a highly-stigmatized disease. I’ve learned a ton from this group and continue to learn!
I know both Deana and Tom through Twitter and I too am in awe of the work they are doing. Without social media, I know I would never have met such incredible people. It’s one of the reasons I love social media so much and recommend it to people who work in health care. For those who are just starting to use social media what advice would you give to them?
KB: Have a plan! There are so many platforms, cool ideas and things you could do. But, be true to your brand, audience and really think things through and don’t get overwhelmed. Develop a strategy and stick to it—but be flexible because the landscape is constantly changing.
And, read. I was lucky enough to go to grad school at DePaul and get my MA in New Media Studies—but before formal education, I consumed as much information as I could about social media, healthcare, health communications, the patient experience, and what clinicians were talking about on social media. This reading and research benefits me almost every day of my life. Always be a student!
Thanks Kristi for taking the time to share with us your experience of using social media in your work. I’ve really enjoyed learning about the creative ways you are leveraging popular social platforms, and I’ve even picked up some new tips from you!
About Kristi Bruno
Kristi Bruno is Director of Communications, Media and Marketing with the American College of Chest Physicians and a proud alum of DePaul University’s New Media Studies MA program. Kristi was named Folio: Top Women in Media Rising Star and was the 2016 New Media Studies Fellow at DePaul University. She has spoken at Social Media Week Chicago, and has published on the topic of healthcare social media in several notable journals and blogs. She can be found on Twitter (of course), @kristibruno and she blogs at kristibruno.com.