It was a super experience and as I pointed out in my talk, I would never have imagined myself speaking to these clinicians, nurses, and researchers, if it wasn’t for Twitter. It still gives me a thrill to think how far a tweet can take you. It was by meeting Dr James Underberg, President of the National Lipid Association on Twitter that I found myself on my way from Ireland to Philadelphia for this meeting. So never underestimate those connections you make online – you just never know how far they may take you!
The social channels we use are less important now than ever before. Today, it’s all about how you tell your story.
Convince and Convert recently created a short video which explores the idea that stories are becoming the new newsfeed of social media. It’s less about what social network you use to reach your audience. What is important today is how you tell a story.
Snapchat changed the game when it evolved from a messaging app to a storytelling platform. Now stories are integrated as part of Instagram, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp. Stories are becoming the new newsfeed of social media, and you can’t avoid stories because your customers aren’t using Snapchat. So when we think about how to make content for social media, we need to be thinking in stories, and not in posts.
The presenter shares three elements essential to producing good stories:
Use vertical video
Create a chronological narrative sequence
Add overlays such as text, filters, stickers, and emoji
Carefully choosing your social channels no longer has the impact it once had on your marketing success.
Many of the new feature roll-outs on top social platforms have focused on storytelling.
Forget about reaching your daily quota of posts, and focus more on the stories you share.
I love learning about new tools to make social media marketing more creative and effective, so I’ve decided to share some of my favourite tools with you at the start of each week. This week’s cool tool recommendation is Buzzsumo a useful tool to explore what pieces of content are popular on social media around a certain topic. Use it to analyze what content performs best for any topic or competitor, and find the key influencers to promote your content.
Here’s an overview of what turns up when I input “social media marketing tips” into Buzzsumo’s search tool.
I can easily determine which posts are most popular through the number of shares they get. The free version is useful to get a quick snapshot, but if you are interested in doing more with the tool, you will need to upgrade to the paid version.
The first time I read this quote from Dana Lewis, moderator of #hcsm the premier tweet chat on healthcare, I was gripped by the notion of how Twitter and in particular tweet chats could influence the way we practise healthcare.
Social media is a radical shift in the way we communicate. The healthcare conversation is no longer a one-way narrative but is evolving into a global, participatory discussion. One of the most powerful ways I see this happening is in the modality of the tweet chat. The role Twitter plays in breaking down patient/provider barriers, disseminating and expanding the reach of healthcare information, widening social networks and co-creating a collaborative model of shared health information is one of the most exciting developments in social media.
What Is A Tweet Chat?
For those who may be unfamiliar with the phenomenon of a tweet chat – it is a pre-arranged chat that happens on Twitter through the use of updates called tweets. It includes a predefined #hashtag which links the tweets together in a virtual conversation. Most tweet chats follow a common format of a moderator who introduces pre-arranged topics relevant to the chat and keeps the conversation on track. The chats usually last one hour and a transcript of tweets is available after the chat has ended.
Symplur is doing an impressive job of compiling all of the healthcare hashtags and providing chat transcripts in The Healthcare Hashtag Project. The goal of the project is to make the use of healthcare social media and Twitter more accessible for the healthcare community as a whole (a full list and a tweet chat calendar of meeting times can be found on the Symplur website).
What Is The Impact Of Tweet Chats On Healthcare?
As a relatively new technological innovation, the use of Twitter as a modality for health communication is only now beginning to be explored with particular emphasis on the role Twitter may play in contributing to health based conversations directed at individual, community, and societal levels.
Many times, people’s choices in terms of Personal Health Practices (PHP) are context dependent and socially constructed. Healthcare tweet chats have tremendous potential to motivate participants and encourage change. Much of this change comes from peer-to-peer support which has been shown to be highly effective in motivating change. Many participants share conversational and informational knowledge that they believe is valuable both to themselves and others.
Studies show that individuals enrolled in meaningful social networks have protective properties in terms of overall health and wellbeing. Healthcare tweet chats provide participants with a sense of community and valuable opportunities for meaningful exchange and positive interactions.
The impact of digital technology in healthcare is leading to changing expectations by health consumers who, along with a desire to share information and connect with others, increasingly want to interact and engage with their healthcare providers. Twitter has also facilitated the emergence of the “patient opinion leader” an individual who is seen as an expert in chronic conditions such as cancer. Gunther Eysenbach refers to this group as “Apomediaries” – individuals that assist in the process of information searching but do not act as a gatekeeper.
So, what’s in it for healthcare practitioners?
Dr Bryan Vartabedian (@Doctor_V) of Baylor College notes of social media “the greatest value of this medium is the breakdown of barriers that have traditionally come between doctor and patient.” It is encouraging to see the increasing participation by doctors in many healthcare tweet chats, reaching out and sharing information, but also listening too.
Twitter offers opportunities for healthcare to reach out to patients in new and valuable ways.
These [social media] tools help us reach so many more people; we can bring shared interactions into our practice and that is powerful … This isn’t an addition to your job. This is part of your job. This is a conversation, and that is what we are trained to do … This is where our patients are these days and this is where we need to reach them. We can engage learners, patients and peers, and we are not limited by geography or time – Farris Timimi, M.D., medical director for the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media.
Another striking feature is Twitter’s crowd-sourcing capacity which allows health consumers, researchers and practitioners tap into a global source of advice, support and information. Twitter also provides a unique opportunity to learn from patients’ direct experience shared during these chats.
If healthcare innovators and providers wish to remain relevant and connected to digitally enabled patients, they need to go where the conversations are – more and more those conversations are happening on Twitter and the evolving dynamic of the tweet chat is the best place to find them.
Eysenbach, G. (2008). Medicine 2.0: Social networking, collaboration, participation, apomediation, and openness. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 10(3), e22. doi:10.2196/jmir.1030
Healthcare blogs vary in content and style; they range from commentary on a topical issue to patients sharing the lived experience of a disease and healthcare professionals educating patients on the management of an illness.
Blogs written by doctors, nurses, health researchers, patients, and healthcare and digital marketers and innovators add much to the richness and diversity of the online healthcare conversation. Creating a blog is relatively easy; the challenge lies in consistently updating the content. If you are struggling to come up with new ideas on a regular basis for your blog, then this list of 16 content ideas should help get you going again.
What kind of questions do your patients most frequently ask about a specific medical condition? Compile a list of these frequently asked questions and answer them on your blog.
Creating original content is time and resource intensive. Curation helps you provide your audience with relevant, high quality information on a regular basis without sacrificing your time and resources. Don’t rely on curation alone; curated content is designed to complement your content creation plan—not replace it.
Are you rolling out a new program, product or service? Write a blog post to introduce it and highlight its features and benefits.
Healthcare is constantly changing and evolving. Can you predict or comment on the latest healthcare trend? Readers will enjoy learning about it through your blog, particularly if you share your own unique perspective. Set up Google Alerts to keep updated on emerging trends in your industry to provide the latest information for your readers.
There are several online tools you can use to create a readers’ poll. If you have a WordPress.com site, then you’ve got Polldaddy polls already built in. You can create, manage, and see results for all of your polls directly in your WordPress.com dashboard. If you use a WordPress.org install on your self-hosted site, install the Polldaddy WordPress.org plugin. Use it to get a snapshot of readers’ attitudes to health topics like vaccination, screening, complementary therapy, mental health – the list is endless. Publish a follow-on post with your findings.
Write about a typical day in your working life as a healthcare professional. Be careful not to write about specific patients or to commit any breaches of privacy or confidentiality.
Use an editorial calendar to track seasonal, cultural and industry events and write a blog post which fits the theme, for example, “How To Eat Healthily During The Holiday Season”. Check out Twitter’s #ownthemoment tool for inspiration.
Have you been to a conference recently where you learned about new medical research? Or read about the latest research in a medical journal? Let your readers know about it through your blog. Make sure you provide full references and link to online publications.
A screencast is a video screen capture with audio narration. Create a screencast to demonstrate a how-to tutorial for your patients.
Whether you are running an event, speaking, or exhibiting at it, use your blog to build pre-event interest. Can you offer readers a special code for purchasing tickets at a reduced rate via your blog?
After a speaking event, embed a slidedeck of your presentation on your blog using SlideShare.
Ask a colleague to write a guest blog on an area of their expertise.
Choose a respected healthcare professional and interview them for your blog. Alternatively, contact several experts in your field and have them answer a question: Take all the answers and turn them into one big blog post.
Provide your unique perspective on a trending topic. Find out what’s “hot right now” online by using Google Trends, Twitter.com/Search and Reddit.com.
Mix things up by recording a podcast relevant to your blog’s themes.
Gather the week’s healthcare news into a round-up post. Provide links, attribute sources and add your own commentary.
Over To You!
Have you any other suggestions you can add to this list?
I love learning about new tools to make social media marketing more creative and effective, so I’ve decided to share some of my favourite tools with you at the start of each week. This week’s cool tool recommendation is Stencil, a quick and easy tool to design visuals.
Right within the dashboard you have access to 860,000+ background images. You can add whatever text and/or graphics to these and directly share them on social media. They have 200,000+ graphics and icons. If you like sharing quotes on social media you can take advantage of their ready to add quotes feature. It will save you a lot of time. They also have a browser extension that makes it easy to instantly upload any image from a webpage, modify it and then share it.
You can save, download or share up to 10 images per month, for free. You can upgrade to 500 images per month and unlimited plans after that.
I love learning about new tools to make social media marketing more creative and effective, so I’ve decided to share some of my favourite tools with you at the start of each week. This week’s cool tool recommendation is Bloomberry. This tool gathers questions being asked across the web on forums, e-commerce sites, Quora, Reddit, and more. It’s a useful tool to help you discover what popular questions around topics can be answered through content that you can create. Here’s a snapshot of questions related to social media strategy, one of the topics I enjoy teaching and writing about the most.
For now, BloomBerry is free whilst in beta, with a new Pro tool being tested.
Do you have a recurring content feature on your blog? If not, it’s something I’d recommend you consider as a regular element of your editorial calendar.
Recurring content form hooks which keep readers interested in coming back to your blog or seeking similarly related posts. From a writer’s point of view it can enhance your creativity – choosing a topic in advance triggers your brain to come up with new ideas and make connections.
I’ve experimented over the years with many different types of regular recurring columns on various blogs. I’ve focused recently on a Cool Tool feature which I post each Monday morning.
Before you introduce a regular feature to readers, it’s important to take some time to choose a topic which matches your content strategy and crucially won’t have you running out of ideas after a few weeks. Ideally your topic should be associated with your keyword phrases to support your organic search efforts.
Once you’ve decided on your topic, decide on the elements you will use to maintain consistency in the design and format of your content. Choose the same day and time to publish so readers know to expect it at that time each week – this helps build an audience for your content. Keep the format and design elements consistent.
Here are three types of recurring features to add to your content marketing.
Set aside one day a week to provide step-by-step instructions, or answer readers’ questions. A great example is Moz’s Rand Fiskin’s Whiteboard Friday.
I ran an interview series, Social Spotlight, last year with healthcare thought leaders. It followed a consistent question format, with some tailoring to the interviewee, and was a popular addition to my content calendar.
Weekly Round-Up Post
I run several weekly round-up style posts for client blogs focussed on their niche. I curate the most helpful, interesting and topical news from their industry and publish them in a blog post, usually on a Friday. It’s always the most read content when I check the weekly blog stats.
Of course your recurring content can live outside the written word. With the popularity of video, consider adding a regular vlog or even more popular, a Facebook Live recurring feature. For a super example of this, check out social media marketer, Amanda Webb who goes live on Facebook each Friday morning with a round-up of the latest social media news.
Recurring posts of high value keeps your audience interested and coming back for more. By adding a regular recurring feature to your content marketing you give your audience something to look forward, while at the same time building a unique and recognisable element into your brand.
Do you have a recurring content feature on your blog? What are some of your favourite examples of recurring content themes?
My presentation highlights social media as a dynamic platform to conduct research on a global scale and to amplify and disseminate research findings. I focus on an understanding of some key characteristics of social media which can be leveraged for research purposes, such as interactivity and real-time communication on a global scale. What this presents is an opportunity for conducting research with an existing audience of highly targeted, motivated and connected patients.
I recommend tapping into the power of existing patient networks through social media as a means to mobilize and accelerate research faster than ever before. However, I stress that online communities are not just there to be taken from, but also given to. So I challenge researchers to consider how they might build trust and authenticity with a community of e-patients.
I finished my keynote presentation by sharing some best practice tips and left the audience with a final challenge to go beyond a basic level of social media activity to become exceptional digital communicators. I ended with one of my favourite quotes from social media marketing guru Seth Godin.
I love learning about new tools to make social media marketing more creative and effective, so I’ve decided to share some of my favourite tools with you at the start of each week. This week’s cool tool recommendation is Quotes Cover.
Quotes Cover turns quotes or short text into images for social media and high resolution image for posters or other print design. It’s so simple to use. Simply enter your quote or text and then choose your preferred design elements, such as font, shadow effect, and color. You can upload your own image as a background, or keep it plain as I have in the following example.
When you are happy with your design, simply save in JPG or PNG format and it’s ready for you to use on your chosen social media sites. Here’s my finished design: