Posted in #HCSM

10 Keys To Find, Grow & Nurture Your Social Media Community

What is a social media community and why should we care about creating one?

A  social media community is a group of people who share a strong common interest, form relationships and interact online. It’s important we draw a difference between a “social following” and a “social community” because sometimes people confuse the two.  Whereas a following is an audience that interacts with you, a community is an audience that interacts with you – but even more importantly with each other.

According to Meltwater, “If you don’t have a community, you don’t have anyone listening to you, and if there’s no one listening to you, it’s difficult to build brand awareness and deliver ROI.”

Want to learn more? My slide-deck from a recent talk on this topic is now available to view on SlideShare

Posted in #HCSM

Beyond Technology: A Human Experience #HIMSSEurope18


I’ve just returned from beautiful Sitges, just outside Barcelona, Spain where I gave the joint opening keynote with Fabian Bolin, Founder of War on Cancer, at the HIMSS Europe Conference.

download (41)

I speak at and attend many, many conferences across the globe, but this was a stand-out experience for me. It wasn’t just because there were interesting sessions  – let’s be honest, we could get a lot of this information from watching a webinar – it was those conversations that happen outside the main auditorium that interest me the most.

With Pablo Barredo, founder, La Fundación Diario De Un Cuidador and Erik Gerritsen,  Secretary General of the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (note: you cannot replicate the charisma and dynamism of these two online!)

I met some amazing people who are passionate about digital transformation. I arrived with no great expectations – a little conferenced out even this early in the year – but I returned with renewed energy and hope for the future of healthcare.  I made some really great connections in terms of future work collaborations, but more importantly to me, they are people whose vision for a better future for patients I share.

The location this year in Sitges was stunning. It’s a beautiful coastal town and I am already planning a return visit to explore it some more.

download (37)
Sitges By Night

The fact that the conference took place in a purpose-built hotel was unique to me and it worked really well in making the experience more relaxed and intimate.  Congregating in the delightful garden made it feel more like a gathering of friends than a sterile conference hall ever could. More conferences should do this and if I ruled the conference planning world, they would!

A shout-out to Pascal Lardier and Kim Mancha for being so accessible and approachable to new ideas throughout the planning process. Consummate professionals, I  loved working with them and their hard-working behind the scenes team.

Finally, at the risk of this sounding like some kind of cheesy Oscars acceptance speech, I also want to send out a special mention to the wonderful patient advisory board, Shane, Pierre-Mikael, Mitch, Dee, Emilie, Victor, Fabian, and my two co-conspirators Mitch and Pablo.

download (39).png
With My Wonderful Patient Advisory Team Members

I arrived at HIMSS to attend a conference, but I left with so much more. Here’s to new friendships, fruitful collaborations, and renewing acquaintances again next year.

download (40).png

See you in Helsinki!



Posted in #HCSM

Exploring Hospitals’ Use of Facebook: Thematic Analysis

A new study published this month in Journal of Medical Internet Research analyzes the types of content US hospitals post on their Facebook pages and how hospitals’ Facebook activities differ with regard to content types.

The study authors, Nima Kordzadeh and Diana K. Young, point out that whilst health care organizations “have widely embraced social media as a means to educate the community on health topics and increase patient loyalty and satisfaction, little is known about the content these organizations actually share when using social media channels.”

The researchers collected and thematically analyzed more than 1700 Facebook posts made over a 3-month period by 17 US hospitals. They identified a list of 13 unique health social media post themes and classified those themes into thematic groups.

Thematic Analysis


The most frequently used theme was sharing health information, which appeared in 35.81% of the posts analyzed. Such posts sought to provide health tips and advice to community members.

Recognizing special days and recognizing employees were the second and third most frequently used themes, respectively, with 14.95% and 11.82% of the posts containing those themes. The researchers expressed surprised at the frequency of these themes, nothing “the content was geared more toward stakeholders internal to the organization, although most previous literature has focused on social media as a tool to connect with external stakeholders.”

In addition, the researchers found many of the posts involved more than one theme, and selected sets of themes co-occurred frequently. For example, 25.4% of the posts recognizing special days also included content to share health information, and approximately 38%  of the posts announcing research activities also included content to share health information.

Principal Findingse8f44ffe1a165ce8fde8ae55e6b7c747


The results of this study showed most posts in the sample could be classified as serving 3 purpose groups:

  •  announcing and reporting
  •  recognizing
  • sharing activities

Within the announcing and reporting purpose group, the authors found the sampled institutions used Facebook to broadcast information relating to donations opportunities, upcoming events, research activities, and organizational news. They further found that recognizing posts were used to acknowledge employees and special days, whereas sharing posts were used to disseminate health information as well as patient success and feel good stories.


The study concludes with a recommendation that hospitals and clinics that are expanding their social media activities or are starting to embark on social media strategies can use the results of this study to better formulate their activities on Facebook.

These results can be used as a benchmark for the health care institutions that want to establish a social media presence to communicate with the public audience and for the smaller clinics and hospitals that want to further expand and improve their activities on social media websites.

Further Research

The authors point to further research opportunities including investigating the following questions:

  1. Does announcing events on Facebook increase attendance?
  2. Does acknowledging employees increase their organizational commitment, morale, and satisfaction?
  3. Is sharing health information via Facebook an effective approach in raising awareness about diseases and medical issues in the community?

Another avenue for future research, suggested by the authors is to examine the content generation process in terms of who is responsible for posting contents on health care organizations’ Facebook pages, and whether their expertise is in health care (eg, physicians, dentists, and nurse practitioners) or in social media marketing.

Such research should investigate how the content provider impacts the type of content shared, the manner in which it is shared, and the resulting level of audience engagement. This can ultimately influence the overall effectiveness of health care organizations’ activities on Facebook and other social media platforms.

Furthermore, future research can examine user engagement in different types of posts to understand the extent to which each content type can draw users’ attention and trigger their reactions in terms of liking a post, leaving a comment on it, or sharing it with others on Facebook.

In a statement that will have many of us nodding our heads in agreement, the authors conclude that “understanding user engagement is important because it can transform one-way, provider-to-consumer information dissemination activities into two-way or many-to-many communication processes. In this way, the “social” aspect of such platforms as Facebook can be realized more meaningfully, adding value to the health care organizations’ activities in virtual environments.”

Kordzadeh N, Young DK, Exploring Hospitals’ Use of Facebook: Thematic Analysis, J Med Internet Res 2018;20(5):e190

Posted in #HCSM

How To Increase Social Shares With “Click To Tweet”

Click to Tweet is a cool free tool which generates one-click tweet boxes or links that can be shared through your website, your blog, or via email. It’s a powerful way to increase social shares and highlight quotes, stats, and key takeaways for your content marketing.

Here’s a good example of how it looks on a blog.click2tweeteg.png

And here’s how to do it for your own blog or website.

Step One: Sign in with your Twitter account.


Step Two: Write the message that you want others to share in the box provided.



Step Three: Click the “Generate New Link” button to create a custom link.


Step Four: Share the link and track the activity of each link over time.


Whoever clicks on the link will have the message automatically added to their Twitter status box- they simply click to tweet.

Try it now and see for yourself!

Posted in #HCSM

What’s The State of Healthcare Content Marketing in 2018?

I just love reports, don’t you? 

Firstly, Social Media Examiner’s annual marketing industry report, published last week, threw up these findings:

  • A very significant 94% of marketers use Facebook (followed by Instagram at 66%). Two in three marketers claim Facebook is their most important social platform. However, only 49% of marketers feel their Facebook marketing is effective and 52% said they’ve seen declines in their organic Facebook reach in the last year.
  • Facebook ads reign supreme: Facebook ads are used by 72% of marketers
    (followed by Instagram at 31%). Nearly half of all marketers increased their
    Facebook ad activities in the last year and 67% plan on increasing their use of
    Facebook ads over the next 12 months.
  • Facebook Messenger bots pique marketers’ interest: While only 15% of
    marketers are using Messenger bots, 51% plan on using Messenger bots in the
    next year.
  • For the first time in years, generating leads has become more of a focus for marketers than cultivating a loyal fan base. This could be a sign that metrics and automation are becoming more important than engagement.

You can download the report here.

Secondly, a content marketing report from True North Custom and Healthcare Insight based on data from a survey conducted in 4Q17 among 53 healthcare marketing professionals who work for hospitals, urgent care centers, physician practices, and other healthcare organizations, found that the rise of content marketing in the healthcare industry continues, with steady growth in usage. 


However, measuring content marketing effectiveness is (still) slightly behind the adoption curve. Some 36% of respondents say their organization’s content marketing efforts are very effective, and 58% say they are somewhat effective.


Only one-third of respondents say their healthcare organization has a documented content marketing strategy.


Measuring ROI

Increasing the ability to demonstrate return on content marketing investment remains a challenge. The majority of respondents (65%) consider themselves successful at tracking ROI, compared to 44% who responded the same way last year. However, only 10% consider themselves very successful at tracking ROI.


When it comes to measuring impact, website traffic is the most popular way to do this.


Content Marketing Goals

Content marketing goals remain consistent with top-of-the-funnel priorities like Brand Awareness, Engagement and Patient Loyalty holding the top three spots for the third consecutive year. 


Marketing Tactics

Social media reigns supreme, followed by eNewseltters and video taking the top three places in marketing tactics.

Chapter3_Graph1.pngAccording to Becker’s Hospital Review in an article on healthcare marketing trends for 2018, “Health-related video content is in demand. There is a whole market for qualified physicians to provide health information through videos without offering clinical advice.” 

Social Media Distribution

No surprise that Facebook tops the poll when it comes to organizations promoting their content on social media. YouTube is also extremely popular testifying to video’s growing influence, and I am happy to see Twitter is still hanging on in there. Chapter3_Graph2.png


The report concludes with three recommendations.

Create a documented strategy

A well-documented strategy will help your brand message rise above the noise. Mapping out your plan avoids what Convince & Convert Founder Jay Baer calls random acts of content and involves the use of personas, journey maps, editorial calendars, and other tools that set your brand and content apart from the pack.

Leverage Email Marketing

The large majority of people who visit your website or subscribe to your e-newsletter aren’t ready to make a healthcare decision. This is where content can play a crucial role in keeping them engaged while building affinity for your brand as a trusted resource. And while email is a leading channel for delivering content, many healthcare organizations never tap into that potential. A well-designed email nurturing program has proven to be an effective tool for building an audience and advancing them through the buyer’s journey.

Make Sure Everyone Is On Message

Rather than losing your prospect at the most critical point in the campaign, coordinate with your call center or intake team to integrate tracking mechanisms and create scripts that facilitate the lead intake process.

You can read the report in full here.

What do you think of these two reports? I don’t think there are any real surprises – we’ve been hearing for years that many healthcare organizations don’t have a documented strategy in place and struggle to measure ROI.

  • Facebook still reigns supreme, but I wonder how effective it truly is considering the lack of metrics employed to measure its effectiveness?
  • LinkedIn and Instagram are in joint place in terms of social media marketing, but should this be the case? They are two very different platforms and I wonder if marketers are using each of them effectively?
  • I am pleased to see YouTube high up the rankings – this is a good strategy for healthcare marketing.
  • And while people either fall into two camps of loving or hating Twitter, I personally see many robust healthcare conversations take place on this platform.
  • Finally, Pinterest and Snapchat are under-utilized and there’s a real opportunity here for us to own this space.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these reports. What are your observations? What’s working for you? Where do you recommend healthcare marketers should focus their attention going forward?

Posted in #HCSM

A Three-Stage Approach to Handling a Healthcare Social Media Crisis

Knowing how to maintain an online reputation is an essential component of healthcare marketing. In this blog post, I will show you how to put an effective crisis response strategy in place for your healthcare brand.

Having an online presence has so many advantages when it comes to healthcare marketing, but it also comes with some risks. With the click of a mouse, patients can share their experiences online – good and bad – and their comments travel at lightening-speed through their social network. A social media crisis can escalate rapidly and you must be ready to step in and remedy the situation without delay. The only way to do this is to have a crisis plan already in place.

Crisis management involves dealing with threats before, during, and after they have occurred. Let’s look at these three stages in more detail.


crisis plan
Image: HCSMMonitor

Stage 1 Preparation

Proactively prepare by developing a crisis response plan. The following elements are involved.

#1 Crisis Definition

First, define what constitutes a crisis. Three elements are common to a crisis (a) a threat to the organization, (b) the element of surprise, and (c) a short decision time.

A crisis can fall into several categories including:

(a) Technological (eg; your website has been hacked);

(b) Confrontation (disgruntled employee, client, or patient attacks you online);

(c) Rumours (eg; spreading false information about you, your product or service online);

(d) Malevolence (eg; In 1982, a murderer added cyanide to some Tylenol capsules on store shelves, killing seven people).

#2 Monitor Online Chatter

An effective social media strategy requires active listening to the online chatter about your healthcare organization. Should a crisis occur, listening to the conversation will help you shape a more insightful and effective response. Responding in real time to issues strengthens public perception that your focus is firmly on patient satisfaction. In addition, use monitoring to find the healthcare conversations you can add value to. Investing in community building online now will pay dividends in the form of support should a crisis hit you.

There are many free and paid monitoring tools available to you. These tools vary in scope and range across a number of sites, real-time or delayed searching, the sophistication of analytics, the flexibility of data presentation, integration with other applications, and of course, price. When it comes to reputation management, choose a tool that does more than just track mentions of your name. You need to be able to evaluate the sentiment (the ratio of mentions that are positive to those that are negative) attached to the mentions. Social Mention is a free monitoring tool which includes sentiment. Tweets that include words like “not working,” “fail” or “poor experience” should be resolved immediately.

#3 Create a Written Plan

Your written plan should include the following:

  • Clear guidelines on how to respond to each of the different situations outlined above in #1.
  • Links to your terms of service.
  • Who should respond – establish a clear chain of command and list contact information.
  • Make sure every member of your team knows this plan is in place, how to access it, and how to put the plan into action.

Stage 2:  Action

Now’s the time to put your carefully crafted crisis plan into place. The following are key considerations:

  • Determine the exact nature of the crisis. How and where did it originate? How is it affecting your patients or clients?
  • Go to the source. Find where the complaint originated and with whom. Determine their sphere of influence. If a blogger has published something that is untrue or misrepresentative of you, ask them to remove, amend, or modify the piece if this is appropriate.
  • Be respectful, polite and engaged. Never get into a public argument or talk down to anyone.
  • Be as transparent as possible as quickly as possible. Acknowledge that you are aware of the situation and that you are dealing with it straight away.
  • Respond swiftly and appropriately. Every moment counts on social media. The longer you wait, the more the conversation will heat up. Twitter, in particular, is a place where people expect a quick response no matter what time of day.
  • Don’t  lie or try to hide the truth; admit when the fault is yours.
  • Use the same channel you were criticized on to respond.
  • Don’t censor or remove the critical comments that appear on your social media platforms. Tempting as this may appear, it will only fan the flames of the social media fire.
  • Channel communication to your own website. Develop an area on your website or blog that houses the information about the crisis and what your organization is doing about it.
  • Communicate your story. A story gets out of control when you haven’t told your side and people begin to speculate. While you can’t control the story, you can provide the facts, information, and access to key people that allow journalists and bloggers to help you frame it in the right way.

Stage 3: Review

When the crisis has passed, go over what happened. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How well did you handle the situation?
  • Did it escalate to a bigger problem than it was?
  • What could you have done differently?
  • Prepare to deliver on your word. Make changes based on feedback if those changes are warranted and if you have promised to put them in place.

If handled well a crisis may even turn out to be an opportunity to show your commitment to your patients and consumers. Remember the Tylenol example above? Johnson & Johnson recalled and destroyed 31 million capsules at a cost of $100 million. The CEO appeared in television ads and at news conferences informing consumers of the company’s actions. Tamper-resistant packaging was quickly introduced, and Tylenol sales bounced back to near pre-crisis levels.

While you can’t control everything that happens on social media, you can control your response. The best way to handle a crisis is to have your response plan in place. If you haven’t already made one, then do it today.

Related Reading

Posted in #HCSM

How to Create an Awareness Campaign with Social Media

Is creating an online campaign part of your 2018 marketing strategy? Do you need a plan to get started?

Whether you are an individual, a small non-profit, or a large healthcare organization, a strategic plan is essential to your campaign’s success. On Thursday, 22 February, I will be hosting an online webinar with Mayo Clinic Social Media Network, in which I will show you how to plan and execute a social media campaign from setting your campaign objectives right through to measuring your campaign’s impact. You will also learn creative ideas and best practice tips from other successful campaigns.

At the end of this webinar, you will be able to apply the learning to:

  • Clarify your campaign message
  • Set defined goals and performance metrics
  • Find and reach your target audience
  • Choose the right tactics and tools to raise campaign awareness
  • Leverage the power of online influencers to increase campaign reach
  • Create shareable content with clear calls-to-action
  • Plan your content calendar to maximize momentum
  • Use the power of storytelling to create impact
  • Measure your results

Details and Signup 

Hope to see you there!