Over the past year, you've gained executive buy-off, formalized a social media strategy, created policies and managed social media accounts for your
health care organization.
So, what will you do in 2012?
Social media's accessibility is its gift and its curse. You can move quickly, but so can your colleagues. Everyone wants Facebook pages and Twitter
handles for their departments, practices and offices. They already have some form of personal social media profiles, so creating them for their
businesses just makes sense to them. Perhaps you've heard, "A colleague has one…" or "The conference encouraged it…"
Regardless of the catalyst, marketers can feel the strain of social media growing pains. Let's review how to get scale of growth under control.
1. Police with policy
You didn't create that social media policy for kicks and giggles. Always provide the social media policy at the beginning of any conversation about new
social media accounts and use it as a cornerstone for decision-making. Your authority over your health care organization's social media presence is
dependent upon the strength and specificity of the policy. If you gotten ahead of yourself and haven't created a policy yet, stop what you're doing and
get in touch with cross-discipline stakeholders to start the process of policy creation. Be sure to define processes for how to request new social
media accounts and criteria for approval. This will help streamline quality social media growth for your organization.
2. Use listening platforms to identify employees and rogue accounts
What you don't know can hurt you. Couple your regular patient, community and industry listening practices online with watching for employees publishing
about their work. At worst, you may catch a potential violation of HIPAA or your social media policy, and at best, you may find a strong voice to use
more formally for marketing. Sophisticated listening platforms let you tag employees' social media accounts for future reference so that you're not
3. Educate the workforce
Often times, unwarranted growth occurs because well-intentioned employees don't know what you're already doing for the organization or don't how best
to get their practices online. Offer regular "Social Media 101" sessions so that you can educate the workforce about what social media is, the
opportunities it provides for your business and how your strategy optimizes the opportunity. Change up the content for each session to encourage repeat
visitors and make it fun. In addition to creating a more knowledgeable, savvy workforce, you'll reinforce your authority in the organization.
4. Curate opportunities for growth
Your existing "command center" in marketing is not going have the bandwidth or expertise to represent all of the organization's services in external,
real-time communications or identify opportunities to engage niche patient communities. As part of your strategy, plan for growth and empower select
employees to get online within the confines of your existing social channels or new ones as your policy permits. These employees may be your best
internal advocates, participated in your Social Media 101 sessions, showed interest in creating social media accounts previously or just sit in areas
of high demand. Create a structured opportunity for them to represent the organization online, provide support and let them fly.
5. Promote your successes internally
Of course, you're already reporting social media metrics internally. Add organizational successes to those reports. Whenever you've approved a new
social media account, educated a group of employees or executed a remarkable tactic, report it. Social media practitioners are often put in reactive
mode when managers and executives make requests due to their lack of knowledge about what you're already doing proactively. Keep your manager and
executives informed to minimize reactive requests so that you can spend more time creating more wins for your organization and focus on continued,
scalable social media growth.
Paolo Mottola is the social media specialist at