Megan Rowe, the online marketing specialist at UVA Health System, sent us the following email. Is your hospital doing something fun with social
media? Send an email to
At UVA Health System, we have a women's heart-health group called Club Red, which has about 6,000 members.
Through Club Red, our marketing department, in conjunction with the UVA Heart Center, did a lot of events for Heart Month in February. The web team,
which is part of marketing, decided to hold a blog contest to engage our blog readers, current Club Red members and community members.
We posted 43 blog entries during Heart Month. These included:
Reviews of recipes from Club Red's website
Daily exercise and eating tips
A post and video about 10-minute exercises you can do in your office
A two-part series on getting kids to eat better
A post about making exercise fun
All our posts can be read here.
To enter the contest, readers had to comment on the posts. Each comment (up to one per post) counted as one entry in a drawing for gift certificates to
two local businesses. First prize was $100 to The Happy Cook, a kitchen store that also offers cooking classes, and second prize was $50 to Sticks, a
kebob restaurant known for healthier entrees.
We linked to local businesses whenever possible and shared the posts with those businesses, who were excited to be included and sometimes promoted the
posts through their Twitter and Facebook accounts.
We also promoted the contest through Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.
Our goal was to increase blog readership while promoting UVA's services, in an engaging way. Many of the 167 comments we received came from UVA email
addresses and most were from women. Both are demographics we want to market the Health System's medical services to. Both of our contest winners were
We began blogging in May 2011. In June 2011, the blog received 988 page views. In January 2012, we reached 4,961 views largely because of a series on
integrative medicine at our Cancer Center. In February; however, the contest and our promotion of it got us 5,457 views.
Before we began promoting the contest and Heart Month, we'd received 54 comments (not including spam) since the blog launched. During the contest, we
got 167 comments. One commenter suggested we put all the tips together in a printable tip sheet, which we've since done and posted on our patient
We've got some posts planned for the coming months to keep our predominantly female audience engaged and hope to continue building our readership.