If you’re not engaging your followers, you’re not using Twitter correctly
You might as well delete your Twitter account, if just use it to post items from Facebook.
I'd like to talk about how so many hospitals (and other organizations) misuse Twitter. Yes, you can use social media as part of your marketing program,
but to be effective, you should do it in the spirit it is intended. That means you should use Twitter to engage your target audience, to
communicate with them, and to connect.
Think about the word "connect." It doesn't mean to spew information in their general direction. When you are at a party, or in a business meeting, and
you make a connection with someone, it means that you've found some common ground—something that brings the two of you together. It is usually as a
result of a meaningful conversation and an exchange of information. When connections happen, the world gets a little smaller and the distance between
you and the other individual is reduced.
Back to Twitter. I know you don't do this, but tons of hospitals' Twitter strategies almost exclusively involve using Twitter to promote the
organization's Facebook posts. Why do it this way? It is easy and effortless. What's wrong with this strategy? Everything. When you do this, your
tweets aren't written for the 140-character format. The text gets cut off mid-thought. And it is obvious that the tweet wasn't written for Twitter.
You also don't have hashtags, so you limit your ability to reach out to individuals who share your interest in a given topic. But most importantly,
your Twitter strategy is completely devoid of engagement. You aren't retweeting or responding to the tweets of your followers. You aren't thanking
people for retweeting your content. You aren't engaging in conversation. And you aren't building relationships.
Frankly, you aren't participating. You are just phoning in your tweets. And you aren't listening. It is important to note that there are conversations
taking place on Twitter that involve your constituents, and you aren't involved in those. To be an effective marketer, you need to listen. That's Marketing 101.
What's the difference between an engaging Twitter strategy and a mediocre one? About 15 to 20 minutes each day. That's all it takes to infuse
some engagement into your Twitter presence. It isn't hard. But it makes all the difference.
Dan Dunlop is the CEO and president of Jennings, a North Carolina-based healthcare marketing agency. You can read the Healthcare Marketer blog here.