The Quick Guide To Social Media

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Image via HubSpot

The Moment You’ve All Been Waiting For

It’s official, you’re a social media expert now.  I thank you for sticking with me on the journey to social media excellence.  Throughout my posts, I have provided your health organization with a lot of tips on how to conquer each different social media site.  Today we are going to look at the most important tips for your health organization to take away.

Your Cheat Sheet

I’ve thrown a lot of information at you and your health organization so now it’s time for the basics.  Keep in mind that anytime you need tips for a specific social media site, you can visit the blog post about that site.  Here are the 5 most important tips for your health organization’s general social media use:

  1. Make A Plan

This is #1 for two reasons: 1) it is most important and 2) it is the first thing you should do. I hope by now you have realized how much time and effort goes into doing social media for your health organization.  Because social media is such a big commitment, it is vital to have a plan before starting.  For an example of a health organization that sticks to their social media plan, check out the Facebook for American Red Cross.

Your social media plan/strategy involves a lot of different aspects. During this step your health organization should determine objectives, decide how much time/effort you are willing to dedicate and establish what type of content you want to put out.  Your plan should also include choosing the most effective times to post.  Always make sure to evaluate your plan, and if it isn’t working, don’t be afraid to change it.

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Image via Marine Marketing Tools

2. Target Your Audience

To choose a target audience you must first look at the issue that your health organization addresses.  Then, think about who is most affected by this health issue and who you would like to reach. After you target your audience, make sure your health organization is reaching this group with its messages.

Be sure to consider the social media habits of your target audience and the types of messages they will respond to.  The National Breast Cancer Foundation is a great example of a health organization that sticks with its target audience.  Since breast cancer affects more women, they tailor their message to reach women.

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Image via National Breast Cancer Foundation

3. Interact

One of the best things about social media is that you can promote your health organization while also having a two-way conversation with your audience.  Unlike other channels, social media allows feedback, no surveys or focus groups required.  Take this feedback as an opportunity to get to know your health organization’s audience.

Be sure to post content that is easy for your audience to respond to, and when they do respond, reply.  An important part of interacting is listening.  Just like during a conversation, you must listen in order to respond.  The CDC shows what it means to interact with their audience.  As you can see below, the organization does a great job of responding to their followers.

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Image via CDC

4. Keep Them Interested

As a health organization, you want to be seen as an expert in the field.  As an expert in your field it is important to be professional, but it is also important to be relatable.  Your audience is more likely to be interested and interact with your health organization if they feel like they can relate to your organization.

Let’s face it, people get bored easily.  Therefore, it is important to keep your content engaging.  Finding a balance between the informational stuff and the entertaining stuff is a good way to keep your audience interested.  The post below from Susan G Komen is a great example of a health organization relating to followers and posting engaging content.

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Image via Susan G Komen

5. Know Your Voice

Your social media sites are essentially an extension of your health organization.  It is important that your brand is shown through your social media sites.  Knowing your voice is a major aspect of your health organization’s social media campaign.

It is your health organization so you can choose whatever voice you want.  Just make sure that whatever voice you choose is effective at reaching your target audience.  Once you find your voice, stick with it for all messaging and across all social media sites.  The American Heart Association is a health organization that keeps a consistent voice on social media. Their voice is fun but also informational.

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Image via American Heart Association

Wrapping It Up

Well, you officially know everything I know about social media.  I hope you have learned what an asset social media can be to your health organization.  Although social media takes a lot of time and effort, it is very beneficial when done correctly.  I hope you have enjoyed our social media journey as much as I have.  Best of luck to your health organization and happy posting!

Health Effects of Time Spent Using Social Media

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Image via Colorful Hearing

We’ve all seen it before, a group of people sitting together but no one is talking because everyone is glued to their phone.  For many people, social media has become a part of their daily routine.  Have you ever wondered how too much social media use can affect your health?  I’ve told you all about the wonders of social media, now I will share with you some of the health affects of social media.

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Image via Armada Medical

 

Health Effects

Don’t get me wrong, social media can be a great tool for you and your health organization, but like with most things, it needs to be consumed in moderation.  The average American spend 7.6 hours per month using social media sites.  Using social media can cause the following health effects:

Low Self-Esteem

It is common for people to present an idealized version of their life on social media. Everyone wants to post pictures of them out having fun with friends, not at home alone reading a book. This representation of an idealized life causes some people to make comparisons to their own life, which can lead to low self-esteem.  Social media users may begin to think that everyone else’s life is more exciting and worthwhile than their own.

Recently, studies have shown that college students are reporting record levels of stress and becoming less confident about their level of emotional and mental stability.  People tend to hide their negative emotions and broadcast their happy ones through social media causing people to feel “less than” or insecure.  The psychological effects of comparing ourselves to others can result in low self-esteem.

 

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Image via Google

Body Image

Social media is helping to fuel eating disorders and negative body image.  Sites such as Instagram and Facebook that are very image-driven are contributing to people having a negative body image.  Social media sites are giving people that are pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia a global platform to share images and ideas.  Hashtags such as #thinstagram promote “ultra-thin” images and may make others feel inadequate or not skinny enough.

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Image via Instagram

As you can see in the image above, the girl featured is clearly already very thin but says in the caption that now she is “slightly less of a whale”.  Studies show the more time teenage girls spend of Facebook, the higher their risk of developing negative body image and eating disorders.  Instagram is currently trying to help by banning certain hashtags that encourage eating disorders.  Clicking certain hashtags will lead to a link to the website of the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA).

Anxiety

We’ve all felt it before, the pressure to check your phone as soon as you hear a buzz.  With so many different social media sites, some people are feeling pressure to make themselves available 24/7.  Studies have found that teenagers who engage in social media at night could be damaging their sleep and increasing their risk of anxiety and depression.

The pressure to always look perfect on social media and the feeling of missing out when not on social media also both contribute to the anxiety caused by social media.  In a recent survey, 55% of users said they felt “worried or uncomfortable” when they were unable to log onto their social media accounts.

Social Interactions

Hello…hey….over here….I’m talking to you!  This is exactly what it feels like to try to have a conversation with someone who is constantly on their phone.  The need to be connected all the time can take away from the ability to connect with people who are right in front of us.  One guy did a little experiment to see what happened when he stopped using his phone around others for a week.  He found that it caused others to put their phone away and people were more willing to have a conversation.

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Image via Code Canyon

Wrapping It Up

As I’ve said in all of my posts, social media is an impactful tool for your health organization.  It is a great way to get your message out and reach a wide audience. As a social media user, it is all about balance.  I encourage you to be aware of how much you are using social media so it does not negatively impact your health.  Put the phone down every once in awhile and be sure to keep in mind that what others are posting is the idealized version of their life, not necessarily the reality.

Ethical Considerations for Your Health Organization

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Image via EFPA

One of the greatest things about social media, or the internet in general, is there is so much information at your fingertips. The question is how much information is too much information?  Or what type of info should your health organization be putting out there? This is where ethics comes in. Ethics are the moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behavior.

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Image via The Huffington Post

Personal Ethical Considerations

People not only expect healthcare organizations to act ethically, but also healthcare employees.  Many people in the community look at healthcare professionals as leaders and experts in the field, so it is important to also keep your personal social media accounts professional.  The guidelines on what is unethical or unprofessional can be vague, but a general rule is: if you wouldn’t want your grandma or boss to see it, don’t post it.

Here are some things to keep in mind when posting on your personal account:

  • Nothing is “private”.   If you post something on social media it can be seen by more people than you think.  Once something is on the internet, it’s out there even after you hit delete.
  • Don’t post pictures of binge drinking.  As a health professional, it would be best not to post pictures of you practicing an unhealthy behavior.
  • Stay away from sexually suggestive photos.  You want people to take you seriously in your field.  Imagine if you saw a suggestive photo of your doctor, it would be hard to take him/her as seriously after that.
  • Don’t post people’s health info or stories.  This is a big one.  You and your organization can get in a lot of trouble for posting information about another person’s health.
  • Do your research.  Before sharing an article about a health topic, be sure the information is accurate.  People look at you as a health expert so they are more likely to believe health information you post.

I know what some of you are thinking, “it’s my account I should be able to post what I want”.  This may or may not be true but it is important to consider that people have lost their jobs over what was on social media. For example:

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Image via Huffington Post

Justine Sacco tweeted this just before getting on a flight to Africa. She had under 500 followers but as you can see, thousands of people saw her tweet. By the time she landed, she was a trending hashtag on Twitter and was fired from her job. This insensitive tweet about a serious health issue cost her a job and caused a public relations nightmare.

Organizational Ethical Considerations

Health can be a sensitive and sometimes secretive topic. When posting on social media, it is important that your health organization takes into consideration different ethical dilemmas. Here are some tips for your health organization to follow when posting on social media:

  • Get permission.  When your organization is posting an inspiring or cautionary health story, be sure to get permission from the person to share their story. Some people are private about their health and may not want their info out for the world to see.
  • Read it! We’ve all done it, sharing without reading. When sharing an article, make sure you have read the entire article to make sure it’s all correct and relevant.
  • Research it. There are so many myths about health, especially about nutrition and fitness. Do some research before posting to make sure your organization is posting reliable health information.
  • Consider different perspectives.  Something you see as harmless could seem offensive to someone else.
  • Avoid stigmatizing language.  Avoiding stigmatizing language is especially important when talking about mental health.  Using words like “crazy” or “nuts” can be offensive and downplay an real health issue.
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Image via NAMI

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is a great example of an organization that avoids using stigmatizing language.  The organization uses proper terms when talking about health issues and even uses the hashtag #IAmStigmaFree.

Wrapping It Up

Ethics can be a very in-depth and sometimes vague topic. What one person sees as ethical may not be seen that way in someone else’s eyes.  Health is a topic that can come with more ethical dilemmas than other topics.  It is important as a health professional and health organization to be mindful of ethical issues, especially on social media where information is so public. Follow my few simple tips and your organization will have no problem staying out of trouble. Best of luck!

Evaluating Your Health Messages

 

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Image via Chalkbeat

Now that your health organization is on all the major social media sites, it’s time to see your hard work pay off.  The social media process does not end after you hit “post”.  There is a very critical next step, evaluation.  Evaluation is a great way to see what social media sites are working best for your health organization and how to improve future messages.

Is evaluation really worth my time?

The answer is absolutely yes!  Think of it this way, without evaluation your health organization could be failing the reach your target audience.  That is like your health organization talking to brick wall.  Social media takes a lot of time and effort so you want to be sure you’re using it effectively.

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Image via BoxChilli

Breaking it down

Evaluating social media is also referred to as social media analytics.  In the past, it has been common for organizations to hire a third party company to track analytics for them, which can be costly.  The good news is many social media sites are now providing these services for free.  Websites such as Twitter allow users to track their posts and see how much of an impact the posts are making.

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Image via The Next Web

All of this is great news for your health organization. There are also websites such as Hootsuite that allow you to analyze multiple different social media sites at once.  Websites like this allow for your health organization to get even an even deeper understanding of the gender, age and geographic location of those that are engaging with your organization. Analyzing your social media is a great way to make sure that you are reaching your target audience.

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Image via Hootsuite

So what exactly is all of this telling me?

There are four best metrics to use when measuring the success of social media.  These metrics will give your health organization a better idea of how effective its messages are.

  1. Conversation rate.  The number of comments or replies per post. Getting a higher conversation rate requires a deeper understanding of your audience and what they will respond to.  One of the best parts of social media is the opportunity to have a two-way conversation and get feedback from your audience, so take advantage of it.
  2. Amplification rate.  Amplification rate is the number of people that share your health organization’s message with their followers.  On twitter this is known as retweets but on sites such as Facebook it is known as shares.  Everyone in your network has their own network, so when they share your content you have the opportunity to reach a whole new audience.  That could then lead to more people liking or following your page.
  3. Applause rate.  Essentially this is the number of people cheering you on or applauding your health organization.  For a post on Facebook it is the number of ‘likes’ you get, on a site like Twitter, it is the number of ‘favorites’ your post gets. This is a simple way to tell what your audience likes or does not like.
  4. Economic value.  This one is important because economic value is all about the money.  Economic value is the sum of short and long term revenue and cost savings. When social media is done right, it adds revenue to your health organization.  This could be more people making appointments or buying your product.  Programs such as Google Analytics and WebTrends can help you figure out your economic value from social media.
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Image via St Jude

As you can see in this post from St. Jude, the organization got a high level of engagement. For this post their applause rate is around 950, their conversation rate is about 20 and the amplification rate is 108.  It is clear that in this post they are reaching their audience and sending out an effective message.

Wrapping it up

Evaluation can seem like a lot when hearing about all the different rates and things to consider, but it is really much simpler than it seems.  Evaluation is basically just a way to see how much people like your organization and the messages you are putting out.  The goal of evaluation is to continuously improve your social media for optimal results.  With a little evaluation I’m sure your health organization is well on its way to one million followers. Best of luck!

 

Social Media Marketing Strategy for Your Healthcare Organization

 

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Image via WDEXPLORER

Social media marketing strategy.  Sounds complicated, right?  The truth is: it is not nearly as complicated as it sounds.  (trust me I wouldn’t lie to you)  Social media marketing strategy is just another way of saying your social media plan.  Think of it this way: if you were making a new dish you would want a recipe to follow, just like if you’re starting a new social media platform you want a plan to follow.  In this case, your social media marketing strategy is your recipe, so let’s get cooking!

 

Social media marketing utilizes different social media networks as a marketing tool.  The purpose of your health organization using social media is to increase brand awareness and exposure.  Social media marketing is also a great way to get immediate feedback from your consumers.

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Image via Business2Community

The Basics

The basics of social media marketing strategy can be broken down into a few easy steps.

  1. Choose a target audience. It is important to choose an audience that your health organization is trying to reach.  Something to keep in mind is that if you are trying to reach everyone, you will reach no one. Once you pick this audience be sure to tailor your messages to them.
  2. Listen.  Once you pick a target audience, the next step is to listen to what your target audience is saying.  This will give you an idea of what sort of health information they respond to and you can make your messages directed to their desires.
  3. Determine your objectives.  Make a list of your objectives and how they will help your health organization reach its goals.  Be sure to include a timeline of when you would like to meet each objective.
  4. Select a channel.  Different social media sites serve different purposes.  Based on your objective, your health organization can choose the medium that will work best. Also be sure to keep in mind what social media network your target audience responds to the most.  If you’re trying to reach 50-60 year old men it is probably best not to use Snapchat or Instagram.
  5. Decide from the beginning how much time and effort you are willing to commit. Like in a new relationship, you have to decide if you’re willing to commit. Your social media marketing strategy can take a lot of resources.  It is important or your health organization to decide from the start how much time and effort you can dedicate.
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Image via The Next Web

Content Tips

Part of your health organization’s social media marketing strategy is using effective content.  Using these content tips will take your social media plan to the next level:

  1. Find your voice.  Your health organization has a certain voice and a certain brand. Everything you post on social media should “sound” like your organization.  Once you find your voice be sure to stick with it through all social media messages.
  2. Time your content.  Pay attention to the time of year and what is going on in the health industry and relate your content to what is relevant at the time.  Programs like HootSuite can also be beneficial because it allows for your health organization to time your content in advance.  For example you can time a post to appear over the weekend even though you may not be working at that time.hootsuite-2
  3. Interact. Your health organization interacting with your audience is key.  Encourage people to ask questions and get involved.  Keep in mind that as a health organization there are certain things you cannot say when answering questions because of confidentially.  Interacting also involves solving problems that your consumers may have.
  4. Keep your audience engaged.  You do not want your social media sites to be a big snooze.  Having a boring social media page may reflect badly on your brand and cause your target audience to not pay as much attention to what you post.  Here are some tips to keep it interesting:
    • Give your followers a look behind the scenes.  This could include profiling an employee or giving a sneak peak to what your health organization is working on.
    • Give your health organization a human feel.  Some ideas for making your brand seem more personal include showing your employees having a good time at an event or posting a funny quote.
    • Encourage a response.  A good way to get a response is through asking a question or a fill-in-the-blank post.  (ex. If I had $1 million I would _____)
    • Redirect. Redirect your followers to your blog, website and other social media sites.  It is also a good idea to redirect your followers to interesting stories by providing links.
    • Recommend.  Recommend other health organizations, products or services that you think would be beneficial to your followers.

 

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Image via Go Red for Women

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doing it right

All I can say about Go Red For Women is “you go girl!”.  Their social media strategy has clearly been thought about.  Go Red For Women does a great job of sticking with their target audience and keeping their audience engaged.  They post a variety of content that gives their brand a human feel and include links to stories and articles from reputable sources.  They also time their content with posts about Black History Month and other relevant things.  It is clear that this health organization is listening to their audience and posting accordingly.

Wrapping it up

I hope this blog post made “social media marketing strategy” seem a lot easier than it sounds.  Keep in mind that you should always be listening to your audience.  Be sure to keep your content interesting so they will keep coming back for more.  Most importantly never forget about your target audience and what they want to see.  Best of luck!

 

 

 

 

Instagram: The Picture of Success for Your Health Organization

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In case you haven’t noticed, Instagram is not just for selfies anymore.  The site has over 300 million active monthly users and 85% of top brands have adopted Instagram.  These numbers alone should show you how beneficial Instagram can be for your health organization.

One of the best aspects of Instagram is that it is all about the images, unlike other social media sites that are mostly centered around posts.  Instagram can give your followers a visual representation of what your health organization is doing.  The site also makes it easy for followers to interact with your organization through likes and comments.

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Tips before you get started

With all social media sites there are some important tips to keep in mind before you start posting:

  1. Make a plan.  Is that an echo or am I just repeating myself?  As I have said, making a plan is always the first step when starting a new social media account.  This includes identifying a target market and determining what they want to see, setting goals and objectives and setting methods to measure the success of your plan.
  2. Gain a following.  Follow health industry trendsetters, other companies and potential clients.  Also make sure you follow back the people that follow you.
  3. Interact.  Interact with your followers by liking and commenting on their pictures. As with any social channel, engagement is key.  Your followers are more likely to like your pictures if you’re liking theirs.
  4. Balance your pictures.  In this case it is important to mix business with pleasure. Your health organization should be posting pictures that are about your business but should also show the fun side of your organization.

But what do I post?!?

You’ve come to the right place.  It is often easy to know what to post on your personal Instagram, but much more difficult to figure out what is post-worthy for your healthcare organization.  Here are some examples of what your organization should post:

  • Take photos of your staff and customers.  Sharing these types of photo gives your health organization a more human feel.  You can post pictures of your staff at work, people participating in your events or customers using your products or services.
  • Give your followers a closer look.  You can share a sneak peak photo or behind the scene shot of what your organization is working on.  This could include a behind the scene shot of an event or a first look at a new product coming out.  These photos will make your followers feel like they are getting something exclusive.
  • Photos that embody the lifestyle your health organization represents.  If your organization is supposed to be promoting health then post pictures that will inspire people to live a healthier lifestyle.
  • Promote yourself.  You can use your Instagram to promote other aspects of your health organization.  For example, encourage people to look at your website or blog. Be careful not to do this too often or you may annoy your followers.
  • Start a campaign.  On Instagram your health organization can start a text-to-give campaign or launch a hashtag fundraising campaign.  These types of campaigns are especially useful for nonprofit health organizations.

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  • Promote upcoming events.  Instagram can be a great way to promote any fundraising or awareness events that your health organization has coming up.
  • Offer deals.  Offering deals is a great way to reward your followers.  Doing give-aways or discounts to those who follow you is also a great way to increase engagement on your Instagram.
  • Thank your donors and customers.  Let’s face it, people loved to be recognized. Thanking donors and customers on your Instagram is a great way to make followers feel like they are making a difference in your health organization.

Doing it right

Susan G. Komen is one of the most well-known and best-funded breast cancer organizations in the United States.  The organization has over 18,000 followers and gets over 300 likes on all of their pictures.  The organization posts a variety of different pictures and includes pictures of survivors, events they sponsor and different motivational pictures related to their cause.  Their Instagram really pulls in followers and gets people interested in what they are posting.

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Now that you have the basics it is time to start posting.  Be sure to comment and let me know what you think.  Good luck!

 

LinkedIn: Get Your Healthcare Organization Linked For Life

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We’ve all heard the saying, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”.  What you know is important, but who you know or who you’re “linked” with can take your health organization to the next level.  LinkedIn has over 1.5 million healthcare professionals registered and ready to network.

LinkedIn is a website that was designed for professional networking.  Your healthcare organization can utilize LinkedIn for professional networking and connecting with other people or organizations in the health field.

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Getting Ready to Run the Race

Don’t even think about hitting ‘Sign Up’ yet.  First, it is important to set up a LinkedIn marketing plan for your health organization.  If networking on LinkedIn was a marathon, think of your marketing plan as the stretch before the big race.  The goal of LinkedIn is to look professional, so you do not want to go in unprepared.

If you want to be successful, you will need to make a long-term commitment to your plan. This involves setting goals and assessing your resources.  Before getting started you will have to determine what you are willing to commit with regards to people, time and money.

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On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!

There are a few steps your organization will need to take in order to get ongoing results from your LinkedIn profile.

  1. Create your page. Your health organization will want to create a LinkedIn company page.  This will give you access to additional features and allow you gain visibility. Your page should feature a good description of your healthcare organization and good pictures for your page.
  2. Get connected.  This is the most important step because getting connected is the whole point of LinkedIn. Once your page is created, you will want to invite existing employees, clients or customers, partners and other health organizations/healthcare professionals to follow your page.
    • Bonus: Getting people to recommend you gives your healthcare organization a big boost.  Everyone can see these recommendations and they are a powerful testimony to your organization.
  3. Start posting. Your LinkedIn page should be an extension of your health organization’s website and should include compelling information about your organization.  Be sure to include interesting pictures, links and stories to gain attention.
  4. Join a group.  Joining or creating a LinkedIn group is a great way to connect with other people in the healthcare industry.  These groups give your organization an opportunity to connect with members that share common goals and discuss different health topics.  Joining or creating a group makes your healthcare organization look like an industry thought leader.
  5. Get everyone involved.  Getting your employees involved on LinkedIn only extends your network and makes your healthcare organization look even better.  Get multiple employees involved with the LinkedIn page but make sure to designate certain people that are in charge of maintaining your LinkedIn marketing plan.
  6. Advertise.  LinkedIn allows your health organization to pay for content ads or sponsored updates.  If your organization has the money, these ads and sponsored updates are a great way to gain followers and drive traffic to your website.

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Finishing Strong

Here are a few additional tips for making the most of your LinkedIn page and making as many connections as possible:

  • Visit the resource page.  There are many resources featured on LinkedIn that could be beneficial to your healthcare organization.  There are also resources for nonprofits such as webinars, sample posts and ways to recruit volunteers.
  • Use key words.  You should use similar key words on your website, company page and posts.  This makes it easier for search engines to pick up your profile, giving your health organization more exposure.
  • Use showcase pages.  These showcase pages are a way to highlight different campaigns and programs your healthcare organization is working on.  These showcase pages are an extension of your company page and can allow you to target different groups.
  • Monitor and adjust.  You didn’t make your LinkedIn marketing plan for no reason. Be sure that your healthcare organization is meeting the goals set out in your marketing plan.  It is also important to adjust anything that is not working or meeting your goals.

The Winner’s Circle

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is a great example of a company that is effectively using their LinkedIn page.  Their page is attractive and features a description of their organization and pictures that attract viewers.  They also post updates frequently and provide interesting pictures, links and stories.

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It is now time for you to start networking!  Feel free to comment and let me know what you think.  Best of luck.