Social Media in Long-Term Care

Let's Put This in Perspective

social media in long term care
We may be over-playing the value of social media in long-term care. Yes it's important but..... Getty Images

Everyone is abuzz about the social media. Yet its application for healthcare is not entirely clear.  Just 7 percent of word of mouth conversations happen online. And when you consider that, unlike other industries that use coupons and other devices to drive immediate sales, healthcare services are something that people, by and large, do not want. We can’t issue a Groupon that says “Buy one nursing home day, get the second free.

Act now.” So let’s simplify the social media in long-term care.

Facebook - most people are looking for deals, coupons, etc from services and products that they use on an ongoing basis – think restaurants, retail. So it is not a perfect fit for healthcare. However, to the extent that you can build communities of people based on their affinity – caregiver community, Alzheimer’s community, weight loss community, diabetes community – that would help. It is not about what you do as an organization but about what you share that can help someone live a healthier life.

You Tube - people will care less about viewing a procedure or process as they will care if your activity professional produces a video on activities elders can do at home to promote quality of life. Provide information people can use. Over time they will remember who provided it and think of you when they need what you offer.

Twitter – the best use is to use one of the many Twitter tools out there and monitor mentions of your company.

That is what Comcast does for their company and they identify customer service issues immediately. So using it in service recovery is becoming essential. A family caregiver leaves your facility and tweets about something that went wrong. You can deal with it immediately.

But you can also use these for breaking news that really has an impact and to create flash mobs at events or even in advocacy efforts.

For me personally, tweeting valuable information consistently builds my brand and elevates my Klout score. Don't know Klout. You should.

The Power of Four

Erik Qualman in a blog post “Social Media Made Simple: The 4 Steps” outlines four steps for success.

  1. Listen
  2. Interact
  3. React
  4. Sell

Notice what is last? Companies often jump straight to step four, selling. Start with listening. Without listening the other three steps will not happen.

Jump Start

Healthcare agency Bryant Brown Healthcare offers these tips as well.

  1. Build brands by building databases. Start a dialogue with people by capturing emails.
  2. Craft effective email campaigns. There is no shortage of how-to articles out there to help. Check out MarketingProfs for great information.
  3. Blog your way to success. Blogging helps you establish a point of view.
  4. Understanding SEO, SEM, and website analytics. Understand but hire experts to get it right.
  5. Develop brand advocates.
  6. Repurposing social media content across all media.

Don’t be afraid of the social media or think it is too big and too much to handle.

And please don’t bow to the gazillion so called social media experts out there who can tell you how it is done or promise incredible SEO ratings for your efforts.

Go slow. Learn and adjust. Watch others and absorb best practices.

For a good article on implementing social media policy in your organization, check out this article.

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