Childrens Hospital of Boston: A Successful Hospital Social Media Example
Prior to working at Ignite Social Media, I worked at Brogan & Partners, an ad agency that specializes in Healthcare marketing. One thing that I noticed while working there was how scared the majority of our clients were to become active in the world of social media. They would say it was too risky – mainly with HIPPA rules and patient confidentiality. This is understandable to a point, but when you consider the fact that 34% of consumers use social media to research health information and the fact that we know word of mouth is the most trusted form of marketing … it seems too risky not to be involved.
Working at Ignite Social Media now, I still keep tabs on the healthcare world. Recently, I’ve noticed that while social media is slowly being implemented throughout the healthcare market, there are few that seem to really understand how to leverage the different social media tools to help spread the message of their brand. One area though that seems to be excelling in implementing it into their marketing mix are local children’s hospitals. So, in hopes that other hospitals will begin to understand how they can leverage some of the tools, I have taken a deep look at a local children’s hospital that, in my opinion, is using social media well.
Children’s Hospital Boston has found a way to leverage social media – HIPPA and all. Their website is easy to navigate and includes a “Connect with Us” tab that calls out all of the social media tactics they are leveraging, complete with an easy to find and a very straight-forward social media policy:
“We welcome and encourage open discussion on Children’s Hospital Boston’s social media sites – including but not limited to our blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube pages and online story-sharing forums – and look forward to any comments, stories and experiences you want to share. That said, we do make reasonable efforts to monitor participation to ensure that you stay on topic, are courteous and avoid making offensive comments. Please remember that information posted on any of our social media platforms shouldn’t be considered medical advice and shouldn’t replace a consultation with a health care professional. Please be aware that once you post something online, there’s the potential for thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of people to read your words, even years from now. As a result, we suggest that you exercise caution when posting medical information on any of our social media sites and that you not disclose personal identifiable information like your location, medical record number, financial information, etc.”
Wow – smart. Noting, they are not liable, they do not endorse the material, etc. For anyone in the healthcare field, this is a great way to establish your policy and to get out of any legal implications. If you want more information to better understand the rules for establishing a HIPPA-Compliant Social Media Strategy, check out the blog from Hive Strategies. It does a great job at outlining the step-by-step process to begin.
Now, let’s get into the meat of their social platforms.
Instantly, I’m impressed – a hospital with over 515,000 followers. Their landing page includes content that I really wanted to read. But wait, they wouldn’t share the content with me until I was a fan. It’s what we call a fan-gate and it works really well in converting users to fans. It could possibly be one of the reasons that they have so many fans already. I also love when brands point out the like button, not that users really need to know where it is, but it does act as a stronger call to action. And how can you resist this cutie!?
Their wall is loaded with content with which many fans engage and has a great deal of raw wall chatter. I can only assume that those that are fans with Children’s of Boston, probably have a personal tie, thus are very passionate about their brand. Here’s a great sample of them leveraging their wall – posting a “photo of the week.”
You can see it got 155 comments and over 1,000 users liked the post. This is something that giant brands aim for, but usually fall short.