Category Archives: Social Media

This summer, get schooled on health communications

tufts-site-logoTufts University School of Medicine’s 2013 Health Communication Summer Institute is offering three professional development courses: Mobile Health Design, Health Literacy Leadership, and Digital Strategies for Health Communication. The courses are geared toward health care professionals seeking to remain abreast of the latest in communications trends and innovations.

Here is a description of the three courses with links to additional information:

  1. Mobile Health Design is an online course that examines the impact and potential of mobile devices for consumer health at a national and global level. The focus of the course is on how to design evidence-based health apps that incorporate mobile user experience, predictive analytics, and big data to help people achieve their health goals. The program runs May 22—June 26, 2013.
  2. 5th Tufts Summer Institute on Digital Strategies for Health Communication covers how healthcare and public health organizations can develop and implement digital strategies to drive success of their online presence, with a focus on how to use web, social media, and mobile technologies to reach target audiences.  The course is offered July 14-19, 2013 on Tufts’ Boston campus.
  3. The Health Literacy Leadership Institute is aimed at those working to improve patient-provider communication and healthcare quality, and those working directly with patients or adult learners in educational settings. Participants will work on curriculum development projects of their choice, resulting in final products that are comprehensive, informed by research, and reflective of best practice. The course is offered June 10-14, 2013 on Tufts’ Boston Campus.  

Should You Bag Your Facebook Advertising?

by Katie Adams, Corrigan Partners

Just days before Facebook’s scheduled $100 billion IPO one of the largest U.S. manufacturers has dropped all of its paid advertising on the social media site. GM made the decision to axe its $10 million advertising budget based on findings that paid ads on the site “had little impact on consumers.” Before rushing to join the crowd suspect of the relevance of social media, it’s important to note what the car giant said about how they plan to continue interacting with Facebook users. According to a Wall Street Journal article GM marketing chief Joel Ewanick said that GM is “reassessing our advertising on Facebook, although the content is effective and important.”

Did you catch that? “Content is effective and important.”

As chief marketing officers grapple with continued tight budgets and increasing demand for ROI it’s worth examining how you’re using social media as a marketing tool. First, focus on the main reason people use Facebook in the first place. According to the study “Why Do People Use Facebook?” by Boston University researchers Ashwinin Nadkarni and Stefan G. Hoffman, the two primary needs that Facebook satisfies for its nearly 1 billion users are (1) the need to belong and (2) the need for self-presentation. Conversely that means that Facebook is not viewed by the majority of its users as a way to find or buy services or products. So it stands to reason that if you are purchasing ad space on the social media site as a way of quickly generating sales you may be disappointed.

The question isn’t if Facebook is effective as a marketing tool, it’s how is Facebook MOST effective? Are you using the platform to its best marketing objective? GM has chosen to maintain its Facebook presence because it provides a powerful way to engage with customers and influencers as well as to have a pivotal presence in conversations about the industry and its own brand. But the company is aware that it can do that solely by providing CONTENT, not by purchasing paid ad space.

While GM’s decision may have prospective shareholders concerned it should be welcomed by chief marketing officers. GM’s insight should give you pause about your own organization’s position on Facebook as a marketing tool. If the two primary motivators for Facebook users are to belong and to be able to share personal stories and opinions (“self-presentation”) what types of material are you giving them to be able to do just that? Are you creating an engaging community for users? Are you sharing content — information, tips, and tools that they can use and share with others for free? Are you customizing your content so that you are one perceived as a highly relevant voice in their social media world?

Despite the contrarians Facebook isn’t going anywhere. The question is where are you going with Facebook?

Wondering about the Pinterest buzz??

Pinterest is now the 3rd largest social networking site in the U.S. and healthcare marketers are asking how Pinterest fits – or should fit – in the digital toolbox. Corrigan Partners’ Carla Bryant will join Danny Fell of Neathawk Dubuque & Packett on a webinar to talk about the “Impact of Pinterest on Marketing and Digital Strategies.”  Here’s a brief summary of the session topics:

  • Pinterest: the basics
  • Brand and business value of Pinterest
  • How Pinterest can align with your hospital’s brand, marketing and digital/social strategy
  • Building a Pinterest strategy – vision, content, resources
  • Tips for optimizing Pinterest

The webinar is sponsored by the Forum for Healthcare Marketing Strategists and will be held on Tuesday, May 15 from 11:30 am to 1 pm central. To register, visit http://www.healthcarestrategy.com.

Harnessing the Power of Content Marketing – Part One

If content is king, where are its loyal subjects?

Web, social networking and mobile technologies are transforming customer-business relationships, and revolutionizing business processes.  Consumers have hijacked the entrenched B2C (business to consumer) marketing model, and reversed the formula. The result is an absolute shift in power from marketers to consumers. The bidirectional and real-time nature of web, social and mobile requires marketers to have relevant information in the right place at the exact time consumers are seeking it.

C2B (consumer to business) marketing isn’t the future.  It’s here. Right now. 

Consumers are in control and have the skills and tools to search, collect information, compare, purchase, write reviews, and provide you the data and insights your organization needs to stay relevant.  “Content is king,” decree marketers everywhere – and businesses are churning content like never before. But without strategy, the monarch has no kingdom. Or at least no loyal subjects.

Content marketing is strategy, not just production of information in all its forms. 

Understanding customer needs at different stages in the buying cycle is critical to formulating effective content and channel marketing strategies.  What a customer wants or needs to know, terms she searches on, places she goes, social topics she connects with, inquiries she initiates and the actions she takes, can vary significantly across the purchasing decision process. 

Content marketing success requires a thorough understanding of:

  • Consumer needs at different stages of the buying cycle
  • The role of search and social interaction across the decision cycle
  • What constitutes relevant, valuable information, tools and relationships
  • Where consumers discover, consume and share information
  • Real-time accessibility, engagement and connectivity
  • Listening, learning and adapting services, products and experiences

Harnessing the power of content marketing is vital to patient acquisition and retention. 

More than ever, patients are seeking healthcare information, sharing experiences and selecting treatments and providers online.  And the vast majority of online health related discussions take place without input from healthcare professionals.   Essential tasks for healthcare marketing leaders are:

  • Learning about and helping providers understand how web, social and mobile have changed consumer and patient behaviors;
  • Creating a C2B content marketing strategy, executing  across the right marketing channels and using methods that will have the most impact;
  • Mobilizing marketers, administrators, managers, physicians, clinicians and business partners to execute content strategies that educate, inform and build loyal relationships with patients, families and staff.

Next up:  Part 2 – developing a robust content marketing architecture to guide investments.

Get Ready for the Self-Directed Healthcare Consumer

By guest blogger Susan Lilly

So I’m Susan Lilly, recently “outed” on this blog as a breast cancer patient, and now, a survivor.  My experience over the past year has given me some fresh insight into trends that we’ve been talking about here at Corrigan Partners, most notably the rise of the self-directed health care consumer.

After my diagnosis last spring (Stage 2, invasive ductal carcinoma), I pretty much created my own treatment path by assembling a disparate, but top-notch medical team.  Why does this matter to health care marketers?  Because I did this without the sway of traditional marketing messages.  In fact, I decided to go out of area for part of my treatment because I found out about a unique surgical procedure from a top hospital’s online forum for breast cancer patients.

The irony is that the hospital’s discussion board was nothing fancy, but it was moderated by a nurse practitioner who counsels newly diagnosed breast cancer patients from all over the country.  Yet, by suggesting the out-of-area hospital as a destination for a second opinion – and touting its unique approach to a common illness – she planted the seed in my mind to go out of area to have a look.

This is why the digital space can be so effective at growing the business.  From the comfort of home, during a frightening time, people are searching for the best, most compassionate care after a serious diagnosis.  They (we) do this by searching for answers online, and seeking others who are going through the same thing.

Looking for a digital welcome mat, really . . .

Hospitals, with their mission to serve and available resources, are perfectly positioned to put out such a welcome mat.  Every single institution, from the rural community hospital to the academic medical center can set up such programs by building on their unique strengths in caregiving, and supplementing their internal resources with outside expertise – anything from marketing assistance to more technical matters.

The self-directed consumers are out there, and they’re looking for your help.  Will they feel welcome when they find you?

Next post – a challenge to the oncology field, and how marketing can help.

Chris Boyer’s Social Media ROI Ragtime

You might be tempted to suggest that Chris Boyer (Director of Digital Marketing & Communications, Inova Health System) keep his day job until you realize that this is his day job! Thanks Chris for this morning’s chuckles. Wish I’d been there to see it in person. (Thanks also to Dan Dunlop for feeding highlights from the Health Care Social Media Summit through his blog – The Healthcare Marketer).