Are “Pet Tasks” Derailing Your Social Media Strategy?

My dog, Tillie

One of the most common concerns of hospital marketing directors as they consider developing a social media strategy for their hospital is time. How will I be able to make time for social media implementation and continue doing all my other responsibilities? The other day I had a small “ah ha moment” that made me reconsider some of my “pet tasks.”

My dog is a border collie, one of the smartest breeds in the world, so I shouldn’t be surprised that she’s the one who helped me learn this lesson.

My family and I had been away for the weekend and we forgot to put a stop on our newspaper. When we came home, we had a pile of newspapers on our doorstep. I try to live a relatively sustainable lifestyle, and seeing all the papers piled up reminded me that I had been meaning to cancel our newspaper subscription.

I can access it online, so I no longer needed to receive the printed copy. I wondered aloud why I kept forgetting to do that. When we opened the car door, my dog jumped out and immediately, with tail wagging in anticipation, began rounding up all the newspapers and carrying them into the house.

Here was the answer to my question. I had been hesitant to give up our newspaper because it brings my dog such joy every morning to run outside and scoop it up off the driveway and bring it in the house. A “working dog” by nature, my border collie loves her jobs. It was out of concern for her that I never canceled my subscription. In the back of my mind I kept thinking, “but she loves doing that, and she’s good at that.”

What duties are you still doing because you enjoy them? What duties are staff members continuing because they’ve always been done or a staff member loves doing them? I support having staff involved with the tasks they enjoy and thrive doing, but only if they contribute to the good of the organization.

Most of us can point to at least a few “pet tasks” that are not fruitful, but we continue to do. Add up the time spent on pet tasks, and you’ve just discovered time for social media.

As for my dog, she now walks with me to the mailbox each day and brings in the mail.

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