Planning Your Social Media Strategy? Ask Your Patients!

flickr: Stefan Baudy

When you develop your social media strategy for your hospital, be sure to ask this important question: What do our patients want?

After all, patients are the reason you create a social media plan for your hospital. You want to engage them, educate them and communicate with them, so one important step is understanding what your patients want.

Simply asking a few patients will give you insight into their current social media engagement That way, you can gauge the type of platforms that will benefit them the most.

Here are a few suggested questions:

  1. Do you have a computer at home?
  2. If so, how often do you use your computer for the Internet?
  3. Do you visit online medical sites, such as WebMD?
  4. Which online health sites do you visit?
  5. What kind of information are you looking for when you visit online medical sites?
  6. Do you have a Facebook account?
  7. How much time do you spend on Facebook each day?
  8. Would you “like” a hospital Facebook page?
  9. Do you have a Twitter account?
  10. How much time do you spend tweeting each day?
  11. Would you follow a hospital Twitter account?
  12. Do you view videos on YouTube?
  13. How much time do you spend viewing videos each day?
  14. Do you read blogs?
  15. What kind of information about our hospital would you find most useful on a social media site?
  16. What is your age?

This survey is by no means statistically representative, but can be a great way to gather some interesting responses, and give you some ideas for where to start.

First, you’ll want to determine who you want to interview and how you can integrate what they say into a social media strategy. This may be difficult because of the breadth of services your hospital provides, so it is a good idea to test it out on specific department.

For example, you could spend some time with new moms participating in classes at your Birthing Center. Asking questions like the ones listed above will help you understand what online resources moms in your area use, and how you can implement those into your strategy.

Just spending time with your patients and understanding where they get their information will help you discover valuable information you can implement in your social media strategy. Maybe they tell you they spend several hours a day on Facebook, communicating with other moms about newborn and infant care. This could prompt you to create a Facebook page for your Birthing Center, where their questions can be answered.

The important thing to remember is that conducting a survey like this does not obligate you to implement the ideas suggested by your patients. But it does help to know where to start.

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