Opinions Can Open Doors to Your Hospital’s Social Media

flickr: SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget

Amy Berman is a brave woman. She’s been diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer and recently shared her opinion about a controversial drug in a Wall Street Journal editorial When Quality of Life is Especially Dear. Berman also blogs about her experience on HealthAGEenda (jhartfound.org/blog). (I found her post from Jan 11 particularly moving and informative.)

If it wasn’t for Berman’s letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal, I would have missed her story and never discovered the HealthAGEenda blog. Berman’s willingness to share her opinion opened the door for me to a dynamic social media site focusing on geriatric health and introduced me to the mission of The John A. Hartford Foundation—to support efforts to improve health care for older Americans.

All this because Berman was brave enough to write an editorial and share her opinion with readers.

What issues are important to your physicians? To your patients? To local caregivers in your community? Who feels passionately enough to share their opinions? Consider the content on your website or social media sites and ask what issues are of keen interest to the potential audience of your site.

For example, a hospital’s birthing center may want to draw attention to its parent chat room that deals with issues of expecting parents. Consider inviting a staff member to write an editorial for your region’s newspaper on a topic she feels passionate about—proper car seats for the transport of newborns, the importance of sibling education for the safety of newborns and the well-being of the new big brother or sister, non-nutritional fillers in commercial baby foods or breastfeeding. There are many issues that expectant parents are concerned about and a passionate editorial is a great way to create awareness and increase involvement from readers who may not be regular social media users or who simply did not know about your hospital’s online resource.

Once the editorial is published, tweet a link to the article, post it on your Facebook page, provide a link from your hospital’s website, and consider following up with an instructive YouTube interview where the writer goes deeper into the issue. For example, if the editorial addresses non-nutritional fillers in commercial baby foods, consider having the author do an informative video on how to read baby food labels.

Finding ways to bridge old and new media is key when developing your hospital’s strategy (and a topic I’ve blogged about a few times before, here and here); but Amy Berman’s brave letter to the editor reminded me that sharing opinions is a powerful way to engage readers and usher them into the open doors of social media.

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