Finding the Right Community: What Social Media and the Kindle Have in Common

flickr: goXunuReviews

A few weeks ago, I was given a Kindle as a gift, and at first I wasn’t too sure about it. As an avid reader, I enjoy holding a book, turning the pages and as odd as it may sound, even the smell a book has. And those are things a Kindle just can’t replace.

But to my surprise, I am enjoying it. It’s easy to read, small enough and light enough to stash in my purse, and I can store multiple books on it and switch back and forth as I please.

But as much as I am enjoying it, I have a friend who hates reading on her Kindle. She acknowledges that yes, it can be useful, but for her, nothing beats a real book, so therefore she has no interest in using hers.

I think the Kindle is actually a lot like social media. Think about it this way: I know my friend has no interest in using her Kindle, so I’m not going to try to convince her to use it, because I know I can’t change her mind. It’s the same with social media. Don’t try to engage an audience that isn’t engaged or has no interest in being engaged. Put your energy into an audience that is already hungry for community, communication and information.

Here’s how you can apply this concept to your social media strategy. If you are in the development phase of your social media strategy and are deciding in which departments you want to implement social media, think about the types of people who seek services in those departments and consider the nature of the care they receive at your hospital.

For example, in a birthing center, you have mothers who deliver their babies in the hospital, but then go home to care for them, returning only for checkups. Because they go home fairly quickly, they may be looking for that online community, communication and information, and are therefore a natural audience for your social media efforts.

But another department, such as physical therapy, where many patients are older, treated more regularly at your hospital and already set in a treatment plan, may not require the energy of a social media effort.

I was recently sent a quote by Seth Godin that relates to this idea.

“The lesson for me: shun the non-believers. Your product isn’t for everyone, that’s fine. No need to persuade them. Focus on those that are interested instead. In the case of books, that’s about 5% of the population that buys books regularly. The rest? Nope.”

Think about this when you are implementing your social media strategy, or even if you are reevaluating your strategy. Just like the Kindle, you want to make sure the audience you are trying to reach is genuinely interested in what you’re offering.


How we help

Hive Strategies helps hospitals engage patients through social media. We don’t manage social media. Instead, we help hospitals develop an effective social media strategy and mentor them through the implementation process. Read about our services. Start a conversation. Email us or call us at 503-472-5512.

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