How Hospitals Can Avoid a Social Media Crisis

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A report from Altimeter Group released yesterday says social media crises are on the rise but, through proper preparation, can be avoided.

This is good news for hospital CEOs who view social media as a potential disaster waiting to happen. The report lists what organizations – including hospitals – can do to prepare.

Altimeter defines a social media crisis as “a crisis issue that arises in or is amplified by social media and results in negative mainstream media coverage, a change in business processes, or financial loss.” The group conducted online surveys and interviews with more than 200 social business program managers, corporate practitioners, and social business software, service and solutions providers.

And they analyzed more than 50 social media crises since 2001.

Here are four steps you can take to reduce the risk of a social media crisis.

Clear social media policy

Establish and reinforce a corporate social media policy that sets clear standards and allows employees to participate professionally. Whether your hospital is engaged in social media or not, this is essential. Employees appreciate having clear social media guidelines. And remember to review these policies at least annually to keep up to date.

Solid resources

Make sure you have the staff in place to respond quickly to patients and families in social media. Don’t let a problem fester for hours before responding.

Ongoing education

Foster a culture of learning through ongoing social media education. The digital world is changing so rapidly, it’s smart to schedule social media education at least twice a year.

Centralized response

Develop an organized, centralized response to social media. Make sure someone is in charge, and that communication between all parties is easy and seamless.

Interestingly, these same points can be applied directly to helping in times of community crisis. During tornadoes, hurricanes, fire and earthquakes, hospitals that have been prepared have been able to use social media to communicate emergency messages to their communities.

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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