Relevancy & Responsiveness: A Social Media Home Run

flickr: Amy Guth

After the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series, the bat maker Louisville Slugger produced a limited number of commemorative bats and hid them all across the city of St. Louis. On Saturday morning, using their Twitter and Facebook accounts, the company posted clues to lead Cardinals’ smart-phone-savvy fans to the city’s “sweet spots” where they had hidden the bats. (You can view a news clip about the event here.)

Now I admit, I’m not a tried and true baseball fan. In fact, I didn’t begin following the World Series until St. Louis’ amazing comeback in game six, thanks to David Freese’s home run in the 11th inning. It was in the news, but not on my radar.

However, Louisville Slugger’s creative approach to associating their company with the club’s victory did get my attention. Their social media campaign impressed me with its relevancy and responsiveness.

Strike when the iron’s hot

When the company flew the commemorative bats out Saturday morning after the Friday night victory, the old adage, “strike when the iron’s hot,” comes to mind. The fans were still euphoric, and the company recognized the importance of an immediate response.

Those of us who work in hospitals can use Louisville Slugger’s approach of relevancy and responsiveness as we prepare social media community health campaigns. Relevancy and responsiveness are especially important as we seek to educate and engage our communities.

One of the saddest experiences I’ve had while working in hospital marketing was when local elementary school students were contracting meningococcal bacterial infections. One student, who attended my children’s school, died.

It was pre-social media, and we scrambled to develop flyers with information and descriptive photos, and made them available for distribution at all the local school districts in our service area. We took out newspaper ads and issued press releases.

If only we had the responsiveness of social media

Those actions might still be relevant today… but oh, if we only had the responsiveness of social media … maybe we could have gotten the word out sooner, maybe the parent would have recognized the seriousness of the purple rash, and maybe the child could have been saved.

Social media’s connectedness and immediacy make the responsiveness part much easier – but it’s the responsibility of hospital staff to recognize relevancy. Has a television show just featured a disease? Has a celebrity just gone public with her battle with breast cancer? Has a local tragedy brought a health issue into focus through the local media? Has a local fundraising event brought attention to a particular health issue? If so, this is when the community will find the topic relevant and be most open to being educated about the issue.

Just as the bat maker Louisville Slugger had the St. Louis Cardinals’ commemorative bats engraved and ready to distribute, those of us planning community health campaigns should have our plans ready to respond when a local event or news story brings new relevancy to a particular health topic.

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. We also help hospitals with existing social media strategies make them more effective. Read about our services. Start a conversation. Email us or call us at 503-472-5512.

3 replies
  1. Jean Kelso Sandlin
    Jean Kelso Sandlin says:

    Jason: I agree; being a community resource in times of crisis- whether that be an earthquake or a pertussis outbreak–is helpful to community relations, marketing, government relations…I could go on! The value of being connected is tremendous.

  2. Jason Boies
    Jason Boies says:

    Very interesting campaign from Louisville Slugger here. It’s geocaching (of sorts) with commemorative baseball bats. Not a sentence I anticipated ever typing and yet there it is. Great piece here, Jean and of the utmost importance. The sheer speed with which social media allows information to travel is amazing. To use a recent and relevant example, I knew about the East Coast earthquake minutes before my town experienced any of the minor tremors we were hit with. Hospitals/clinics etc would do well to be conected to these incredibly fast sources of information when an emergency event, or outbreak hits. Jason Boies – Radian6 Community Team


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