Trust me. Hospitals should adopt social media.

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Brace yourself for yet another defense of social media. Once your C-Suite supervisors hear about the McDonald’s social media Mcfailure, you’ll be dusting off the presentation and seeking out new ammunition for yet another attempt at convincing them that this new media is here to stay and that your hospital needs to adopt it.

Lucky for us, Edelman is helping us reload with their just released Trust Barometer for 2012. The report shows a 75% increase in the public’s trust of social media, as well as other key findings that are useful as you integrate social media into your hospital’s marketing efforts.

The social media Mcfailure

But first, in case you haven’t been keeping up with the social media Mcfailure, here it is: Seems the fast food giant rolled out a Twitter campaign intended to tell stories to communicate folksy and healthy messages. They used the hashtag #MeetTheFarmers and tweeted links to stories about the potato farmers who grow the potatoes for their French fries and other wholesome stories. The responses were mostly positive.

However, when McDonald’s attempted to broaden the effort and began using the hashtag #McDStories, the responses got graphic and ugly as people tweeted about their bad McDonald’s experiences. You can read more details from Jeff Roberts’ article (he actually spoke with McDonald’s social media director) and a good “take-away lessons” piece by Jay Osterholm.

If you are ready to stockpile more reasons to adopt social media, read Edelman’s Trust Barometer. Here are five interesting findings that suggest social media adoption is smart strategy for hospitals.

Why social media is a smart strategy for hospitals

  • While traditional media is still the most trusted, social media surged 75% in trust. Numbers like these will help reduce the “it’s a fad” argument. (See p. 8 of the executive summary.)
  • Trust of CEOs is down and trust of regular people is up. This is an important finding when you consider that social media is a place where “regular people” can connect easily. Make sure you’re there to connect with them. However, academics, experts and technical advisors are still the most trusted…that means include your physicians, technicians and other expert staff.  (See p. 7 of the executive summary.)
  • People need to hear information three to five times to believe it. Using social media to share your stories increases the likelihood that your story will be repeated. (See p. 8 of the executive summary.)
  • Among 18 – 29 year olds, digital media is the most popular source for general news and information (noted here in key findings). This speaks to where health information and news should be.
  • Edelman lists 16 trust attributes of trust. The first one, “listens to customers needs and feedback,” is a natural outgrowth of social media and consumer’s changing expectations. Other attributes that can also be addressed or enhanced through adoption of social media include:  #4 takes actions to address issue or crisis; #7 has transparent and open business; #8 communicates frequently and honestly; #10 addresses society’s needs; and #11 positively impacts the local community. (See p. 10 of executive summary.)

How we help

Hive Strategies helps health systems create HIPAA-compliant online communities for better health, lower costs and greater loyalty.

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

    Jason – Thanks for your comment Jason. The adoption rates of social media is slower in healthcare than most industries, so we know there are many hospital marketing directors still having to persuade their C-suites. Hopefully, the public’s consistent use of it will eventually win them over. I agree with you, medical professionals should have a strong voice in the digital world.

  2. Jason Boies
    Jason Boies says:

    It’s stunning that we even need to mention the “It’s just a fad” argument at this point, isn’t it Jean? The most important point here is that the public, despite skepticism of many entities, still put a huge amount of trust in their medical professionals. All the more reason for those professionals to have a strong voice in the digital world. Cheers, Jean. Jason Boies – Radian6 Community


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