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We work in what should be a very human business – healthcare. Often it doesn’t live up to that. But in general, we should strive to make every point of contact with our organizations as human and personal as possible. That includes contact with our websites and other digital platforms. Nothing is better at doing that than well-produced video.

Last weekend I attended Southwestern Vermont Medical Center’s annual Harvest Ball. It is their big fundraiser of the year. We had recently shot a ton of video for SVMC capturing patient and employee stories, so we were able to repurpose some of that footage and use it in a compilation video for this event. The audience seemed to love it but I’ll let you be the judge of the end result.

Now that the video has been produced, it can be leveraged across numerous digital platforms including the hospital’s website, YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and Google+. It is not cheap to produce high quality videos, so the right thing to do is maximize your investment by putting that video on all your digital and social platforms. Ultimately, it will enrich the experience of visitors to those sites and help them to form a deeper understanding of your brand. That’s a good thing.

One of my problems with the way businesses (healthcare and other) have come to use social media platforms is that they treat them as if they are mass marketing vehicles. Wrong. These are powerful niche vehicles – and they are good for two way communication. I ran across this infographic (below) last weekend. It purports to share with us the best and worst times to post on social media. Honestly, they don’t have a clue. The best time to post is totally dependent on who you are communicating with. If you’re speaking with physicians, they are often on social media between 5:30am and 6:30am and then again late in the evening. Many moms access their social media accounts before everyone gets up in the morning (before the craziness starts) and after the kids go to bed at night.

I would also point out that on a platform like Twitter you can share the same information at a couple of different times throughout the day. No harm. No risk of wearing out your followers. Twitter followers are like geese migrating. All day long they are flying overhead. The odds of your Tweet hitting them at the right time are not great. So modest redundancy is helpful. The same can be said of Facebook. Most of the people who have “liked” your Facebook page never come back to it. If you’re lucky, they will occasionally see your posts in their news feed. Therefore, redundant sharing of information on your Facebook Wall (helpful reminders) will not run off your followers, as long as your Facebook strategy involves more than simply pushing content. If you’re just a content pusher, then you may have problems.

Enjoy the seriously flawed infographic below. Remember, when you think social media, think niche marketing. These tools let you become highly relevant to niche communities of shared interest.

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Marketing Nonsense

A week or two ago, Ragan.com published an infographic (below) comparing the effectiveness of email marketing to social media marketing. What? Really? You can’t compare those two. Yes, they are all digital marketing platforms, but they work in completely different ways and accomplish different objectives. It is like trying to compare the effectiveness of content marketing to outdoor advertising. Does anyone else see the problem with this? I’m a big fan of the folks at Ragan, but I really think they missed the mark on this one. (In truth, they didn’t produce the infographic; they simply shared it.) Check out the infographic below.

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The administrators at my daughter’s school have a reputation for creating amazing videos for the purpose of communicating with students and parents. Last year one of their videos about inclement weather went viral with more than 5 million views.

 

 

Well today I received an email/health announcement from the school about head lice. It was your basic reminder that now that kids are back in school, a lice infestation can become a reality. At the bottom of the email message was a link to an education video that two of the administrators produced. It is highly entertaining. It reminds me of the health education videos that ZDoggMD produces. (If you don’t know of Dr. Zubin Damania, you need to check him out. I’m a fan.) The message here is: health education doesn’t have to be boring! Click here to check out the Durham Academy Health Announcement Video on YouTube. For some reason they blocked playback from other sites.

 

As healthcare marketers and communicators, we can all benefit from exposure to patient stories. The voice of the patient should be present in everything we do. The post below is a story told by Rachel Ventura, a blogger for Signature Healthcare’s Signature Moms Blog. She shares her story of living with diabetes. I love Rachel’s spirit, generosity and willingness to share with all of us.

Originally posted on Signature Moms:

By: Rachel Ventura

Rachel VenturaTo read Part 1 of Rachel’s journey to manage her diabetes, click here

Within the past year, I started experiencing hypoglycemia unawareness, which can happen to people who have had diabetes for a long time. In my case, it has been 20 years. Very scary stuff, especially with two little ones almost always with me.

Normally, when your blood sugar begins to get low, around 70, you can feel it. Many of you who do not have diabetes have experienced low blood sugar, or as it’s medically known, hypoglycemia. If you haven’t eaten or have done a lot of exercise, or in a diabetic’s case, taken too much insulin, you may begin to feel shaky, sweaty, weak and/or hungry. These are signs of hypoglycemia. You eat something or drink some juice, and your blood sugar goes up. You feel better. But what was happening to me, I…

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IMG_7239Whatever their particular area of need, people are seeking answers to their health questions and concerns. They are using online forums and in-person events. Some are looking for the fountain of youth, while others are simply looking for solutions not provided through their interactions with the medical establishment (traditional providers and provider organizations).

Last weekend my wife and I attended the Body, Mind, Spirit Expo in Raleigh, NC. It comes to town every six months and we always enjoy attending. The array of healing modalities represented by the vendors is amazing: reiki, massage, aroma therapy, psychic healing, hynotherapy and more.

I’ve always thought it would be interesting to have a hospital set up a booth to market its wellness program and/or integrative medicine offerings. In the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, Duke has a well established Integrative Medicine Program. Services include acupuncture, massage and bodywork, integrative nutrition and weight management, Yoga therapy, clinical hypnosis, mindfulness meditation, expressive art therapy, movement therapy, sand tray exploration, relaxation training, and guided imagery, among others. I would love to see an organization like Duke Medicine and its clinicians have a presence at these Body, Mind, Spirit Expos. It would be interesting to see how the organization would be received. These events attract a community of individuals who are open to holistic health and alternative therapies. From  my perspective, it would be great to reach out to them and introduce them to the academic medical center’s approach to integrative medicine. There’s a very real possibility that it might change the way people look at our hospitals and healthcare systems. In any event, it is clear to me that we can do more to reach out to this audience that seeks non-traditional approaches to health and wellness.

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Over the last few weeks I’ve seen an infomercial for Cancer Treatment Centers of America running Saturday mornings on Discovery Channel. It relies heavily on patient stories – a good strategy. I like the idea of being able to do the kind of long-form storytelling that this platform allows.

What do you think of using infomercials to market oncology services or any other service line? Bariatric surgery? I’m interested to hear your perspectives.

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