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it\'s 2009 - The global community awaits your social media strategy. An analysis of social media with a focus on the health services industry. Very recent examples are cited. Please contact me with any questions or if you\'d like a free, customized, social media opportunity analysis.
Social Media in the Health Services Industry
Orange Paper 17 April 2009
The global community
awaits your social media
Social technology adoption increased tremendously
in 2009. Three in four U.S. adults now use online
social tools to connect with each other, compared
with just 56 percent in 2007.1 Two-thirds of the
world’s internet population participates in social
media with the sector accounting for nearly 10
percent of all internet time.2
This growth in popularity of social is really only half
of the story. The staggering increase in the amount
of time people are spending on social media
properties is changing how people behave, share
and interact within their normal daily lives.
Consequently, social media is eating into the share
of online time held by other sectors. A recent Nielsen
Wire report claims that the total amount spent online
globally increased 18 percent between December
2007 and December 2008.3 In this same period, the
amount of time spent on Member Community sites
rose by 63 percent, which accounts for 1 in every 11 online minutes.
What else changed in 2008? Ratings and
reviews, “voting” for websites, and peer-
generated video experienced the largest growth,
while blogs and tagging closely followed. The
social audience is becoming more inclusive;
what started out as a pursuit of the young is now
shifting to an older audience. People under 18
years of age are making up less of the social
network and blogging audience, whereas the
50+ age group are accounting for more of the
Social Networking’s Global New Footprint, posted 9 March 2009 to the Nielsen Wire website.
Forrester’s Social Technographics®1 classifies consumers into six overlapping levels of participation. Older
adults are now also more likely to participate socially as Spectators and Critics, placing them in the active
rungs of the Social Technographics® ladder.
Social Technolographics is a registered trademark of Forrester Research, Inc.
“If the past few years of health marketing at CDC have taught
us anything, it is that the days of the passive consumer who
receives top-down health information are virtually gone.”
relates the Director of the U.S. Centers of Disease Control
(CDC), Jay M. Bernhardt, PhD, MPH. “People now choose
rethink participatory models of information exchange in which they
seek out and interact with information, often using web-
based and mobile technology. This shift challenges health
marketers to use customer-centered strategies to keep up
marketing demands with people, because for health information to reach people,
customer-centric and it must be delivered using the same cutting-edge media that
people already use to access all the other relevant information in their lives.”1
Recently, the CDC participated in a unique, interagency collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services (HHS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to use interactive and social media to
enhance the response to the deadly Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak and its associated recall of peanut
butter and peanut-containing products. This collaboration included podcasts for adults and children, widgets
for web pages and social network profiles, mobile-accessible content at m.cdc.gov, Twitter messaging,
promotion through social networks, and outreach to bloggers.
There are currently 216 hospitals actively involved in the
social media channels of YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.
YouTube is the most popular with 126 channels, followed by
132 Twitter accounts and 83 Facebook accounts.2
In mid-February 2009, Henry Ford Hospital surgeons sent
Tweets from the operating room during a live partial
nephrectomy performed with the da Vinci®3 surgical system.
For this, the hospital gained national media attention from
CNN. Dr. Craig Rogers, the lead surgeon in the Henry Ford
Hospital surgery, claimed that the impetus for his Twittering
was to let people know a tumor can be removed without
taking the entire kidney.4 Following along online were other
physicians, medical students and the merely curious.
Excerpt from Health Marketing Musings, posted 26 January 2009 at CDC Director’s Blog website.
2 Data gleaned Ed Bennett’s blog.
3 The da Vinci robotic surgical system is a registered trademark of Intuitive Surgical, Inc.
4 Surgeons Send Tweets from Operating Room, by Elizabeth Cohen, posted 17 February 2009 on the CNN website.
Aurora Health Care also produced a live Twitter-cast of a surgery in
April 2009. The knee replacement procedure was billed as was an
informational broadcast meant to educate thousands of viewers.
During the surgery, Aurora caregivers posted updates as Tweets
and answered questions from people before, during, and after the
As a direct result of the Twitter-cast, Aurora’s total number of Twitter
followers grew from 930 followers to 1,700 registered followers in
one day. During the surgery, the number spiked to 2,240. Followers
included patients, press, doctors, staff, and other hospitals, to
name a few. Aurora also saw its content being shared more than
75 times through re-Tweets to other networks.
News of Aurora’s live surgery on Twitter traveled quickly, alerting
representatives of the show “Good Morning America” who then
covered the surgery on a segment of the show.
“This was an educational experience not only for the thousands of
audience members, but for Aurora as well,” said Jeff Smith, vice
president of medical affairs at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center.
“This event helped us to better identify the information people need
to alleviate fears, dispel myths, and learn about a potential
Sanofi-Aventis is using the YouTube channel GoInsulin to
break down barriers and misperceptions about insulin. This
channel tests visitors knowledge about insulin and features
videos of real people talking about their struggles to manage
their blood sugar. In published interviews, Sanofi’s Senior
Product Manager, Metabolism Marketing, Lynn Crowe states
that the company’s first-ever YouTube channel “is indicative
of our belief that expanding social media platforms will play
an increasing role with patients, and can be used to
effectively deliver information on the risks and benefits of
diabetes treatment and care.”2
Aurora Health Care Twitter-Surgery a Success, news release posted 16 April 2009 on Aurora Health Care website.
Sanofi Leverages YouTube for Diabetics, by Ben Comer, posted 9 February 2009 on Medical Marketing and Media
Forbes.com recently observed that as companies search for new ways to market their products and engage
their customers in the current taciturn economy, chief executive officers are finally looking more and more at
how social networking tools can extend their brands, create corporate cultures based on listening and
learning, and establish their own leadership profiles. “Nonetheless, big brands, generally speaking, haven’t
successfully tapped the potential of social media; they tend to regard Web 2.0 platforms as just another way
plan to push out short-term marketing campaigns. They fail to grasp that the new media require new ways of doing
business. Old ways need to be tossed out.”1
It’s critical to develop a
strategic plan of action.
Negative Results in the Absence of a Social Media Plan
To be successful, a social media strategy needs to be
fully integrated with your other digital strategies. Failing
to properly engage can have a serious impact, as
Johnson & Johnson (J&J) brand managers recently
Over a weekend in mid November, the blogosphere
exploded in outrage over a social media campaign that
centered around Motrin. Motrin customers and
potential customers viewed the campaign as cynical,
misinformed, tone-deaf, horrible and ridiculous. They
were offended and furious. J&J failed to weigh in on
this controversy at all over the weekend, which did
nothing to stem the tide of angry sentiment. By Sunday
night, the internet was peppered with irate blog
postings and anti-Motrin YouTube videos, and the
negative conversation was the number one topic on
Twitter. The New York Times covered the controversy the next day in an article.1 The Motrin website was shut
down on Monday by J&J, and their vice president of marketing emailed bloggers an apology.
In his blog on the Advertising Age website, Tom Martin noted that J&J missed out on a huge opportunity to
engage in a conversation with the audience they were attempting to reach and understand.2 He claims that
an established social media presence would have been immensely helpful for generating a positive Motrin
campaign. He also believes that a credible, monitored Twitter account for J&J might have nipped the negative
Tweets about the ad campaign in the bud.
Yes, CEOs Should Facebook and Twitter, posted 11 March 2009 by Matthew Fraser and Soumitra Duttahttp on the
Moms and Motrin, posted 17 November 2008 by Lisa Belkin on the New York Times’ Parenting Blog website.
2 Did Motrin Overreact to Twitter Complaints?, posted 20 November 2008 by Tom Martin on the Advertising Age
Another Missed Opportunity
On 16 December 2008, the Cleveland Clinic
issued a media alert for an upcoming
17 December news conference where they
would announce the first near-total face
transplant in the U.S. Cleveland Clinic’s media
team developed an excellent content page with
background, context, and digital assets for the
working press. The YouTube.com/SurgeryNews
channel carried an edited version of this press
conference and subsequent discussion, along
with procedural animation and operating room
video. The well coordinated coverage catapulted
the SurgeryNews into YouTube’s Top 40 most
visited channels for the day (en par with the
The Cleveland Clinic did not post this material to
their own YouTube channel until the following
day and initially received less than 200 views;
just a fraction of the over 10,000 hits on Surgery
News. Currently this material has compiled over
19,000 aggregate views on SurgeryNews
compared with just over 1,100 views on
Cleveland Clinic’s own channel.
While it is possible that an internal review
process may have delayed Cleveland Clinic’s
YouTube posting, it would suggest a breakdown in what was an otherwise excellent media strategy.
Right now, your customers and most likely your competitors are writing about your products/services on
blogs; defining you on Wikipedia, posting user generated videos on YouTube and commenting on social
networking sites like Facebook. Are you listening? Do you know what the tone of your brand is in the social
media sphere? Do you know how to use this social activity to your own advantage?
act What To Do: Best Practices for Getting Started
• Invest yourself personally/professionally in the social media world
What toe should be • Observe and listen first, using your personal presence, in different channels
dipped in the waters • Move quickly, but do not rush; a poor presence does more harm than no presence
first? • Coordinate company-wide efforts; educate constituents
• Get focused and start small; select a business objectives/audience
• Identify company strengths and unique assets (people, content, etc.)
• Identify the type of engagement that can energize your audiences
• Emphasize value, quality, depth and differentiation
• Find unique, authentic, human voices for the company in alignment with your objectives
• Manage expectations
Proven, Winning Strategies for Social Media
From the outset, Acsys Interactive provides focus, prioritization and context to your social media planning.
We start by analyzing data about the social behaviors of your audience. Our team examines how social media
let us help affects your industry, and reviews your competitor's activities to provide a clear perspective on where your
Acsys Interactive has
strategies that can help
you build a successful
strategy and action plan.
We then look within your company to uncover unique content assets and capabilities-information that can be
used to start a dialog with your audience in concert with your existing offline marketing initiatives.
While we pride ourselves on big ideas and big-picture thinking, we are rooted in developing practical,
actionable, scalable plans that provide opportunities for rapid execution, learning and quick wins.
Acsys Interactive is highly skilled in the development of digital assets (video, rich media, audio and text) for
the chosen social media channels. Our world-class marketing, creative and technology teams work together
to seamlessly execute the initiatives put forth in the strategic plan.
Talk to the experts at Acsys Interactive about our free, customized, social media opportunity analysis.