Editor's Note: This post by Jessica Levco originally appeared on Ragan's Healthcare Communication News and previews a pre-conference workshop from the 5th Annual Health Care Social Media Summit in October, which is part of Social Media Week at Mayo Clinic.
We can help you figure it out.
At our 5th Annual Health Care Social Media Summit at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., our all-star panelists will talk about how they’ve managed social media accounts at Mayo Clinic, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Baylor Health Care System.
The speakers from “How to moderate and monitor your hospital’s social sites” will share what they’ve learned about maintaining a hospital’s reputation online:
Ashley Howland, Baylor Health Care System: What do you hope people will learn from this session?
More than anything, I hope people will learn that moderation of your communities may seem intimidating and overwhelming, but it can be done—and done well. Most people who post comments to social sites want to be heard and taken seriously. If you keep that in mind and exercise empathy while still maintaining your brand's standards and reputations, you will be successful.
I look at social comments as an opportunity to learn how your organization can improve its patient experience or find out what it is you're doing well. You would be surprised how much you can learn about your organization just by listening to and addressing the comments.
Moderating and monitoring your social presence is very similar to having in-person conversations. Keeping that in mind will help you get in the right mindset.
Elizabeth Harty, Mayo Clinic: What tips would you give to health care communicators who are just getting started in managing online communities?
The best advice for those communicators is to really know who makes up their community; try to create personas for the various people who make up your audience—who they are, what they do, how they act. We did a lot of research about our audience, and it has enabled us to make informed decisions about the content we are creating.
Cynthia Floyd Manley, Vanderbilt University Health System: People are always making comments online. How do you know when to respond and when to ignore?
The rule of thumb is to carefully think through what you want to achieve and consider whether responding or simply observing is the better approach.
When people are making positive comments, I try to respond in some way, even if it's just "thank you for choosing us for your care." Most negative comments should prompt some sort of response.
For instance, if someone is complaining on Twitter about an experience at our hospital, we'll respond with a "So sorry to hear this" and direct them to our Patient Relations team for further resolution. Most of the time, people appreciate being heard.
When to ignore can be trickier. If someone is criticizing your organization on your Facebook page, for instance, it is wise to pause and give the community time to weigh in. We've seen our fans come to our defense and negate any need for us to respond. If someone is on an emotional rant (sometimes they are doing their grieving in a public way on social media), often it serves no purpose to respond, and we just watch.
Makala Johnson, Mayo Clinic: What are some important lessons you¹ve learned from managing Mayo Clinic¹s online community?
One of the biggest challenges facing community managers is to listen more. Our Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media team has learned the value behind asking the community for feedback and crowdsourcing ideas. In turn, these responses assist us in better helping our patients.
Additionally, when monitoring the community's comments, we know that transparency can make or break a page. The social nature of these online communities mandates that we encourage discussion, “likes,” and shares, without stifling honest, respectful dialogue.
Meanwhile, it is also our responsibility to ensure the user experience for all is not hindered by a select few.
See this page for details on all of the events in Social Media Week at Mayo Clinic (including links to Social Media Health Network member discounts), or go directly to the Ragan site to register for the Summit.