"Start with Strategy" is one of our fundamental planning principles for using social media in health care. In many cases, however, stakeholders come to our team with specific tactical proposals without having done the necessary strategic thinking.
They may want a Facebook page to attract prospective patients, for example, but they haven't considered how Facebook's declining organic reach for pages will diminish its impact. So in most cases, we advise them to consider contributing content to our main Mayo Clinic Facebook page, which has more than 865,000 likes and will give their posts more reach than they'll get on a separate page.
Earlier this year I was prepared to give just such advice to Joseph Dearani, M.D., our chair of Cardiac Surgery at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, as he wanted to discuss creating another specialized Facebook page in addition to the one he maintains for Ebstein's Anomaly.
But when I heard how he was using that page, and the solid strategic thinking he had done, it was obvious we should encourage his initiative. On Tuesday I interviewed Dr. Dearani about how he and his secretary use Facebook pages. Here are some highlights:
The declining organic reach of Facebook pages doesn't concern Dr. Dearani because reach isn't his goal. He wants to provide educational videos and other resources to parents who are considering heart surgery for their children, and who have already contacted his office.
When parents call his secretary, she can easily direct them to the Ebstein's Anomaly - Mayo Clinic page on Facebook. And while he's happy to talk with them before they've explored the material, their review of the page answers many of their questions and triggers others they may not have yet considered.
The Facebook page helps them have a better, more informed conversation with Dr. Dearani, whether on the phone or when they come to Mayo Clinic for a surgical consultation. And it increases their confidence that Mayo Clinic is right for them.
Do you have similar Facebook strategy examples in your hospital's practice? We'd love to hear about them in the comments.
In our interview this week Dr. Dearani also discussed the effects of patient-led Facebook groups in cardiac surgery practice, as well as one particular case in which the Ebstein's Anomaly page facilitated discussion with an international patient's cardiologist who had been recommending against surgery. I'll share those highlights in future posts in this series.