MCSMN Blog

July 3, 2019

Building Community: Social Media as the Glue

By Jess Lewis

and Jenn Shafer

Jess Lewis and Jenn Shafer will present "Community & Collaboration: Building a Cohesive Culture Inside & Out" at the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network 2019 Annual Conference. To learn more from Jess, Jenn, and other expert speakers, please join us!

You’re not an island – even as a team of one, you can build relationships and foster collaboration by working together with others in your department, your health system, and your community using social media. At TriHealth, we use internal and external social media platforms to promote a collaborative environment. By breaking down silos between teams and utilizing community partnerships, we can better connect with patients in our region, as well as our own employees. It doesn’t matter if your health system is large or small – you can use social media effectively to create a cohesive community, inside and out.

Collaborating within your team

In the past, the different teams within the Marketing Communications department at TriHealth were essentially separate entities, working together only when necessary. However, over the last few years, we have worked in a more integrated way – breaking down internal silos and working on projects together. Though there are many overlapping projects within our department, social media is the glue that keeps us aligned and connected.

TriHealth has two social media networks – one external and patient-focused, and one internal and employee-focused. The two networks support each other, and TriHealth as a whole, and help employees to advocate for TriHealth through their personal social media accounts. Because these platforms support and overlap with each other, we are now in constant communication about content, especially when it affects both teams

This enhanced collaboration has also flourished in our new open office environment and regular meetings between teams. These factors help us make decisions in real-time while also planning for the future.

Engaging your organization

As mentioned above, one of our social media accounts is directed toward our team members.

While our external social media accounts focus on positioning TriHealth as the place where patients want to come for their healthcare, our internal accounts focus on positioning TriHealth as the place where people want to work. Our internal, employee-focused initiatives help to make employees excited about TriHealth – which in turn makes them want to share external success, as well. We have an organizational, inside-out approach about our news, so our team members can be the first to share it.

In addition, we are also in the process of changing internal policies in order to create an ambassador program, using already-engaged employees. This will include taking social media out from behind the firewall, as well as training every employee on appropriate social media use, including real-life examples that they might encounter.

Partnering with your community

In our community of Cincinnati, we have many partnerships with local nonprofits and professional sports teams. We also have a Physician Speaker Series, which gives our physicians more exposure throughout the city. We are also involved in many local events – making TriHealth top-of-mind for potential patients. Social media is interwoven in all of these community partnerships, sponsorships and events. When we partner with these organizations and venues, we always tag them on social media, and encourage them to tag us as well, emphasizing the involvement. Most of our partnerships also have an emphasis on population health, strengthening our message as a community health partner.

So in summary…

As presenters at the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network Conference, we are huge supporters of social media (obviously 😉 ) and using it to build a community around you – both inside your organization, and outside in your community. People trust their friends in the online space, and we’ve found it’s the best tool to make word of mouth work for us. We use social media to start the conversation, and let the community we’ve built promote TriHealth for us.

But how do you continue to foster that community? Encourage and engage it. Create ambassadors. Incentivize when possible. But above all else, create content and conversation that will resonate with your community, telling the stories that they want to hear, while also being true to your brand and organization. We’re excited to share more details around this topic and hear from you at the conference in Rochester on October 22-23. We promise to engage our audience, creating a community that will then transfer to your own work.

About the Authors

Jess Lewis is the Social Media Specialist for TriHealth, a health system with five hospitals and more than 150 locations. Her background includes marketing for healthcare, tourism, and higher education. She enjoys diving into social media analytics and trends, as well as teaching people the basics of social media marketing. She is also a craft beer and bourbon aficionado and plays in an adult field hockey league.

Jenn Shafer is a Marketing Communications Consultant with TriHealth, specializing in internal communication and managing the internal social media channels for TriHealth team members. Graduating from the Ohio State University, she unexpectedly found herself in healthcare after jobs in the aviation and automotive businesses but is enjoying the challenge of this changing industry. A lover of travel, Jenn’s goal is to visit all seven continents and all 50 states.

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Have you signed up for this year's Mayo Clinic Social Media Network Annual Conference yet? #MayoClinic #MCSMN #OnlineCommunities
Want to build more effective and impactful digital strategies? Join us in November to learn how. #MCSMN
Want to learn how to build a stronger community through social media? Join us this October in Rochester. #MayoClinic #OnlineCommunities


Tags: Annual Conference, Community Development, Community Development, Online community, Strategy, Tactics & Best Practices

I love the concept of thinking how the internal focus can be leveraged to help the external focus.

One thought: by far the strongest internal social media network is internal email (and I would contend that it’s digital strength is related to the non-digital, face-to-face relationships at work). To what extent is the internal email network used to leverage the external network? Exampke: Has the healthcare CEO ever sent out an monthly call to action email requesting, say, her 3000 local employees share a Facebook post on how to turn on the smart phones distracted driving?

(I bring up this example because I believe very simple digital actions – such as a well crafted email and call to action- can be scaled by social media to directly save lives which is usually part of healthcare’s mission).

COMMENT

Thanks for the input, @matthewrehrl! I'll let @_jennshafer speak to your question as it relates more to her role, but I do know that the open rate on emails can be pretty low sometimes in our organization.

COMMENT

Interesting comment, @matthewrehrl. To answer your question simply, we have not tried the email approach to external social media like that, but we have also been changing our email strategy.

In the past, we have felt our team members had become complacent when it came to emails, especially from our CEO. They felt the message maybe didn't apply directly to them, or they were getting too many mass emails to bother going through all of them (especially our clinical staff). To combat this, we now have a weekly cascade that comes from our CEO to directors, and then they forward on to managers and their teams, adding any messages relevant to their specific teams. Our theory is team members are more likely to look at emails from their one-up rather than a senior leader. It also helps to lessen the amount of emails we send to our team members.

After that mini rant, I do think that will be something we could try in our weekly cascade in the future!

COMMENT
@_jennshafer

Interesting comment, @matthewrehrl. To answer your question simply, we have not tried the email approach to external social media like that, but we have also been changing our email strategy.

In the past, we have felt our team members had become complacent when it came to emails, especially from our CEO. They felt the message maybe didn't apply directly to them, or they were getting too many mass emails to bother going through all of them (especially our clinical staff). To combat this, we now have a weekly cascade that comes from our CEO to directors, and then they forward on to managers and their teams, adding any messages relevant to their specific teams. Our theory is team members are more likely to look at emails from their one-up rather than a senior leader. It also helps to lessen the amount of emails we send to our team members.

After that mini rant, I do think that will be something we could try in our weekly cascade in the future!

Jump to this post

I like the idea of a designed digital cascade. Once or twice I have run across articles which study internal email networks. I wonder if the folks in IT have any readily available software which can identify your organizations strongest “nodes” based on email history. For example, other than direct supervisors ( whose emails one always open) are there any other key linchpins in the network?

COMMENT
@matthewrehrl

I like the idea of a designed digital cascade. Once or twice I have run across articles which study internal email networks. I wonder if the folks in IT have any readily available software which can identify your organizations strongest “nodes” based on email history. For example, other than direct supervisors ( whose emails one always open) are there any other key linchpins in the network?

Jump to this post

We are working on implementing a system that allows us to easily track various data when sending emails (Polite Mail), but we would have to check with our IT department to see if there was any old data we could pull from as well!

COMMENT
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