Building Community: Social Media as the Glue
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.