Discussions

Social Channels for Individual Departments

Posted by Rhonda Mann @rhondamann, Sun, Sep 8 1:04am

Up until now, we've done a good job at Tufts Medical Center keeping official Tufts MC social channels in the hands of the Comms department. We're now getting lots of requests from clinical departments for their own Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts, which the departments would run themselves (we don't have the bandwidth to do it within the Comms dept). There doesn't seem to be a way to do this without opening up the flood-gates and allowing all departments to do it. So here's my question: Do you allow individual departments/divisions/programs to have their own official hospital social accounts? If so, does your comms department monitor these? (If so, please include the number of FTEs in your social media dept). Thanks for the insight…

Great question thanks Rhonda – i will look forward to the replies. Our comms team refuse to allow any other social media accounts than the official organization ones which is very frustrating for our clinicians. I would recommend working with those making the requests so they understand the responsibilities involved especially the need to respond in a timely way. No doubt the Mayo Clinic team along with VUMC will have helpful tips!

REPLY

Hi Rhonda, when I came onboard I took an audit of all the social media channels and made a recommendation that we stop allowing the creation of new ones. My predecessor had a "soft" policy that allowed literally anyone to make a request for a new social channel, granted that they filled out a form justifying its existence and they would get approved.

We now require anyone wanting to establish a new channel to make their case to us directly, at which point we'll educate them on the intensity of resources required to run a social media channel, the difficulty of building and maintaining an audience, and strongly encourage them to utilize our existing channels as a platform to get meet their goals. For some applicants, just the process is enough to discourage them from pursuing it much further. For others, we have developed stronger relationships within the org and now work with them as a source of content.

This is a huge win-win in my mind. We don't have to deal with shutting down abandoned accounts, inevitable slip-ups, and PR crises, and they get their content in front of an audience without having to build one from scratch. We still have to suffer some rogue accounts that pre-date this policy, but I like to think that their days are numbered.

I think the risk of a non-communications professional running a public-facing social media profile is far too great. Even our official pages have slip-ups that create fire-drills.

Hope that helps. And I'm the only full-time social media guy in a marketing & communications department of ~50 people.

REPLY

I don’t think a department’ shouldn’t do it because of “risk”. Consider say, a Neurosurgery Department, or a Pediatric Oncology Department. They deal with risks an order of magnitude greater than HIPPA risk or other enterprise risks. It could just be corporate/marketing doesn’t really – deep down – trust their people – which means there is s hiring or training issue. Trust me – a neurosurgeon can be trusted using Twitter.

No. I think the reason they usually shouldn’t be opening up these Department accounts is they probably don’t have a clear strategy for how this will actual help patients. If they do- for example if they can show how a Department twitter account can help reduce mortality of say, skin cancer, then you should do everything. You can to help them out – but if it’s simple a marketing account – best leave that to the pros.

Now oddly, I think there are some interestingly cultural solutions which could be adapted. For Example Hoot suite which has a large corporate twitter account, allows draft tweets submissions by their staff , but the final tweet is checked by marketing ( they Tweet 24 times a day). They also have. @hootsuitelife account which is more of a feel good account which probably has a similar flow.

Anyway, unless the department’s have a specific group of patients they are trying to really help via social media (which is the Mayos model, and which is supported by Mayo Marketing – which by the way has a very deep culture of trust, innovation, and training) I think most orgs are better off looking for innovative channels of submission to the primary corporate accounts.

Finally, and I may be speculating here, but I get the sense Mayo actually encourages careful social media experimentation at the department and individual level – which I think isn’t something culturally most orgs can do or the internal training mechanism to do.

REPLY

Excellent thoughts @sasanof @rplattmmc @matthewrehrl. Since @Margaret_Marie from our Mayo team is on vacation this week and @LeeAase is presenting at SHSMD today, I'll jump in to explain how Mayo handles these requests @rhondamann

There are 8 members of our Social and Digital Innovation Team. 5 of them actively manage our enterprise social media accounts (along with other duties). We have 3 campuses (Rochester MN, Jacksonville FL, and Scottsdale AZ) but only one enterprise account for each major platform.

When a service line requests a social media account we set up a consult where we explain, much like I think @rplattmmc does, the benefits of placing content on our enterprise accounts (less time managing the account, more reach, etc). If they still want to manage their own account, we require that they complete our Social Media Basics for Healthcare Certificate and purchase a license with Sprinklr, the platform we use for all our social media posts and monitoring. These requirements often serve as a deterrent.

(One advantage of corporate membership – which Tufts Medical Center has – is that unlimited team members can participate in MCSMN. That includes the social media basics certificate. Using this as a first step in qualifying and training someone outside the team to manage social is a huge benefit.)

Mayo Clinic has more than 150 non-enterprise social media accounts. We don't actively manage them, but since they are all on the Sprinklr platform with us we can keep an eye on things.

@matthewrehrl is right that we do actively encourage careful use of social media throughout the organization. Trust is core to all our relationships. We have open access to social, and we encourage our team members to share Mayo Clinic content. We consistently find that word of mouth referral is among the top reasons why patients choose Mayo Clinic, and social is today's word of mouth.

Rhonda – which of these processes resonate with you?

REPLY
@matthewrehrl

I don’t think a department’ shouldn’t do it because of “risk”. Consider say, a Neurosurgery Department, or a Pediatric Oncology Department. They deal with risks an order of magnitude greater than HIPPA risk or other enterprise risks. It could just be corporate/marketing doesn’t really – deep down – trust their people – which means there is s hiring or training issue. Trust me – a neurosurgeon can be trusted using Twitter.

No. I think the reason they usually shouldn’t be opening up these Department accounts is they probably don’t have a clear strategy for how this will actual help patients. If they do- for example if they can show how a Department twitter account can help reduce mortality of say, skin cancer, then you should do everything. You can to help them out – but if it’s simple a marketing account – best leave that to the pros.

Now oddly, I think there are some interestingly cultural solutions which could be adapted. For Example Hoot suite which has a large corporate twitter account, allows draft tweets submissions by their staff , but the final tweet is checked by marketing ( they Tweet 24 times a day). They also have. @hootsuitelife account which is more of a feel good account which probably has a similar flow.

Anyway, unless the department’s have a specific group of patients they are trying to really help via social media (which is the Mayos model, and which is supported by Mayo Marketing – which by the way has a very deep culture of trust, innovation, and training) I think most orgs are better off looking for innovative channels of submission to the primary corporate accounts.

Finally, and I may be speculating here, but I get the sense Mayo actually encourages careful social media experimentation at the department and individual level – which I think isn’t something culturally most orgs can do or the internal training mechanism to do.

Jump to this post

Thanks for these thoughts.
I appreciate what you've said about a physician and risk. However, I do not believe most people – including physicians – are aware of the risks associated with social engagement. Our physicians mostly are asking to use social as a means of extending their personal brands as well as the medical center brand (not to engage new patients). Some also want to connect with alumni.
I would be much more likely to want to experiment with this if we had the staff that the Mayo has to train and monitor. We do not have these resources. Thus, I wanted to check to see what other similar organizations are doing in this space.
Thanks again…

Liked by David Grayson

REPLY

Hello,

I haven't read all of the responses, but I wanted to share my experience and advice I received from this group.

Long story short, we had a department that wanted to have their own page. After much discussion, we landed on trying a trial period (3 months – if I remember correctly) and I had them provide me with content which I shared to our main social channels. I also provided them with design resources (Canva), contents ideas/starting points and asked them to build a content calendar which we decided upon 3-5 posts/week (based on what the expectations would be if they had a real page). For various reasons after the 3 months, they decided against having their own page and will share content for our main channels. This was a great learning experience for all of us! And it let them give it a try without a HUGE commitment.

REPLY
@annettecalteaux

Hello,

I haven't read all of the responses, but I wanted to share my experience and advice I received from this group.

Long story short, we had a department that wanted to have their own page. After much discussion, we landed on trying a trial period (3 months – if I remember correctly) and I had them provide me with content which I shared to our main social channels. I also provided them with design resources (Canva), contents ideas/starting points and asked them to build a content calendar which we decided upon 3-5 posts/week (based on what the expectations would be if they had a real page). For various reasons after the 3 months, they decided against having their own page and will share content for our main channels. This was a great learning experience for all of us! And it let them give it a try without a HUGE commitment.

Jump to this post

@annettecalteaux – Smart idea having a trial period. I do think that most people don't have a good understanding of just how intensive it is to run a social media channel. This gives them a taste, and I imagine it can be a wakeup call for some.

REPLY
@rhondamann

Thanks for these thoughts.
I appreciate what you've said about a physician and risk. However, I do not believe most people – including physicians – are aware of the risks associated with social engagement. Our physicians mostly are asking to use social as a means of extending their personal brands as well as the medical center brand (not to engage new patients). Some also want to connect with alumni.
I would be much more likely to want to experiment with this if we had the staff that the Mayo has to train and monitor. We do not have these resources. Thus, I wanted to check to see what other similar organizations are doing in this space.
Thanks again…

Jump to this post

I see your point @rhondamann. Don't forget that Tufts can use the Social Media Basics certificate to educate anyone who wants to improve their skills and avoid problems. There are 7 modules and, for example, you could ask a physician to take the introduction, professionalism, and Twitter modules if he/she wanted to engage more in Twitter. If they complete the entire certificate they can earn 3.5 CME credits. Here's the link to the page describing the certificate: https://socialmedia.mayoclinic.org/social-media-basics-certification/

REPLY

I'll tag a few others who may have insights for you here: @kathywinter @cynthiamanley @moniquet @lucybordewick @jenrittenhouse

REPLY
@DanHinmon

I see your point @rhondamann. Don't forget that Tufts can use the Social Media Basics certificate to educate anyone who wants to improve their skills and avoid problems. There are 7 modules and, for example, you could ask a physician to take the introduction, professionalism, and Twitter modules if he/she wanted to engage more in Twitter. If they complete the entire certificate they can earn 3.5 CME credits. Here's the link to the page describing the certificate: https://socialmedia.mayoclinic.org/social-media-basics-certification/

Jump to this post

Thanks Dan. That is a good option. Thanks for the reminder.

REPLY

Our process sounds quite similar to those mentioned above. I am a member of 3 person digital marketing/comm team (all FTEs), but I am the only person charged with managing social media, my colleagues are resources/back ups as needed. At this time, we only have accounts for our main entities (Hospitals, Physician Group, College of Nursing/Medical Science, Medical Equipment corp. and HR recruitment). Our approval process sounds very similar to @rplattmmc for new accounts. We educate the departments/individuals on the time/training commitment, try to get them to narrow their goals and usually encourage them to start with providing content to our main accounts. We honestly have not had anyone take the conversation further than that since my role was created. If someone does pursue past this point, we require them to write a proposal that is reviewed by the marketing arm of our corporate leadership council and would ultimately be approved by the entire CLC. We do not try to dictate what providers can/cannot maintain their own professional accounts. If they choose to pursue that, we feel it's their own professional brand to own and we'll be a resource and require disclaimers about their affiliation with our organization. Departments are a different story. It has to be a pretty compelling reason, well-thought out goals and processes. Usually a conversation and opening our main channels to them is enough to meet their objectives.

REPLY

Hi! No, we do not allow individual departments or service lines to have their own social accounts. Actually, social is blocked at work for most of the teams, unless they are part of the MarCom team. Each of our hospitals and clinics have their own accounts and department info is shared through those channels. Topics with a wider interest can be funneled to me to share on our corporate channels.I think many do no realize how much time is spent building a following, planning, curating and creating content, monitoring and replying….24/7/365.

REPLY

Hi everyone,
I'm brand new to this discussion forum but have found this thread to be very informative. Our communications department supports a taxing district's health care system in FL. We currently have basic social media accounts set up through our comms department (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and a couple of others). We are now looking to establish "best practices" regarding social media for non-profit health care entities like ours. I was wondering if anyone had worked with social media consultants or consulting firms in the past to (1) establish "best practices" for your organization and/or (2) help move social media platforms from basic to more engaging and patient-focused/friendly? If so, any recommendations on consultants or consulting firms you've worked with in the past would be much appreciated!

REPLY
@jratchfo

Hi everyone,
I'm brand new to this discussion forum but have found this thread to be very informative. Our communications department supports a taxing district's health care system in FL. We currently have basic social media accounts set up through our comms department (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and a couple of others). We are now looking to establish "best practices" regarding social media for non-profit health care entities like ours. I was wondering if anyone had worked with social media consultants or consulting firms in the past to (1) establish "best practices" for your organization and/or (2) help move social media platforms from basic to more engaging and patient-focused/friendly? If so, any recommendations on consultants or consulting firms you've worked with in the past would be much appreciated!

Jump to this post

Welcome to the Social Media Network, @jratchfo! Thanks for asking the question. I'm going to tag a few members who may have some suggestions for you. @apafford @laurynb @lesliebyrne123 @mdethlefsen @alaxdal @northwesternmed

REPLY
@kathywinter

Hi! No, we do not allow individual departments or service lines to have their own social accounts. Actually, social is blocked at work for most of the teams, unless they are part of the MarCom team. Each of our hospitals and clinics have their own accounts and department info is shared through those channels. Topics with a wider interest can be funneled to me to share on our corporate channels.I think many do no realize how much time is spent building a following, planning, curating and creating content, monitoring and replying….24/7/365.

Jump to this post

That sounds a bit sad Kathy? My gripe with our Comms Director (who would fit in well in your org) is an over emphasis on the down side of engaging clinicians. Check out this example https://mobile.twitter.com/sasanof/status/1174584456104951808
I saw a letter of thanks from a patient in our local newspaper and shared it with the Director of our ER who hadn’t seen it nor had he been notified by our Comms or PR team. He and his ER staff may never have known but now they do and our hospital has more widely shared a good news story. Why wouldn’t you want free help from clinicians who are proud of their hospital?

REPLY
Please login or register to post a reply.