It's fair to say that the Mayo Clinic knows what it is doing when it comes to hospital marketing. Known world-wide, it is frequently quoted as an authority on many medical topics. Patients go out of their way to receive medical services there. So it's a good assumption that if they believe in the power of social media so much that they have a Center for Social Media , other hospital marketers should probably pay attention.
According to their website, “The social media revolution is the most far-reaching communications development since Gutenberg’s printing press.” Their social media marketing efforts first began in 2005 with podcasting. The Clinic reports that it now has the most popular medical provider channel on YouTube, more than 550,000 “followers” on Twitter, and an active Facebook page with over 380,000 connections. With its News Blog, Podcast Blog and Sharing Mayo Clinic, a blog that enables patients and employees to tell their Mayo Clinic stories, Mayo has also been a pioneer in hospital blogging. There are many benefits to such an extensive social media and blogging program:
- Search Engine Optimization: SEO can be used extensively in social media conversations to propel information to the top of search engine results. Proper tags on YouTube videos, keywords sprinkled throughout blogs, and a constant stream of Tweets that can be Re-Tweeted and shared all catch the attention of the search engines.
- Patient Engagement: Obviously everyone who is following or connecting with the Clinic is not a patient. But, when someone is looking for medical services, they are more likely to think of the Mayo Clinic first because it manages to keep and maintain top-of-mind awareness. The Clinic is responsive to the needs of today’s consumers for information.
- Patient Advocates: The Clinic urges patients to use social media to get the best information and connect with providers. It also promotes patients communicating with each other to share health-related information and make healthier lifestyle choices.
- Internal Communications: The Clinic also uses social media to communicate with employees and keep them updated and informed. A blog which promotes employee conversations relating to the organization's strategic plan also includes innovative use of video and a hybrid "insider" newsletter/blog. The Clinic believes that this high level of employee engagement has been instrumental in its being recognized among Fortune magazine's "Best Places to Work."
The website inspires conversations around topics related to hospital marketing, and curates articles and insights from national media on topics such as “Healthcare Harnesses Social Media,” “Why That Video Went Viral” from The NY Times, and “How Four Healthcare Institutions are Leading the Conversation with Social.” Hospitals marketers who spend time on this website will find plenty of information on what does and does not work in social.
Through its Social Media Health Network, the Clinic also provides an opportunity for health-related organizations to learn together and share best practices. Hospital marketers from around the country would be well-advised to pay heed to their insights.