“Healthcare Companies Still Don’t ‘Get’ Social Media” – But Neither Do Some Nonprofits

Great post today from Social Media Today community, detailing what pharma and Healthcare companies are missing in terms of social media. But what they don’t say is that some nonprofits are just as guilty. While many NPs have their own burgeoning online Health Communities, they often don’t take an active role in supporting and guiding that community to better health outcomes, and ultimately, better engagement and financial support.  The full text of the article is below: 


Social media is changing the nature of healthcare interaction, and health organizations that ignore this virtual environment may be missing opportunities to engage consumers.”

That was the very ominous and foreboding opening line from a press release announcing the findings of a report done by the Health Research Institute (HRI) at PwC US.

Anytime I see the words “engage” and “missing” I am automatically intrigued because as we all know it’s all about engagement: how to get engaged with your customers, how to stay engaged with your customers and how to ensure they stay engaged with you.

The report compared the social media activity of hospitals, pharma companies and health insurers to that of community sites and as you can see there is no comparison as community sites had 24 times more social media activity than corporate sites.


This is very significant as the report aptly points out in that it has serious implications for “businesses looking to capitalize on social media opportunities.”

The report also includes findings from an HRI social media survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers and 124 members of the eHealth Initiative and include the following results:

  • One-third of consumers now use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and online forums for health-related matters, including seeking medical information, tracking and sharing symptoms, and broadcasting how they feel about doctors, drugs, treatments, medical devices and health plans.
  • Four in 10 consumers say they have used social media to find health-related consumer reviews (e.g. of treatments or physicians); one in three have sought information related to other patients’ experiences with their disease; one in four have “posted” about their health experience; and one in five have joined a health forum or community.
  • When asked how information found through social media would affect their health decisions, 45 percent of consumers said it would affect their decision to get a second opinion; 41 percent said it would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital or medical facility; 34 percent said it would affect their decision about taking a certain medication; and 32 percent said it would affect their choice of a health insurance plan.
  • While 72 percent of consumers said they would appreciate assistance in scheduling doctor appointments through social media channels, nearly half said they would expect a response within a few hours.
  • As is the case more broadly, young adults are leading the social media healthcare charge. More than 80 percent of individuals between the ages of 18 and 24 said they were likely to share health information through social media channels and nearly 90 percent said they would trust information they found there. By comparison, less than half (45 percent) of individuals between the ages of 45 and 64 said they were likely to share health information via social media

What Does It All Mean?

Well I am glad you asked…

What it all means, as the chart below demonstrates so well, is there is a golden opportunity for the hospitals, pharma companies and health insurers of the world to engage with their customers and prospects.

I realize the hospitals, pharma companies and health insurers of the world are very reticent to engage via social media for fear of all the rules and regulations that govern their every move but… at the very least you can engage people at a high level, yes?


Sources: PR NewswireHealth Research Institute at PwC

Named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review, Steve Olenskiis a freelance writer/blogger currently looking for full-time work. He has worked on some of the biggest brands in the world and has over 20 years experience in advertising and marketing. He lives in Philly and can be reached via email,TwitterLinkedIn or his website.


2011 Sparklight Successes (continued)

Client Rob Dugger and former Rep. Glenn Nye on CBS Early Show

A few weeks ago, we shared five of our top client successes in 2011.  We’re now happy to share the second half of the list.

5. Generated National Media Coverage – Several clients wanted to increase their presence in the national media this year.  By creating sustained relationships with a targeted group of national reporters, Sparklight gained top tier coverage for its clients. Epilepsy Foundation – Wall Street Journal Digital, CBS Early Show, ABC News.com, Houston Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, and NPR.   Hanover Investment Group – Bloomberg Radio, Reuters, CNBC, FOX Business News, and CBS The Early Show with Rebecca Jarvis

4.  Grew by 500% –   Using a combination of message building across all communications channels including social media, web content, and Google Ad Words, the Epilepsy Foundation succeeded in having five times more people take the online “Get Seizure Smart” quiz in 2011 than in 2010.

3.   Secured Google Grant Funding – After securing a $10,000 Google Nonprofit grant for the Epilepsy Foundation in Spring of 2011, Sparklight project managed and created no less than 60 ad groups that moved the needle for the Epilepsy Foundation to its new coveted position at #2.

2.  Quadrupled Online Followers –  Social media is now one of the best engagement tools for the Foundation with Facebook now its third largest referrer to the main website, quadrupling the number of followers on both Twitter and Facebook, and increasing engagement 600%

1. Better Online Performance – Sparklight worked with Winners Lacrosse, Hanover Investment Group, and  Epilepsy Foundation’s National Walk for Epilepsy   to create a better visual and user experience for each of these clients web properties.


Nonprofit Social Media Tips Same After 3 Years

Social Media Expert, Jason Falls

Social Media Expert, Jason Falls

I try to read social media expert Jason Falls whenever I can squeeze in the time. He is a no-nonsense, data driven type who hits the nail on the head when it come to social media strategy. I hate bells and whistles. He hates bells and whistles.

This is why his article, Three Keys to Nonprofit Success in Social Media is still applicable today, despite the fact it was written THREE years ago.

The intro is a bit long, but his thesis is great. The keys are:

Have a compelling story to tell.
Make a specific ask or establish a specific goal to reach.
Make it astonishingly easy to give.

He also speaks about calls to action in content, the need for the emotional connection in your ask, as well as the critical need to have a strong communications plan around your giving goals. (Without this last one, Falls said, it’s like building a McDonald’s in the Sahara Desert. It’s certainly needed but no one will know about it! )

Here it is in its entirety. Happy reading!

Three Keys to Nonprofit Success in Social Media

Good Facebook Ad Tips Are Hard to Find…Not to Use

I guess it would be obvious that Facebook would have a great marketing webinar series. But what amazes me is that many people do not know this. And granted, it is not that easy to track down.

But I have learned a ton from this series and it is easy to use, and find key webinars, once you know where to look.

While it is mostly for ad campaigns and ad performance, it has other side benefits as well, especially when it comes to word usage, testing, and calls to action. See what you think and let me know.





Craig Strent is a Master Marketer

“This isn’t rocket science.”

That’s how Craig Strent describes the marketing behind his business, Apex Home Loans.  His smart strategy and inexpensive marketing tactics have built Strent a very successful mortgage loan business.

In 2010 Craig originated more than $100 million in loans.  This ranked him#54 nationally and for 9th time in the last 10 years, he was named one of the Top Mortgage Originators in America by the Scotsman Guide.

If you think he has a big advertising budget, guess again.  “Ninety percent of people don’t remember the name of their loan officer 12 months after their house closes.

Because 50% of mortgages turn over every 5-7 years, Craig’s strategy is to “stay connected with my current clients.”  That way, when they need a new loan, they call him.  Here’s how he does it:

  • Email: He sends 18-22 messages per customer per year, each of which contains important information about housing and interest rates.
  • Mail: Four times a year customers get a letter with a rate quote and on their birthday, a card with a scratch-off lottery ticket.
  • Phone: Craig sends a weekly voice mail (aka robocall) to 100 local realtors about current mortgage rates.  He calls it “archaic” but he insists it works.
  • Personal: Craig volunteers 2-3 times a week in his community and has played on the same  roller hockey team for 15 years.

(I hope you noticed social media didn’t make his list).

Craig also stays top of mind by standing out from the crowd.  “I’ve bought and sent thousands of lottery tickets to my clients,” he said.  “And it’s the one thing they never forget.”  One won $500.

And Craig doesn’t have a marketing team, though he did just hire an intern.  He programs email up to a year in advance and uses a service for market information.  He calls it a “Set it and Forget it” approach to marketing.

I call it smart.

Here’s Why No One Visits Your Facebook Page

I have a great friend who is super smart.

Her name is Jacquelyn Kittredge and she trains organizations on how to optimize their Facebook strategy and create awareness. In her post, The 5 Biggest Facebook Page Mistakes, she discusses something you may not know:

Facebook uses an algorithm to determine what appears in each individual’s news stream. If you fail to interact with your fans, you will literally disappear from their news stream.”

This is why when I went to speak with one nonprofit today, the director was clearly discouraged. He said because a staff member had gone on leave, no one had had time to manage their social media.  As a result, the organization had not posted to their blog, Facebook page or Twitter feed for 60 days. As a result their website  traffic was down, their call-center volume was down and they could not understand why their recent advocacy efforts with greeted with a “ho hum” response.

Now they know.

5 Tips for Twitter Success

Social media stresses some people out.  That’s largely because the possibilities for promoting who you are, and what you, seem endless with Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, YouTube and other applications.

And most people don’t feel like they have the time to use all these tools.  The good news is, you don’t need to spend every waking moment on these social media platforms to create an effective online presence

Over the next few weeks, I’ll offer a series of tips that maximize the impact of social media while minimizing the amount of time you spend online.  Let’s start with Twitter, the “microblogging” site.  Here are five things you can do right now that are easy and fast:

1. Retweet – Retweeting sounds basic, but this is the fastest and easiest thing you can do when you are pressed for time.  By reposting what one of your followers said, you provide value and gain creditability.  Just make sure the links before you RT as there is nothing more irritating than being taken to a broken link.

2. Answer Questions – This is especially true when the person asking has a large following. This is how you become part of the conversation. Respond with the @NAME sign and say something interesting. If you do, those who follow the questioner will see your post, and come to see what else you have to say.

3. Ask a question – This also starts a conversation and gets people talking. Add a hash tag (#) so people can follow along.  Health is Social (@HealthisSocial) has launched a Twitter chat for doctors. They are talking and asking questions and generated a lot of interest in #MDchat. Why not try the same thing with your followers?

4. Be Relevant – The quickest way to lose followers is to say what you had for breakfast (are you listening Joe?) so make sure you tweet something that has value.  If you read or hear something great, tweet it, even if it’s not focused on your industry.  You can cut a broad cloth, just make it interesting and make it your own.

5. Follow Friday – Recommend someone to follow with #FF hash tag. This is an easy way to offer something valuable, quickly. I like to tell people why too. Like this: “#FF @ShabbirSafdar 4 great analytic tips” or “#FF @AdAge 4 great case studies in digital” or “#FF @dearShakti 4 what’s going on with food in NYC.”

While this may seem like a lot, you can do all of these things very quickly at some point during the day and greatly increase your visibility online.

%d bloggers like this: