Insights / social-media

Healthcare and Social Media: An Interview with Ed Bennett

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Ed Bennett, Director of Web Strategy at the University of Maryland Medical Center, about his take on snnett is a wealth of knowledge and the information and viewpoints he shared with me resonates with the work that Mason, Inc. does with our healthcare clients.

As Mr. Bennett and I spoke about social media as it pertains to healthcare I was able to learn some things, and there are a few points that I would like to share. Below are three questions hospitals and businesses should be asking themselves.

1) Do you have a social media policy?

You have heard it before, and you will hear it again. Your employees ARE online. Whether it is while they are at work or when they go home. Either way, they are on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites sharing information about their lives and their jobs. Make sure they know what they can and cannot say as it relates to their job and your hospital.

If you are looking for examples of quality social media policies head over to Ed’s website and look at the list he has compiled.

2) Who takes the lead on the social media initiative?

In most cases the appropriate person to handle the social media initiative is in the marketing and communications department. The reason for this is because they are (or should be) the people with the best understanding of your hospital’s brand. However, the initiative does not need to begin there. For example, if your goal is to use social media for recruiting, then the HR department should be involved. Either way, the person that should be taking the lead is someone that is a visionary and someone that can make that vision a reality.

3) Why do most hospitals get involved in social media?

This answer is one that is consistent across most industries. Social media provides a company with an opportunity to communicate directly with its customers. It is not much different in the healthcare world. Social media marketing is being used for recruitment, idea sharing, and for crisis communications. As Mr. Bennett noted, “With social media you are in the room listening to what people are saying about you.”

As a person who has been in his field since the internet launched, Ed Bennett has seen the healthcare industry falter in the sense that in general it has been slow to adapt. Thanks to his work and research, hospitals will have an easier time finding the information they need to be successful in social media. Check out his blog here, and his lists here.