Virtual Marketing

How to create and maintain a social media site BY SAHELY MUKERJI


ore than 3 billion people use the Internet and more than 2 billion

of those users have active social media accounts, according to an August 2016 Hootsuite column. Given the wide- spread use, social media is no longer optional for businesses, says Kelly David, director of marketing and public relations at Spectrum Medical Group in Portland, Maine. “The more we become patient and customer focused, the more important a tool social media becomes to connect.”

Set Up “If you are just getting started on social media at your ASC, don’t bite off more than you can chew,” David says. “Don’t try to be all things to everyone, maybe pick one, like Facebook, and focus on that. Start out with a plan in place, consider what you want to communi- cate, your tone and your brand voice,

and take on more only when you get comfortable with one. Facebook has a broad audience and, if you are just get- ting started, that might be a good place to get your feet wet.” When considering which social

network to start with, look at your audience, says Cheryl Zapata, chief development officer at Texas Back Institute (TBI) in Plano, Texas. “If they are 38–60 years old, I would start with Facebook,” she says. “If they are younger, I would start with Instagram. If they are very young, I would start with Snapchat. Start with one only. It will take time to figure it out and relate with your audience.” Prepare your staff for what it means

to go live on social media, David says. “Set guidelines or you can get into trouble,” she cautions. “No selfies in your scrubs, certainly no pictures in patient space, think about patient con-

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fidentiality and patient comfort. This is not just for their privacy, but to make sure that they are comfortable.” Consider selecting one person who

knows your ASC and understands its voice to handle all communications on social media, says Jaclyn McDan- iel, director of Texas Health Spine and Orthopedic Center in Plano, Texas. “You want a consistent voice,” she says. “Have a policy in place when considering starting your social media initiative. Consider your goals on who you are going to reach and how.” Zapata agrees. “You should have someone who owns the site,” she says. “That person would govern everything that would be posted by the organiza- tion. He or she would have to be trust- worthy and someone you know would be able to manage it.” This one person would be respon-

sible for monitoring your site closely and make sure to respond to posts as appropriate, McDaniel says. “This is where his or her accountability kicks in. People like to look at social media

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