By Margo Wickersham Winter
We have a conundrum. Healthcare companies are considering social media. They are recognizing the opportunities to connect with their customers through social media are great. But before marketing and social media consultants agree to create a social media program for these companies, we need to exhibit self-discipline. Take a few minutes to evaluate the whole picture.
As a marketing consultant, I understand the temptation to say “Yes, I have the knowledge and experience to do this work for this company who needs it.” No one likes to turn down good new business. There’s the rub. These healthcare companies and providers need what marketing a social media consultants offer and they have the money and willingness to pay us to give them what they need. But can these healthcare companies and providers succeed with a social media plan? Many have tried and failed.
No marketing or social media consultant worth hiring wants to fail for their customers. Remembering the bigger picture on long-term success for that company has the added benefit of helping consultants build a strong and reputable practice. When our clients succeed, we succeed. Right. So I only want to work for healthcare companies or physician practices who are poised to succeed. How do I know which ones those are?
The culture. John Lynn, publisher of EMR & HIPAA Forum estimates only 75% of healthcare companies are positioned to succeed in social media. This might sound radical on social media blogs and websites, but the culture of the healthcare companies and physician practices is the harsh dose of reality that need to be carefully considered. Company culture has emerged as the secret ingredient that determines the potential success of a social media program – as well as many other initiatives. If the culture doesn’t support the endeavor, the endeavor is likely to fail. Choosing to identify the companies with the cultural strength to maintain consistent focus on a social media program are the ones we want to help. The other 25% of healthcare companies are likely to fail at social media. If the company doesn’t have the culture to succeed in social media, do yourself and the company a favor. Recommend they not invest any time or resources in social media and instead, focus their efforts in other areas where they do and will succeed. Failure avoided.