What makes Mayo Clinic dominate social media in healthcare? Here are 5 reasons why.
The 2013 Harris Poll EquiTrend survey named the Mayo Clinic website the top Health Information Website, ahead of WebMD. Health and medical research has been and is still one of the most popular activities of online consumers, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The most popular searches are about a specific disease or medical problem; a particular medical treatment or procedure; diet, nutrition and/or vitamins and exercise or fitness information. And when consumers do research healthcare-related information, Mayo Clinic is one of the first websites to pop up. The Mayo Clinic, a healthcare center with facilities in Rochester, Minn., Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz., and Jacksonville, Fla., have been able to leverage and enhance its reputation as a trusted source of information through a robust online presence and an expansive social media program that includes:
- Over 772,000 followers and counting on Twitter
- Regularly publishes content via YouTube Channel
- Over 498,252 likes on Facebook
In 2010, the Mayo Clinic created the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media to coordinate and focus the Clinic’s various social media initiatives and programs. The Clinic determined how social media allows them to achieve its organization’s larger goals. Namely, Mayo Clinic uses social media to get patients to become better advocates for their own care. Mayo Clinic’s philosophy of its social media is as follows: “Mayo Clinic believes individuals have the right and responsibility to advocate for their own health, and that it is our responsibility to help them use social media tools to get the best information, connect with providers and with each other, and inspire healthy choices.”
But what makes Mayo Clinic a social media juggernaut? Here are five reasons why Mayo Clinic is a dominant force in social media.
1. Strong Brand Recognition
According to an article on Forbes.com titled, 10 ways to Better Brand Recognition, there are several ways to stay ahead in a consumer’s mind. Using the same logo, photo and images in all marketing and communications material is foremost. Consistency is key. A consumer should be able to see the same colors or same image used in association with your company and associate it with you. This includes using the same image on the company website, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. Another great tip in building strong brand recognition is excellent customer service. Think in terms of guaranteeing the product or services, quick turnaround times and being available for support when questions arise. This alone is a major factor in whether a consumer will use the services and recommend them to others in the future for new business to you. The goal is to make sure new consumers come to you with an association of positive branding. Also providing constant value to your target market is vital to better brand recognition and becoming the well-respected “go-to” person in the field.
2. Social Media Is At the Forefront of Missions/Values
Utilizing social media stems from the inside out. Not only can it create a great online presence to consumers, but it can also be a great tool for employees. The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) finds that twice as much potential value lies in using social tools to enhance communications, knowledge sharing and collaborations within and across enterprises. MGI’s estimates suggest that by fully implementing social technologies, companies have an opportunity to raise the productivity of interaction workers—high-skill knowledge workers, including managers and professionals—by 20 to 25 percent. Not only that, ROI can increase with the simple click of a button. But in order to be the best in social media, you have to embrace social media. Immerse yourself in the social media realm and become a guru in your field online. Host a Facebook Group and create a Facebook page. Create a Twitter account and schedule tweets that are meaningful to your overall core audience. Make sure that there is good representation for your company via LinkedIn so that meaningful connections can be made within your field. Update regularly. Work to keep your name in front of your market. On all your social media accounts, share tips, ask questions and network with one another. The benefit to you is that you can stay in touch with your target market and employees in “real-time.” If you aren’t regularly staying in touch with your customers, employees and/or target market, you’re going to lose business and a workforce.
According to a HIMSS white paper titled, “Healthcare “Friending” Social Media: What Is It? How Is It Used, and What Should I Do?” There have been many successful use cases of social media in healthcare from patient and physician blogs to physicians’ use of Twitter for education; patients sharing outcomes and supporting each other in health-specific communities; physicians discussing treatments with each other using communities and enterprise social media; and hospitals both educating the community and acquiring new patients just from Facebook alone. Over time, social media will be considered part of routine healthcare operations and consumers’ day-to-day lives…initially referring to it as “social health”. Here’s an equation for you: Healthcare + Social Media = Social Health (today), then Social Health (today) = Health (future). “Take some baby steps and get into the shallow end of the pool as soon as possible. The great strategic ideas will probably come after you have some experience in the social media world,” says Lee Aase, Director of the Social Media Center for the Mayo Clinic. But keep in mind what the consumers want as well. “Patients want in-depth, great content,” he says. “Interaction is important, but really, you need great content.”
In a recent digital marketing & analytics article, they found that 41% of people said social media would affect their choice of healthcare provider. (Source: DC Interactive Group)
What this means is that social media is now incredibly influential on healthcare choices. If you are looking to maximize patient engagement, seek to develop and optimize your social media profiles in addition to utilizing social media monitoring and measurement tools.
4. Governance/Support from Leadership
Another good reason why the Mayo Clinic is on top of the social media game in healthcare, is because of support from executive leadership. CEO of the Mayo Clinic John Noseworthy states that was “a key force” in developing the Center for Social Media. In apresentation at the 2011 Social Media Summit at the Clinic, Noseworthy talked about the critical role of social media in the future of healthcare. “…I’m proud to say that Mayo Clinic has been and intends to be among the leaders in using social media…it’s all about the patient…And how these tools can help us all serve them better,” states Noseworthy.
Many business leaders recognize the importance of macro trends in social media, such as consumer use of social media on tablets and phones down to their organizations’ marketing function. Executives are also hearing more and more stories about how other companies are finding ways to use social tools to improve productivity and operations. In a 2o11 survey conducted by the MIT Sloan Management Review, 18% of respondents said social business was “important today.” In 2012, that number doubled to 36%. In the same survey, 40% of respondents agreed that social business would be important in one year. In the 2012 survey, the comparable number leaped to 54%.
5. Embrace Innovation
An additional indicator of the Mayo Clinic’s leadership in social media is its creativity in discovering new benefits from it. For example, the Center utilizes YouTube and shows videos of a surgeon performing surgery or offers patients the opportunity to ask doctors questions online. The Clinic’s hypothesis is that if patients can interact and get to know a new doctor on a social platform, they will have a more positive attitude when it comes time to actually visit the new doctor. These are new and innovative ways of interacting and introducing patients to who they will be receiving their care from. It gives the power of healthcare back to the patients within a tablet, computer, laptop or smart phone.
They have their own website called Center for Innovation. Here, the Mayo Clinic connects patients with a selection of social media demonstrations and interactions. New interactions such as the OpenIDEO series highlights a game called “With Me” that allows patients to connect with others in a more meaningful way and also has a platform called “Knowledge Tree” that allows patients to create authentic relationships based on common interests or activities. They host Twitter chats [also known as Tweetchats] with their own hashtag, #innovationchat. Those consumers who actively use Twitter can join Mayo Clinic and other like-minded healthcare professionals on discussions in medical innovation in real time with quick responses.
Mayo Clinic has not only taken social media seriously for its own use, but has also established an industry-wide Social Media Health Network, described as “a service of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, (that) provides tools, resources and guidance to organizations and individuals wanting to apply social media in health and healthcare.” Mayo Clinic also sponsors an annual Health Care Social Media Summit, bringing together providers and others to share best practices. In 2011, Mayo Clinic also held its first two-day Social Media Residency, combining self-study with faculty presentations and mentorship opportunities to further promote social media use by providers.
Even with all the social media connectivity, only 26% of all hospitals in the US participate in social media. What this means is that we should consider the value that patients place on social media and be more active in it. There is some apprehension when it comes to healthcare and social media, but there are steps that can be taken to make sure that all parties involved are within the boundaries of HIPAA. So, what does this all mean? The way consumers get their healthcare information is online and most take recommendations from those within their trusted social networks. The more information out there, the better. And who is the best example and why? The Mayo Clinic. They are innovative. They have impeccable branding. Their content is superb. They have executive support. And above all, are able to engage patients like never before by connecting with them in different was regardless of their choice for disseminating and digesting information via the many vehicles of social media. Kudos to the Mayo Clinic.