Last week our Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media released Bringing the Social Media Revolution to Health Care, a collection of essays on various aspects of health care social media contributed by members of our External Advisory Board and others who are members of our Social Media Health Network.
The book includes a Foreword by our Mayo Clinic CEO, Dr. John Noseworthy, and a special section on legal issues from our Mayo Clinic attorney, Dan Goldman. Our Center for Social Media Medical Director, Dr. Farris Timimi, wrote the Preface. With ideas and insights from 30 thought leaders in health care social media, this book will help you make the case for using social media in your organization.
In addition to working with Meredith Gould on the overall project, I contributed an essay for the Strategy section. To give you a taste of what’s in the book, here is my essay:
Seven Thoughts on Social Media Strategy
Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media
- Start from business priorities and goals. Social media isn’t something to do for its own sake or because the tools are shiny and new. Think about what you were hired to do or needs you see in your organization and how these tools can help. In my case, social tools supported our media relations, my first job at Mayo Clinic.
- Become personally familiar with the tools. Develop deep familiarity with basic social media platforms by using them. Set up personal accounts before creating any for your employer to help you see how to best apply them for work.
- Start by watching and listening. Listen to what others say about your organization. Watch how others use the tools.
- Ask for help. People in online communities are generally welcoming of new members, particularly those who approach with a sense of humility.
- Pay attention to community norms. If you watch and listen and approach online connections with humility, it’s unlikely you’ll become “that guy.” Don’t act in ways wildly outside community norms for a community if you want to become a trusted member.
- Don’t be snowed by the purists. My friend Andy Sernovitz talks about “bloggers who blog about blogging,” for whom any deviation from what they consider the “right” way to engage online is viewed with contempt. They aren’t your audience. Don’t let purists’ opinions keep you from doing what’s right for your situation and organization.
- Planning is more important than plans. Think about priorities and why you’re engaging in social media, but keep the planning horizon short. Plan early. Plan often. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. The content of any plan isn’t as important as the thought process that informed its development. Our Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media works on a 100-day planning cycle. Don’t be afraid of having a similarly short planning cycle.
Strategy in social media isn’t appreciably different from other types of business strategy. You’ll address the same questions: What resources do I have? What tools are available? What could I accomplish with additional resources?
Still, here’s one key way social media business strategy is different:
Altruism pays. Social tools have dramatically reduced the cost of sharing knowledge, and the resulting relationships can be much more valuable than the knowledge itself. Keep costs low and you’ll be amazed at the benefits you’ll realize from sharing freely.