Nine Ways to Get Your Cardiovascular Marketing Facebook Page Ready For Timeline

March 5, 2012

Timeline for Facebook brand pages is here.

Some brands have already switched and by the end of March all brand pages will be moved to the new Timeline layout. Are you ready?

Timeline on personal Facebook pages has certainly received mixed reviews. Personally, I like it, and I feel like most of the naysayers are just reacting to the challenge of change. From a visual standpoint, Timeline offers a lot of branding opportunities that are far superior to the traditional page.

Regardless of when your brand page makes the shift, I think this post from B2C Community offers some great tips to start the preparation process.

1. Get the Timeline for your personal profile if you haven’t done it yet. Familiarizing yourself with how it works will shorten the learning curve for your business page.

 2. Start planning – Think about elements from your current page that should migrate to the new look. Use it as an opportunity to reinforce your brand message.

3. Think visually – A big difference between the Timeline and the old wall interface is the emphasis on images. The main piece of “real estate” is the large cover photo at the top, but images are featured throughout. You might need to augment your Timeline with some new photos. Again, make sure the images are consistent with your brand image and that they reinforce marcom campaign efforts.

4. Think historically –Timeline essentially functions as an online scrapbook, and it makes it easy to tell a historical story. For an organization that has been around for awhile, it offers an interesting opportunity to capitalize on your history. If you have old photos you might want to include, start gathering and scanning them now.

5. Think live media –If you’re not already using video, the Timeline transition would be a great time to try it. Anything you can do to make your page more active and dynamic will lead to more engagement.

6. Content is still king – Don’t think the plethora of Timeline’s images can make up for weak content. Continue to post interesting articles, blog entries, health tips and more. Think of your page as a clearinghouse for everything your audience needs to know about cardiovascular health.

7. Expect the unexpected, and be prepared to run on the fly – It’s impossible to predict exactly how Timeline for businesses will work. Some are predicting that third-party apps, which currently reside on custom tabs on the left hand side will end up in boxes near the top, just like on our personal profiles. If that’s the case, this opens up new opportunities for exposure. At this point, we also don’t know if the Timeline layout will be conducive to custom landing pages.

8. Explore – Look around to see how other brands are using the Timeline, and get ideas about what might work for you.

9. Avoid hand wringing – Don’t stress about Timeline, and don’t avoid it. Switch over as soon as you can. Early adoption will lend credibility to your brand’s savvy. Coming off as a Facebook laggard sure seems inconsistent with being a strong, innovative cardiovascular brand.


Five Ways Cardiovascular Marketers Can Use Pinterest

January 17, 2012

The surprise social networking success of 2011 may be exactly what your brand needs to boost engagement in 2012.

Pinterest is hot. It came out of virtual obscurity last year to become one of the top ten social networks, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

Pinterest is an image-based platform that focuses on lifestyle issues. It almost looks like an upscale women’s magazine. The basic premise is this: users create and name boards about any subject they like (Places I’d Like to Visit, Healthy Meals, Hobbies, etc.). People post (“pin”) relevant photos and articles on the boards and follow one another based on interests. Photos are displayed in a pin board-type feed that is simple, yet visually appealing.

Today, the audience is heavily female, and there are many topics that are relevant to cardiovascular marketing: diet, exercise, almost every aspect of health and even a Go Red For Women board.

So, how can you take advantage of this community? This article from Mashable offers five ideas.

1. Host Contests

Contests can range from creating the “Best Board” to earning the most Repins. Users could post photos of their best heart healthy meals, best ideas for exercise motivation, or photos of themselves in a red dress to support heart health and awareness. Similar to photo contests on Facebook or Twitter, Pinterest offers a way to build visual between your brand and target audience.

2. Conduct Social Media Focus Groups

You can use boards to get reactions to new developments in your heart and vascular institute. For example, are you adding items to your cafeteria menu, redecorating a waiting room or adding a community workout facility? Because of Pinterest’s commenting ability, it’s an ideal platform on which to introduce new ideas and gather firsthand opinions. As users Repin a photo, you can gather more intelligence, and ultimately decide whether you should move forward with an idea.

3. Showcase Brand Personality

Pinterest’s photos offer unlimited possibilities to showcase your brand’s personality. For instance, you could have a Pinterest Board of photos that features your philanthropic outreach and community events. You can post past and present photos that showcase new construction, past milestones, employee honors, etc. Each Pin allows for a description and a link to the original story. Therefore, you can quickly connect an audience with stories, mission and future plans, all via photo Pin.

4. Display Various Sectors of Your Organization

Larger operations can use Pinterest to nicely organize areas of focus and relay them to the public. For instance, you might host several individually themed boards. One board might showcase physician and staff interests, while a specialty board displays ideas related to specific procedures or areas or expertise. Another board might show photos of employees in action.

5. Showcase Communication Between Brands and Customers

Using Pinterest, brands can create Pins and boards that feature customer feedback and product interpretations, and then showcase them for entire audiences. Customers can further relate to products and services, and brands have a way to thank their supporters by integrating them into their communities. For example, grateful patient stories could be featured or patients who want to share stories of how they lost weight, got in shape, etc. could be featured.  Patients and prospective patients could be inspired to return, and you are creating content that keeps fans constantly involved.

It seems that Pinterest holds immense potential to interact with various audiences. Using the power of image, brands can create buzz around products and services, display more in-depth aspects of their businesses, and ultimately create more personal and visually pleasing social experiences for their audiences.


Seven Tips for Using Twitter Chats in Your Cardiovascular Marketing

June 27, 2011

Twitter chats can be a great way to engage your target audience.

Essentially, Twitter chats attract people who are interested in a particular topic. Cardiovascular issues certainly qualify as topics that lend themselves to robust discussion.

Basically, a group will organize around a specific hashtag, and people then follow a single thread of conversation on Twitter.  It’s an easy, low-cost way to get involved in conversation with patients and even physicians.

Like any marketing strategy, though, starting a successful Twitter chat requires deliberate planning.  I found a great post from Megan Berry, a marketing manager for Klout, that lists these seven tips for success.

1.    Be Clear About Your Goals Going Into the Chat

Twitter chats can position your organization as a thought leader and grow brand awareness.  Make sure you talk about how you will measure success before starting your chat. Consider metrics such as the number of people participating, mentions of your brand, sentiment of mentions, and lead generation.

2.    Choose a Topic People Care About

 How do you decide if a topic will be of interest? People should already be discussing it in other arenas.

“It’s better to build a twitter chat around a topic of interest that’s directly related to your brand,” says David Spinks, creator of #u30pro, a Twitter chat for young professionals. “In the end, the participants will still relate the chat back to your brand because you’re the one organizing it.

Heart health, and all of its sub-topics, e.g., prevention, treatment and lifestyle considerations, definitely qualifies in my opinion.

3.    Be Authentic

Choose a topic that makes sense for you. Don’t do it just because you think you’re supposed to. Do it if you are genuinely looking for a way to engage and communicate with a community. Often, chats start out slowly and build.  Keep engaging, and the right people and community should find you.

4.    Choose a Schedule and Be Consistent

Most Twitter chats occur once a week for an hour, but if you’re just starting out, you may consider a bi-weekly or monthly chat instead, as it’s easier to add sessions than to try and cut back.  Good time slots include over the lunch hour or in the evening around 7 or 8 p.m.  Here’s a good example of a chat I sometimes participate in on the topic of healthcare social media:  #hcsm at 8p.m. CST on Sunday nights.

5.    Plan, But Stay Flexible

Most Twitter chats have a topical focus each week. The goal is to facilitate the conversation without getting in the way or letting it get out of hand (easier said than done).  Make sure the person running the chat is someone who can speak for your organization.

6.    Bring In Thought Leaders

Don’t be afraid to get others involved, whether you need a partner to develop and plan the chat, or great guest “speakers.” Twitter chats are successful because of the people in them. Do what you can to get great people involved, especially when you’re just starting.

7.    Thank People Who Participate

If people take the time to engage with your chat, take a moment to thank them individually or in the chat itself.  Acknowledging people gives them more incentive to spread the word, which will help you grow your community.

I thought these were helpful tips.  If you are already conducting Twitter chats, please share your experiences.  Also, please recommend any Twitter chats you know about that might be relevant for other readers.


Can Your Cardiovascular Marketing Program Save Lives Through Social Media?

May 6, 2011

In addition to being a great tool for sharing information, Twitter can truly impact patient care.

One of the most rewarding experiences in my career involved a situation in which a woman sought quick treatment at a client’s hospital after hearing our radio spot for its stroke center.  We tell that story with pride, using it as a proof point that the much-maligned advertising industry can actually make life better.

I imagine the folks at Emory Healthcare are swelling with a similar pride these days.  According to a great case study on its website, Twitter recently played a vital role in expediting patient care.

Here are some excerpts:

At 11:06 am on April 25, we received a tweet from Matthew Browning, who was playing a critical role in helping his wife and family in getting through a crisis situation. The tweet read as follows, “@emoryhealthcare NEED HELP NOW!! Grandma w/ RUPTURED AORTA needs Card Surgeon/OR ASAP, STAT! Can you accept LifeFlight NOW!!?”

What would you do if you received a tweet like that?  Even if your staff is usually responsive to social media posts, could you mobilize to formulate the type of immediate response this message requires?

At Emory, they immediately threw out their process flowcharts and shifted into high gear, contacting a variety of departments as quickly as possible.

Within minutes, we tweeted back to Matthew: “@MatthewBrowning Matthew, please either call 911 or have your grandma’s doctor call our transfer service to get immediate help: 404-686-8334.”

They gave Matthew critical information he could act on within Twitter’s 140-character limit.

 Four minutes later, at 11:21 am, Matthew responded, “@emoryhealthcare We are doing that! She is in small South Georgia hosp right now- but needs MAJOR help- We are calling, thanks!”

We responded: “@MatthewBrowning keep us posted & please let us know if there is anything else we can do to help. We’re keeping you both in our thoughts.”

Matthew sent a tweet one minute later, “@hospitalpolicygrp @emoryhealthcare Thank you for your help!”

Followed by “@emoryhealthcare Look for STAT Transfer from South Georgia, accept her if able and we’ll see you soon. Thanks!”

16 minutes later, at 11:41 am Matthew’s wife’s grandmother was on a lifeflight to Emory. “@emoryhealthcare Thank you for accepting her- She is on the LifeFlight to you now- Bless you all and Thank you!!”

What an intense exchange! This is the best example I’ve seen of harnessing the power of social media to affect patient treatment.   With a diagnosis of a ruptured aorta or something similar, minutes can literally make a difference.

Clearly Matthew is a savvy health care consumer.  He is a registered nurse and founder of Your Nurse is On, a health care staffing application.  Apparently, in this situation, he was using Twitter, email and LinkedIn simultaneously within his broad circle of health care contacts.  Using social media technology, he was able to make more contacts in minutes than anyone could in hours with traditional technologies.

At the same time, phone calls were being made from the hospital trying to find a hospital to transfer his wife’s grandmother to.  “We got lots of nos,” Matthew said.

Thankfully, when he reached out to Emory Healthcare, its team had the ability and capacity to help. “We group-sourced something to people with a common interest and achieved a medical miracle,” Matthew said.

I love this story.  It represents all of the best reasons to work in healthcare marketing and communications.  I have to admit it also scares me a little.

Stories like this get a lot of press.  Patients and their families get desperate in urgent situations.  And more and more mainstream consumers are becoming just as savvy as Matthew Browning.  While this case turned out well, similar situations also have the potential for disaster if the hospital receiving the tweets doesn’t have a plan in place to act quickly.

I’m encouraging our clients to use this case as a wake-up call.  Now is a good time to examine your processes and policies and to formulate an “emergency” social media plan if necessary.  I encourage you to read the complete two-part case history from Emory Healthcare as well:



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