Last week, I was reading an OPEN MINDS Circle briefing written by my colleague Jim Jenkins, Social Media For Fundraising? all members, and I realized something – when I talk to provider organizations about social media, most of the conversation centers around Twitter and Facebook. But, there are several additional social media tools available that are drawing increased attention:
Instagram – This free photo-sharing application for iPhone and Android devices started in 2010, and was later acquired by Facebook. Instagram has 100 million monthly active users. Using this platform, your organization can connect with fans and followers by sharing meaningful content, such as images of your facility, events promotion, and health care professionals. Use hashtags to categorize all of your images (i.e. CompanyName, #2013NameFundraiser, #fostercare, #mentalhealth). However, like other social media, it pays to follow your organization’s policies and get signed releases when using client images. (For an example, see Princeton HealthCare System’s Instagram Feed.)
Pinterest – This is another visual platform that can help organizations communicate their mission, which according to Shareaholic, beats Twitter, StumbleUpon, Bing, and Google in referral traffic. You can use a description to link images back to a landing page on your site. Also, Pinterest has just launched Pinterest Web Analytics, which will allow businesses to see how many visitors the content-sharing service is referring to their sites (for an example, see Dayton Children’s Medical Center Pinterest Board).
Foursquare – This is a geo-locator application that helps potential customers find a location when organization’s “claim” their facility. Although this application is not yet popular among provider organizations, it is important to explore Foursquare because it can be linked to Facebook and Twitter, and allows consumers to comment on their experiences at your facility – good and bad (for an example, see Bristol Regional Medical Center).
Before you begin using social media to promote your organization, start with a “test drive” – Watch how other organizations are using it; plan content strategy; and hire staff positions that are dedicated to using and managing social media. Remember, health information is now the third most popular online activity for all internet users ages 18 and above (see The Generations 2010 report) – adaptable organizations will embrace all the options for communicating with consumers online.
For another free resource, see: Have Consumers Found You Online Yet? all members