Using Social Media to Support Heathcare Events – A Women’s College Hospital Case Study
Many of us in the #hcsmca community hold events and integrate social media in the planning and execution. Are we doing a good job? What can we learn from each other? This week guest moderator Craig Thompson, digital specialist at Women’s College Hospital, offers their event as a case study on #hcsmca (with a twist). Craig explains.
By Craig Thompson (@CraigTyyz)
On Monday, October 22, 2012 my colleagues and I at Women’s College Hospital (@WCHospital) presented “The Power Study Forum – a discussion about cutting-edge issues in women’s health”. This forum featured Women’s College Research Institute scientists who contributed to the POWER Study. This was our first event where social media played a role in both raising awareness and execution.
The following is brief description of the strategy behind our digital communications and social media planning.
Goals – What we hoped to achieve.
Put bums in seats (80 registrations), raise awareness of the POWER Study and the profile of the associated Women’s College Research Institute scientists, and demonstrate the impact digital and social media can have on extending the hospital’s reach and influence in the health care community.
Audience – Who we were hoping to attract.
Researchers, health care professionals, government policy makers
Awareness and Engagement Strategy
This is the process that we thought would create awareness, persuade people to attend and leverage the content.
- Week -3: Event Awareness/Registration
- Week -2: Speaker Profiling/Registration
- Week -1: Audience Enticement/Livecast Options
- Week 0: Audience Engagement/Livecast
- Week +1: Event Resources/Links/Satisfaction Survey
- Week +2: The POWER Study Forum Deconstructed and Disseminated
- Week +3: Analytics/Debrief
Tactics – The digital communications and social media tools we made use of.
- Print Collateral
- Social Media
- Event Management Software
Successes To Date – What we thought went well.
- Putting bums in seats – We surpassed our goal of 80 registrations (103 actual registrations) with an estimated attendance of 120.
- Introducing the practical applications of social media – Planted the idea that social media is a practical tool that scientists and researchers could use in their work. By the end of the session, many were very animated about the possibilities.
- Debriefing with the transcript – Having a twitter transcript will help identify which points/topics resonated with the audience and allow for better planning in the future.
- Pushing our success upwards – Communicating to senior management the success of social media at creating awareness and delivering content will help pave the way for future initiatives.
- Debunking myth that social media is for kids – Demonstrated that social media is an integral part of healthcare communications and the more we do with it the better the results.
Lessons Learned – What we would have done differently.
- Make no assumptions about social media literacy – Assuming that your audience and/or your panel are familiar with or understand social media is a mistake. Take the time to explain how social media is supporting the event and provide them with speaking notes.
- Social media friendly promotion – Using a PDF of the poster as the destination page for tweets, emails and links does not allow for sharing, viewing on mobile devices or analysis. A mobile-enabled microsite with would have worked better.
- Hashtag registration – We were late registering the hashtag with the Symplur healthcare hashtag project. This should have been done well in advance of the event. As well, the hashtag should have been promoted on the poster.
- WiFi and social media access – Currently the hospital does not allow access to social media site via the WiFi network. Guest bloggers and tweeters had to rely on their cell phones for network access. Better to have provided Ethernet connections or create a dedicated hotspot for the event.
On Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 1PM ET, we’ll explore with the #hcsmca community how social media can successfully engage your audience (staff, general public, patients, physicians, etc.) not only to raise awareness but also to deliver a satisfying virtual experience. During the one-hour tweet chat we will be live polling #hcsmca participants to rate the various tactics.
- Topic 1: What digital and social media tactics work best at promoting health care events?
- Topic 2: How can digital and social media enhance educational events and extend their reach?