Just What the Doctor Ordered?
A recent article in Health Care Communication raised a critical point about how far too many organizations think of social media as a checklist instead of a tool.
As organizations race to “engage” their audiences, they often overlook important infrastructural details and fail to ask themselves key questions:
- What are we really trying to achieve through social media?
- Are the other pieces in place? Specifically, is the website enabled for sharing?
- Who are we trying to reach and what platform is the most effective way to reach them?
- Who is going to manage and maintain our new initiatives?
Successfully incorporating social platforms into a media campaign is far more involved than simply tacking on a blog, Twitter account or Facebook page. A strategy must be devised in which each element assumes its proper place and each tool has its proper use.
For example, a patient might visit the doctor guessing at what your condition might be and what treatment should be administered, but it’s the job of the doctor to counter with a critical assessment and diagnosis before dispensing or recommending the proper remedy.
As communications professionals, we help our clients by doing the same. We know that choosing the wrong remedies or administering them improperly will harm a good campaign. It’s our duty as communicators to listen to our clients’ wants and needs, but it is also our charge to challenge our clients’ preconceived ideas when necessary.
When advising on a media strategy – whether for an overarching campaign or a small sub-offering – we can add tremendous value by considering all aspects of the plan within the context of the whole organization. We can start by asking these five questions:
- What are goals of the organization?
- How will this initiative and the plan serve to further its goals?
- Who is and will be responsible for maintaining the organization’s presence both on and offline?
- What tools make the most sense, given the goals, the initiative, and the capabilities of the organization?
- Finally, how does the communications plan put each tool to its best use?
By weaving these learnings into our recommendations and having a solid understanding of all channels available and how they fit together, we can make a great campaign even better.