The Big Brand Theory: Cleveland Clinic Employs News-You-Can-Use to Begin Social Relationships

joan justice
Joan Justice Director of Special Projects, Patient Empowerment Network

Posted on June 11th 2013

The Big Brand Theory: Cleveland Clinic Employs News-You-Can-Use to Begin Social Relationships

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Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit multi-specialty academic medical center with 1400 beds on the main campus and 4450 beds system wide. It is one of the largest and most respected hospitals in the United States.

ImageAmanda Todorovich is the new Social Media Leader at Cleveland Clinic. She is a self-professed social media maven with more than 13 years of marketing/communications experience in a diverse collection of business environments, including hospital/healthcare, start-up online publisher, and corporate consumer PR.

Todorovich was kind enough to give us this exclusive interview about her thoughts on Social Media Marketing for a large, iconic healthcare institution.

How do you find social media marketing to be different in healthcare?

There are several things that make marketing in general different in healthcare. One is the overall mission. We are doing more than selling widgets. Our content can impact people’s lives and those whom they love. We want to provide information that will help them live healthier lives and/or deal with the medical conditions they face. A second significant difference is that healthcare is bought, not sold. We cannot generate demand for our services. Consumers either need healthcare or they don’t. Thus, the decision-making process and the buying cycle a consumer goes through is very different. And most healthcare organizations take the longer view. Social media provides us a way to be a part of a person’s everyday life before they actually need us.

What would you say your approach is to social media marketing?

We view our content as a service to readers/users. We aren’t talking about ourselves very much. We are arming people (no matter where in the world they live) with actionable, evidence-based, highly relevant health, wellness and medical information. By doing so, we are able to convey our “patients first” philosophy and the world-class care we provide.

We also aim for more than a “like” or a retweet. We want the click. To us, the win is sharing health information that our experts provide on our blog, Health Hub.

What novel or interesting ideas have you tried out?

We are basically breaking all the “rules” on Facebook. We post six times a day, and nearly every single post has a very polished, branded image with it. See this recent presentation from our senior director, Scott Linabarger, here. We also focus intensely on providing a service to our users, rather than ourselves. That’s very different in our industry.

Example of a Facebook post from Cleveland Clinic: 

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Is there any project, case study or strategy that comes to mind that was especially interesting?

Cleveland Clinic’s Health Hub is an amazing example of how hungry consumers are for health information from expert sources. We launched the blog last spring and, in just one year it has grown to more than 500,000 visits a month. Our blog content is true to our overall social strategy – it doesn’t talk about or aggressively sell our services. Health Hub addresses timely health topics and shares digestible take-aways to readers all over the world.

Health Hub content is what fuels our Facebook posts, and Cleveland Clinic now has over 450,000 Facebook fans. Our success is really due to being helpful and relevant to consumers.

Have you learned any valuable lessons about social media marketing since you have been at Cleveland Clinic?

I think the biggest lesson is that not all the so-called “rules” apply to every brand. It’s really important to stay true to who you are and develop a strategy that serves your customers. Here, it’s all about the patients. Our social channels are our opportunity to tell the story and share information in the ways people are looking for it and in actionable nuggets.

Cleveland Clinic Social Channels:

What advice would you give other social media marketing managers?

Don’t be afraid to stray from what everyone else in your industry is doing. Be different. Stand out. Most importantly, think of your channels and develop your content from the users’ perspectives. What do they want to know? How can you help them via your content? What would they share with their friends? It’s not enough just to have content. Be a resource to them. Make sure what you are providing in their feeds every day is relevant to them. I’d also say that the visual elements of your content are critical. Pictures are powerful and should be used pursued aggressively in content planning.

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The Big Brand Theory is a weekly, exclusive column for Social Media Today that explores the social media strategies of big brands, both B2B and B2C. Look for the next installment next Monday morning. Logos by Jesse Wells.

 

joan justice

Joan Justice

Director of Special Projects, Patient Empowerment Network

Joan Justice is Director of Special Projects at the Patient Empowerment Network, a global non-for-profit organization dedicated to fortifying the health care consumer with the knowledge and tools to feel more confident playing a central role in decisions that affect their health.  Joan has a background in nursing and domestic and international healthcare marketing.  Previously, she was the manager of HealthWorks Collective, the healthcare website in the Social Media Today network.

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Comments

I'm loving this.  I wrote a social media strategy over the weekend for a startup in the health and wellness field and I've just realised that it's like everyone's SM strategy.

For a company that is focussing on connection and holds its purpose higher than its profit, this makes so much sense.

The first thing I thought though is that this level of commitment and quality requires a highly productive and talented SM department.  How many people are required to generate that content?

kind regards

Ross