Tag Archives: Twitter

Mayo Clinic Success Stories: Why social media? | presentation by @KathyBarbour at @prsaspokane #hcsm

Kathy Barbour, APR, the communications manager at the Mayo Clinic spoke at a Spokane PRSA workshop on Sept. 8, 2011. She shared some of their success stories and how they are integrating social media into their communication strategies. The following are my raw notes from her presentation.

Their history and heritage are still a vital part of who they are. It’s included in their speeches, emails, facilities, conversations, etc. They celebrate heritage days annually.

Mayo Clinic is an integrated healthcare provider. They have electronic medical records that are shared between their physicians, sites, etc.

They’ve never done any national advertising. Instead they rely on word-of-mouth, stories in the media, physician recommendations, followed by advertising, Internet and others.

When they do advertise, they use patient stories and employee profiles to continue the “word-of-mouth” strategy. Their campaign is called “My Answer.”

Their primary value: the needs of the patient come first. Focus on how each employee reflects mission and value.

Posters showing their satisfaction scores are posted on their campuses.

They include a photo in their employee e-newsletter every week. Instead of just the written employee message, they now record their leadership on video and broadcast it.

The strategic plan campaign is called The Mayo Effect. They created a YouTube style video (below) that communicates the messages they had in their written version, but in a visually stimulating way.

They created an opt-in every-other-daily email communication that seems to be popular. About 4,000 out of 56,000 employees have signed up for it.

The Cowans video (below) was captured by a visitor at one of their hospitals and posted it to YouTube. When they heard about it, they tracked it down and cross-promoted it.

They post their social media policies for the public to see. And their staff can access Facebook, Twitter, etc. at work. Fortunately, they haven’t had to fire anyone for social media issues.

6 Tenets of Social Media

I first joined Twitter on April 18, 2008. Yes, I was not an early adopter. In fact, I only joined because I was curious about this “new” tool that some of my fellow colleagues were talking about. As for the other social networking sites, I had already given up on MySpace, I was very active on Facebook, didn’t have my own blog (unless you count my old LiverJournal account which hadn’t been used for years). So I will admit that Twitter actually re-energized my participation in social media.

And here I am, almost three years and three months later, with 13,337 tweets, 1,159 followers and 1,541 people I follow on my personal Twitter account. My “professional” account has only 469 followers; I follow 647 people and have tweeted 845 times (846 when this post is published). But enough of that small glimpse in time, let’s take a look at the fruits of my labor over the past several years: 6 Tenets of Social Media.

These tenets are grounded in professional experience of developing social media strategies and managing the accounts for institutions of higher learning, non-profit organizations, medical/healthcare organizations and a financial services industry. They are the result of the lessons learned there, as well as the knowledge gleaned from countless blogs, email newsletters, thought leaders, workshops, webinars, conferences, discussions and even academic research.

I invite your feedback and comments. These tenets are just that–guidelines–not laws to obey, but principles to use when making your decisions, formulating your strategy and implementing your tactics. They may change over time, as the technology changes, as the paradigm of social media changes, and as human behavior continues to evolve. But for now, I believe them to be fairly relevant…and hopefully, useful.

1. Be Human
  • Be conversational and friendly.
  • Be responsible; own up to your mistakes.
  • Develop a persona; have a consistent voice if possible.
  • Ask questions and engage your followers.
  • Be playful, but professional, matching your brand’s communication style.
  • Be transparent; don’t lie.
  • Give credit where credit is due.
  • Be unique.
2. Be Diligent
  • Explore the mediums; one may work better than another.
  • Get to know your audience.
  • Set goals and measure results.
  • Align social strategy with marketing and business objectives.
  • Know your tools and services.
  • Stay current on trends.
  • Have a plan for handling negative comments or crisis situations.
3. Be Relevant
  • Stay on topic.
  • Speak (and listen) to your followers.
  • Avoid automation.
  • Use appropriate conventions.
  • Don’t just regurgitate; add value.
  • Measure successes and failures.
  • Stick to your area of expertise.
  • Be a (thought) leader.
4. Be Thoughtful
  • Thank people.
  • Mention others.
  • Promote discourse.
  • Be creative and create excitement.
  • Be smart.
5. Be Timely
  • Respond quickly and accurately.
  • If acknowledging, less than an hour.
  • If the response requires research, acknowledge, then provide the full answer within one business day.
  • Post when appropriate.
  • Build buzz.
6. Be Respectful
  • Moderate the community with fairness.
  • Do not spam or inundate your followers.
  • Acknowledge positive and negative feedback.
  • Share opinions, but avoid speculation.
  • Respect privacy.
  • Disagree respectfully.
  • Think twice before posting.
Special thanks to my mentor and supervisor, Barb Richey for providing initial feedback. And of course, my sincere gratitude for further feedback and input from my social media mentor, Carri Bugbee.