Untapped Opportunity or Third Rail? Mastering the Social Healthcare Experience

Moderator Andrew Eklund, founder and CEO, Ciceron

Katryn Gene, director of client services, Situation
Gary Kibel, partner, Davis & Gilbert LLP
Susan Walkman, CMO, Meals on Wheels

Andrew: We’re in a mature market with social. In early ’90s, AOL was my start. 2006-07 Facebook takes over world. Find ourselves at the precipice or nexus point of how we use networks to build brands. 

Susan: We went from using social for one or two purposes to how it blew up into one of the major things we do. Our version of March Madness, we had just sat through webinar on crisis management. Laughed to think about having a strategy if Trump attacks company. We were sleepy about it. Then new budget threatened to cut funding for Meals on Wheels. Out of nowhere, our phones ringing off hooks. Turned half organization into a PR response team. Really needed to up our game, take control of what was going on. Became a few weeks of long hours. Trial by fire.

Katryn: Rules of engagement helped us handle the Meals on Wheels crisis. Asking who are you always, sometimes and never on social. How are you going to interact, with whom, ignore? Tweeting for three days straight. Burst of attention, what to do with it. Expanding social media strategy. Social is at center point. 

Andrew: Gary, clients who have experienced something like this. Name where snakes, alligators are? 

Gary: This was more of a political PR issue. But with potential legal exposure, first response is to go on social media, say what’s happening. Benefit to be forthright but if you’re admitting maybe you had a problem, you want to speak with your counsel and what marketing wants you to say. In general, lot of regulation in healthcare. Say you have product authorized by FDA to treat symptom A. But you can’t talk about symptom B, you post on social, user says I took drug, it took care of issue B. You don’t want to click Like on that. Very careful. 

Andrew: Are you ever getting on the bat phone, responding quickly? Certain level of risk that’s available.

Gary: War room, legal is involved in that. What are rules of engagement? We can’t run every statement run by counsel. What are general rules. 

Andrew: Susan, did social become more important?

Susan: Before that happened, we couldn’t come up with enough content to feed our social channels. Now, we are fighting off departments. Everybody has seen different ways to use it. You can’t segment your audiences. We were able to deal with threat. We pulled together information to create advocacy campaign that generated a response to 99% of congress people. Largely because we fought it so hard. We’re now sophisticated enough to prioritize our messages to social media. 

Andrew: How do you in general resist temptation to have to respond to every negative comment?

Katryn: Followers denounce comments. In case of boss seeing tweet, hoping you’ve had conversation with them to ignore trolls. Ask them why they want it posted, response. Most of the time, we don’t have to respond. 

Gary: Is it a positive or negative statement. Can trigger legal complication. The reverse, adverse event reporting. If a consumer gives you notice that they had adverse effect, you have to tell the FDA. 

Susan: We are fortunate that we don’t get a lot of negative but if we do, it’s about the meals. If we see them, we’ll pass along to local program if there is a real issue. You can continue relationships on social. 

Andrew: How are you discovering your own brand stories through insights in social communities?

Susan: We do at times. Our engagement is never, it’s always part of a multidimensional look. Has to be on brand. Brand voice. Consistent. Everything we do focuses on “it’s more than a meal.” It’s the person coming to the door, social interaction. We get a lot of content from local members. We work with them to get content. 

Andrew: Playbook what brand needs to do on compliance. Cellphone video of client’s smile on face, socialization. What do they need to do to potentially use that story?

Gary: When we say “ad,” when you’re reposting content, it’s an ad. Do you have the right to use this information? When you’re on one platform, retweeting in the same platform, that’s okay. Low risk. But more likely if you grab it, put on your website, you need to get a release from individuals. 

Katryn: We’re always tracking sentiment. We see how people respond, what are they coming back with? Develop more content streams. What are people sharing with us. In Meals on Wheels, we’ll go check out groups who are active on social. Let’s amplify them and help tell the story. Hashtag: fans are using certain hashtag, give our stamp of approval on that. Taking something they made, giving credit. Moments can go by fast. Role of community manager not to be diminished. 

Gary: Also, one can invite public to give the stories to you. Easier to manage that.

Andrew: Multigenerational lines in the sand, FB skews older. My kids don’t go on FB, Snapchat’s where they are. How to align internal social literacy?

Susan: Volunteer recruitment has been our major push on social. 55+ and 18 to 25, split audience. We need to be out there because older people have time on their hands to volunteer, but we need younger people to do it. We’re stronger on FB and Twitter, trying to build up on Instagram. 

Video from this session will be available here tomorrow.

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