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Social Media Tips for #HIMSS16 – More Than Just Tweets

Posted on February 12, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The massive HIMSS 2016 Annual Conference is just around the corner and I’ll be participating in it in a big way like usual. I already posted about the 7th Annual New Media Meetup at HIMSS and my session with Shahid Shah on “Marketing to Customers in an Uncertain Healthcare IT Marketplace“. Would love to see any and all of you at those events. I was also blessed to be selected as a HIMSS 2016 Social Media Ambassador (Maybe I should have said #HIMSS16 instead of HIMSS 2016). It’s an amazing group of people and so I feel so thankful to be in such great company.

It’s been fun to watch the evolution of social media at HIMSS. I’m sure one day my kids will look back and say “weren’t you one of the pioneers that use to use that old platform called Twitter which we read about in our history books?” I’ll be happy to say Yes!

Next week Shahid and I are doing a webinar on “Why Don’t People Care About What You’re Selling at HIMSS?” and this is one piece of a slide we’ve been preparing for that webinar:

HIMSS Social Media Growth

That’s incredible growth. In fact, I just did a quick query and there have already been 35k tweets to the #HIMSS16 hashtag and we’re still over 2 weeks away from the event. The explosion of social media sharing that happens during the 5 days of the event hasn’t even started. That’s some extraordinary growth, but that also means there’s a lot more noise.

While Twitter is a fantastic tool, there’s much more to social media than just Twitter. In fact, because Twitter has become so popular (see graphic above), your investment in other social media platforms are likely as important as your investment in Twitter. Let me cover some other social media avenues you might consider using before, during, and after HIMSS.

Side Note: Before I cover the non-Twitter social media options you might consider, I want to mention that Twitter is still extremely powerful. My mention of other social platforms isn’t to diminish the power of Twitter, but instead to expand the scope from one powerful tool to many powerful tools. Plus, I made a bunch of HIMSS Twitter tips and tricks last year and those still apply.

LinkedIn – In many ways, LinkedIn is even more powerful to Twitter. This is particularly true in the business world. I’m still surprised how many people think that LinkedIn is still their online resume. It is that, but it’s so much more. There are hundreds of amazing groups (see the Healthcare Scene group) on LinkedIn that cover every topic imaginable. Join them and participate in the discussions. You’ll be amazed at the connections you make. No doubt many of the people in those groups will also be at HIMSS. Find them. Connect with them and then meetup in person at HIMSS. That’s a powerful use of social media.

Blogging – While a tweet is easy to create, a blog post has a much longer lasting impact. Because of all the activity around HIMSS, a really well done blog post can more easily “go viral” during HIMSS. I’ve seen well done blog posts make the rounds in a fantastically powerful way thanks to the #HIMSS16 hashtag. Those blog posts are often what people are talking about over drinks or in booths at HIMSS. If you don’t have your own blog, try LinkedIn’s blog or medium or even leverage Healthcare Scene’s blogs.

Facebook – People often forget that Facebook can be a powerful tool for yourself or your business. Everyone is on Facebook (give or take a few million), and there’s no better way to connect with someone than doing it both personally and professionally. Plus, there are Facebook groups where like minded people are having work conversations (Here’s the Healthcare Scene Facebook group) or sharing and consuming content. Join those conversations and you’ll be surprised how quickly you can connect to and learn from amazing people.

Periscope – Watch for Periscope to have a break out year at HIMSS this year. I’m not a huge fan of Periscope for a lot of things in healthcare IT, but live events is the perfect place for Periscope. I’ll be searching through Periscope to find who is broadcasting periscopes from HIMSS16 so I can see some of the interesting things I missed. Plus, I’ll likely be doing some periscopes from HIMSS16 myself, so watch for those.

HIMSS Mobile App – I’ll admit that this is a new one for me. I just downloaded the HIMSS Mobile App and I’m excited to see how well it works. While many people think it’s a way to find sessions, maps, etc, the mobile app is much more powerful as a way to connect with people. Unlike Twitter, the mobile app won’t likely have all the noise that exists on Twitter because you can’t automate what’s posted to the mobile app as easily as you can Twitter. Take some time to be active and share insights on the mobile app. I think you’ll be surprised at the impact you can have if you do so.

Those are a few suggestions. Let me know any other thoughts or suggestions you have on how to leverage social media before, during and after HIMSS16.

Healthcare IT Companies That Shouldn’t Do Social Media

Posted on April 24, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

As I posted previously, I’m a very big proponent of healthcare IT companies using social media. Plus, as I mention in the column, I think you have to be careful to ensure that the voice of the company is involved in the social media efforts. Otherwise, you’ll lose your authentic voice and your social media efforts will be a fail. The best way to do this is through good training of your staff with smart outsourcing of certain aspects of your social media.

I believe that every healthcare IT and EHR company could benefit from social media, but I don’t think all healthcare IT and EHR companies should do social media. In fact, the company with the wrong culture will see bad results if they start using social media. Here are some issues a company might have that would make them not want to do social media:

Those Who Can’t Commit – If you can’t commit to social media, then don’t start. It’s better to do nothing then to have something laying their half done. For example, a blog should have at least 1 post a week. Anything less and you lose momentum and lose your audience. Twitter should be updated multiple times a week, but more importantly you need to make sure you respond to any relevant @ replies that you receive on Twitter. Don’t underestimate what I call the content beast. No matter how much you think you’re ahead, you’ll be surprised when it needs to get fed again. Be ready to commit to feed it regularly.

Those Overwhelmed by Their Email – This is partially related to the first point, but I think that your ability to manage your email is a good sign of whether you’ll be able to handle social medial or not. Starting into social media ends up adding more and more channels of information to be processed. If you have trouble managing one channel, email, then you’re likely going to feel extremely overwhelmed adding in multiple social media channels. Plus, most of those social media channels leverage email to some extent as well, so it will just make your email abyss even greater.

Those Who Don’t Care About Their Customers – This is a hard one for someone to understand and realize, but a few are self aware enough to realize it. The point is that if you don’t care about your customers to your very core, it will be seen in your communication on social media. I’m sure that most companies will wonder how this is possible because they’re so focused on the customer, but trust me they exist.

Those Who Suck – Sorry I couldn’t think of a better word, but it’s the only one that I think describes these companies. If your company has bad support, a poor sales process, and other related issues you don’t want to be found on social media. Imagine the questions that you’ll get if this is the case and your inability to properly respond to them. It makes for an ugly situation.

Those Who Can’t Take Heat – Some companies can’t take any sort of criticism. Instead of learning from the comments, they get confrontational. Sure, there will be some in social media who may make outlandish statements. Some people can’t resist the urge to start a confrontation. I’m certainly not perfect in this regard, but the best healthcare IT companies are humble in their approach to it. They correct when needed, but appreciate feedback from those who might see the world different than they do. A lot of good can come out of frank social media discussions. It’s not always about being right.

Those Who Drank the Kool-aid and Are Afraid of Those Who Haven’t – I must admit that these people always give me a good laugh. You might know the type of person I’m talking about. They’ve only worked for one company in healthcare IT (or maybe only one company ever) and they’ve been to one too many Ra Ra company meeting where all that they’ve heard is the good side of the story. I actually think social media is great for these people since it will help them to expand their mind. They just shouldn’t be the face of the company social media. I should probably add the other extreme: the long term jaded healthcare IT professional. I actually love these people on Twitter since they provide incredibly valuable insight. Although, you have to be careful having them as the face of the company.

I’m sure we could look at other characteristics that would prevent a company from deciding to participate in social media. I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on this subject. Some stories would be quite interesting as well.

7 Tips for Marketing a Physician Practice Online and Healthcare IT Social Media

Posted on April 5, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I was recently invited by Michelle McNickle of Healthcare Finance News to talk about tips and suggestions for marketing a physician practice to patients. Looking at the article on Healthcare Finance News I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. I think there’s some really good information in the article for those looking to market their practice online. Here are the 7 tips for those who don’t want to read the entire article:

  1. Develop a Social Media Plan
  2. Remember, the Goal is to Connect
  3. Understand Your Community
  4. Take Control of Your Online Presence
  5. Start Your Own Blog
  6. Don’t Be Afraid of Making Mistakes
  7. Find a Good Partner

I’d love to hear what other suggestions people have to market a practice online. Turns out I’m doing lunch with a local Las Vegas company that does this for the physician and dentist markets. I’ll be interested to hear their thoughts. Plus, I have another project which partially touches this space as well and will be a nice extension to Influential Networks. More on that in the future.

Healthcare IT Social Media
At HIMSS 2012, I found I was talking all the time about healthcare IT social media. I was on a Meet the Bloggers Panel, answered questions at the Social Media Genius Bar, participated in the #HITsm chat, hosted the New Media Meetup, etc. While I certainly enjoyed each of these events, I must admit that one of my favorite healthcare IT social media things I did at HIMSS was talking one on one with a company about social media.

It was funny how it happened too. The PR person had setup a meeting for this company to talk about whatever news they had coming out at HIMSS. I can’t remember what news, because when we sat down to chat they said they wanted to tell me about the news and they also wanted to pick my brain about blogging and healthcare social media. We probably should have taken the chat in that order, but we started discussing blogging and an hour or so later time was up.

From this experience I learned a couple important things. First, I have quite a bit of knowledge and skills I can share with healthcare IT companies interested in social media and blogging in particular. I also really enjoyed the one on one format where I was talking with one company about their social media and blogging needs. While you can certainly generalize a lot of points, there’s always some slight variation which helps a company better understand what they should really do.

I’ve actually gotten a number of requests from companies interested in assistance with their company’s social media efforts. I’ll admit that I’ve never felt comfortable with the right way to approach these requests. Can I see value for these companies to do social media? In 99% of cases, yes. Should all of these companies have a social media presence? I’d say in 75% of cases they could and should. What about the other 25% of companies? While I think pretty much all companies could benefit from social media, there’s some share of companies (I put it at 25%) that don’t have the company culture to make it happen. It’s kind of like trying to force an EHR down a 4 physician practice where none of those physicians wants EHR. The same goes for a healthcare IT company that doesn’t want social media.

As I considered all of these things, I wondered how I could help out companies interested in healthcare social media since there’s a big demand for it now. My biggest problem is that I have a hard time seeing outsourced social media working well for most healthcare IT companies. If you’re a billing or ICD-10 company how are you going to find someone who can really be authentic in your social media presence? At the core of good social media is authenticity.

Sure, you can outsource a well designed one off social media campaign, but I think this falls apart for long term social media efforts. Some of the best social media brings out the culture of the company and how can someone outside that culture effectively communicate it? It’s possible, but much harder and can often fall on its face. Plus, this doesn’t even take into account the scam/sham/joke companies out there that use all the buzz words, but do little to benefit the company.

For me, healthcare IT social media is best done by the company. Some ancillary services can compliment what the company is doing, but the voice of your social media should be people in the company. Then, you can use other outside services to amplify that voice.

How then do you “train” your company so that social media is just a part of what the company does? I’ve been kicking this idea around in my head. It seems the best way would be to have an expert come for a day seminar with your company to talk about social media and your company. There would be prep done before the seminar to understand the needs of the company, the current social media footprint and make sure the company is ready to run. It makes no sense for an expert to train a company that’s not interested in running or that isn’t ready to dive into social media. Plus, I’ve been writing an online resource for blogging that I’ve been thinking about adapting for use by healthcare IT companies. It could serve as the “handbook” for the seminar.

What do you think of this idea? Do you think that social media can be outsourced for a healthcare IT company?

My gut feeling is that many healthcare IT companies are lost in the ocean of social media. They need help knowing how to focus their energies. Many see the need to engage in social media and have the desire to be part of it, but aren’t sure what to do and where to start. However, most would be better served to learn how to swim in the social media waters as opposed to buying a ticket on the boat which drops them off back where they started.

10 Tips for Healthcare Hospital Blogging

Posted on December 22, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I think that after 6 years and some ungodly amount of posts later, blogging is just a part of who I am now. So I found this article about 10 Tips for Hospital Blogging quite interesting.

[1] Define your hospitals goals
[2] Know your audience
[3] Be Consistent
[4] Be Persistent
[5] Be Inviting
[6] Be Visible
[7] Take Risks
[8] Ask for Help
[9] Keep Learning
[10] Be True to your Hospital

Definitely an interesting list. I think the first two points are a real challenge and you should be careful worrying too much about your specific goals and your audience when you’re starting to blog. Part of the blogging experience is learning new things that you didn’t expect to learn. Plus, you will learn who your audience is over time. Of course, you can make general goals of wanting to learn about your audience, etc.

I think the rest of the points hit 3 areas that I believe are essential to blogging: consistency/persistence, learning, and authenticity.

The hardest part of blogging is doing it consistently. I call it the content beast for a reason. Not because it’s a bad thing, but because the beast is always hungry. It takes real consistency to always feed it. The beauty is that the internet will reward your persistence in surprising ways.

The internet and blogging is moving so quickly that there’s always something else to learn. Don’t think that you need to know everything to start. Just start doing it and you will learn an amazing amount a long the way. Interesting that consistent persistence matters with learning too.

The best blogs have an authentic voice. I believe the key for this is having someone passionate about your blogging topic. The passion will show through and you will create an authentic connection with those interested in what you’re writing about.

More and more as I look at products, companies, etc I look to see if they have a blog. I find a blog is a great way to get a feel for who and what a company represents. It humanizes the relationship in a really great way.