The next generation of healthcare social content

If you’re like me, you’re tired of hearing about the entire social media mess– Twitter, Twanger, Facebook, Nosebook, StumbleUpon, FallDown, ClimbUp, YouTube, Tubular Bells, Foursquare, FiveSquare, Friends on a Stick, Digg, Dig-Dugg,  PasstheHat, you name it. 

I’m not going to deny that many of these channels (the ones I didn’t make up to be silly, of course) have some uses. I’ve been known to follow a Twitter conversation via hash tags, enjoy a few threaded conversations on Facebook, connected with some very useful businsess contacts on Linked in and promoted many a blog item on StumbleUpon and Digg. These are good, useful  activities which can sometimes offer real communications value.

But what’s the point of using any of them if all your organization does is pump out the least valuable information it has to offer? Neigborhood events. Cutesy press releases.  Links to clinical research done by your faculty (which is, of course, valuable, but hardly unique to your stream if a true discovery is involved.)  As I noted previously in an item on useless Twitter feeds, social media doesn’t matter if the society you want isn’t listening.

So, enter the notion of “social content,”  information written by pros — sometimes professional journalists in your field — who mine your organization for information that really matters and help present it in ways that build your healthcare organization’s brand. 

Facebook pages, for example, can become places for serious dialogues about health issues, hosted by your organization but run by people who are focused on real substance.  Social content involves real research, study and preparation, like the research and editorial efforts you see turned out by Modern Healthcare or Press Ganey.

Rather than issuing happy-talk nonsense statements, healthcare leaders can develop social content that shares their key concerns and team messages using the social media infrastructure.  These messages don’t involve some sort of tricky, gadgety approach to using social media channels;  they’re just stronger, clearer and far less shallow than what you might have done in the past.

The bottom line?  Creating social content isn’t a Big New Thing — it’s just a method of squeezing far more value into a smaller space and coordinating it with what you say elsewhere.  It’s confident , it promotes your mission, and it’s too damned important to ignore.

If we can help you begin a social content audit — to find out what kind of great content you’ve already got — just let me know.

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.


  • Agree completely! The quickest way to kill a bad product or service is good marketing.

    The surest way to drive this medium into the background noise of ‘fire-hose irrelevance’ is recurrent, hollow happy-talk, and endless me too ‘service du jour’ promotion – as if social media is merely a new and improved digital river for PR releases.

    Get engaged. Create meaning. Solve problems. Serve your community(ies).

  • Gregg, many thanks for the shout-out. Sounds like we share the same philosophy. Perhaps we should have (gasp) a live chat at some point!

  • Love this idea! I call it “liberating the expertise” – health orgs have so much knowledge but you can only get it when you are sick.

    Your 3rd paragraph really resonates.

    Great post!

  • Nick:

    Thanks for speaking up — and for the blog love. 🙂 Seriously, it’s a relief to know that others share my desire to set healthcare information free!


  • I’ll also join your fan club. But then I’m a writers who believe that if more health care organizations will hire us to help, we can add true value to the services they offer.

    I just read that the CDC has estimated that 9 out of 10 Americans do not understand the medical jargon used in most health care communications. They’ve suggested using a software program that highlights jargon so it can be translated into language anyone with a 4th grade education can understand. Isn’t that like using Google’s translator to translate an important document from one language into another? There’s no guarantee that the information itself is valuable or relevant to the questions and concerns of a particular audience.

  • Lisa, first, thanks for the props. And thanks for joining my little crusade in which I’m fighting for “knowledge transparency” within healthcare organizations. Meanwhile, as to patient literacy, you’re right — it’s terrifying how little patients understand of what they’re told. Even I have trouble following what my doctors say, despite doing a lot of (admittedly amateur) research on conditions that affect me and my family. Definitely a TON more work for the industry to do there. Perhaps we’ll be able to help! I hope so.

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