In Defense of Healthcare Executives Wary of Social Media

It’s 2010. You work for a hospital, clinic, healthcare marketing agency, or an association. You know social media is now a staple of doing business (because it’s 2010).

But: you can’t do much for your organization largely because your executive leadership is wary of social media.

Executives often think differently than others in organizations. It’s what they’re paid to do (well, at least that’s what some boards of directors believe).

So what can people who want to bring their organizations into the 21st Century (because it’s 2010) do?


Business isn’t a dirty word. Dirty business – that’s what’s dirty.

Fact: Healthcare needs to be funded. That doesn’t mean that money is the only motivation for getting things done – in fact, money-as-motivator reaches diminishing marginal returns rather quickly. (Check this out to see what I mean.)

It’s unlikely that you can just tell executives things like this: Social Media is about conversation, engagement, relationships. In fact, if you say things like that, you’ve probably set your chances of persuading C-suite many steps back.

Tread carefully with social media guru talk in C-suite: very few of them have any experience with working with executives in the Enterprise.

Rather, you need to think more like an executive yourself. It’s called empathy – and empathy with senior leadership will get you farther than frustration.

So let’s get executively empathic.


Markets are conversations. But executives don’t view them that way typically.

Still: it’s markets where strategic visions must begin. Specifically, markets include not only where end-consumers are, but also where information-customers are. Identifying all of your information-customers is vital to configuring social media efforts maximally.

So here’s what champions – that’s you – need to articulate for executives and other wary levels of management:

  • Our market(s) need us to __________…__________.
  • We currently use __________…__________ to meet those needs.
  • We measure success by __________…__________.
  • We improve on our processes by __________…__________ every day/week/year (circle one!).

This is just elementary business analysis. It’s something that should be done routinely.

Now, once these questions are clearly laid out, the next step is to see what problems you have left to solve.

Executives need solutions to existing problems. No problem, no solution. Make sense?

So here’s what champions need to explore before making their case to C-suite (in fact, it’s what champions need to do so they know why social media matters):

  • We are not doing __________…__________ for or with our markets.
  • Our current strategy does not include these opportunities because __________.
  • After careful consideration, we believe __________…__________ will enable us to round out our efforts.

If you as champion aren’t able to answer these questions, how do you expect C-suite to listen to you?

Forget social media – nobody needs it.

Think like an executive, act like a strategic ally.

You can get ideas on the value propositions of 21st Century Healthcare communication by attending our upcoming Webinar Healthcare Social Media: Perspectives in Practice. Learn more and sign up here.

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