How to Speak with Hospital Executives About Social Media – Part I

If you’re wringing your hands trying to get C-suite buy-in to adopting social media for your hospital, here is a list (incomplete) of practical steps:

  • Don’t speak about social media – not up at the front of conversations
  • Put yourself in their shoes – go to where they are; don’t try to convince them to come to where you are
  • Take inventory of the communication assets you already have
  • Take inventory of the communications liabilities (or deficits) you have, or believe that you have because of today’s social media world
  • Ask yourself: “How much of this do *I* understand? Am I caught up in social media advocacy because it’s the hot object of conversation today, or because I *know* how to extract value from the use and enframming of these media?”
  • Visualize what behavior change will look like if you get what you ask. That is: do you know what kinds of outcomes the proper use of social media are possible? Do you know how to achieve those outcomes? If you’re not changing behavior – of *some* kind – just what’s the point of doing social media?

In Part II, I’ll get into the actual communication – the approaches to take with even the most conservative executives.

Hint: it’s not always about you convincing executives about your ideas. Sometimes, it’s about you listening to them.

@PhilBaumann – @HealthIsSocial – Newsletter


6 Replies to “How to Speak with Hospital Executives About Social Media – Part I”

  1. Good advice! thanks. This is a huge challenge for us in hospitals and with other healthcare related clients as well. The can’t seem to get past the word “social.” but you’re right, it can’t be force fed, they know their internal culture and their audience. right now, social media is in the “too hard to get to pile” — faced with so many other critical factors and unknowns, it seems frivolous to many, or a nice to do.

    1. Right. The approaches need to be holistic – execs need tie-ins to existing structures and processes. They don’t need to know everything all at once, but they need clear and testable ideas of what’s possible. I think of it as building a pyramid – build stable, safe layers and keep building until the view from the top gets clearer and clearer.

      All of this is a learning experience for everybody – nobody’s an expert.

      In my next post, I’ll elaborate on these principles.

    2. My take on this:
      I have been trying to convince many pharma companies in India for proper use of HCSM.
      Most of the top executives i talk to are actually quite receptive, but they have expressed very low confidence in their own subordinates taking this forward. And they are not willing to give away the whole project to any third party. We probably need to offer them ‘Orientation Classes’ before outlining any actual Program.

    3. I agree with you – there does need to be training.

      The funny thing is: the social media part is an easy fix compared to addressing the deeper issues of culture and behavior change, especially within the enterprise.

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