By Daniel Casciato
Celtic Healthcare recognizes social media as an integral part of their marketing, PR and communications strategy. They know that it is the way people communicate today. Celtic’s mission is Innovative Healthcare at Home—so it is important that they also use innovative ways to communicate and interact with their customers and patients.
For Jodi McKinney, director of corporate communications for Celtic, social media is about sharing. “We open ourselves up to our customers, and we want to get to know them,” she says. “Through this sharing, we build credibility and trust. We want to know what our customers are thinking and what they want. Social media is an effective tool for analyzing collective intelligence and understanding our market position and helps us improve and innovate our services.”
McKinney took some time to respond to a few more questions we had about social media, specifically the role social media plays at Celtic, how it raises awareness for their activities, and how to best leverage social media.
What role does social media play in an organization’s overall marketing and communications strategy?
We have completely revamped our website (http://celtichealthcare.com) this year to be more interactive and engaging for our customers. We regularly blog on general healthcare issues as well as specific blogs on homecare, hospice, and virtual care. Our website includes general information on our services, our company, and employment, as well as videos, a live feed of our Tweets, educational offerings, and other ways to be connected with us.
We have a general Twitter page @CelticHealth that covers a wide variety of subjects from healthcare reform to local healthcare news within our service areas to topics of interest and education for our consumers, but also more specific Twitter pages for those interested in just homecare issues @CelticHomecare, hospice issues @CelticHospice, and virtual care @CelticVirtual.
Our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/CelticHealthcare) is a place where our employees, our patients, and our customers regularly engage and interact. We post many pictures of activities within our company and/or with our customers, patient testimonials, and messages to inspire, entertain or educate or “fans.”
Celtic Healthcare has a company LinkedIn page (http://www.linkedin.com/company/celtic-healthcare-inc) which is regularly updated with news and used for recruitment of top talent. All Celtic Executives’ website profiles also have links to their LinkedIn profiles.
We also use a YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/celtichealthcare1) for posting video messages, as we know YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google.
Tell us about some of the most common misperceptions organizations have about social media marketing?
- It’s not important.
- I don’t need to be involved.
- My customer’s don’t use it.
- It can be used the same as traditional marketing channels like print ads or television.
What are some of the issues an organization could face without a successful social media strategy?
If you think it is not important or don’t want to be involved or can’t be bothered with social media, the problem is the conversation is happening anyway – with OR without you.
Wouldn’t you rather be monitoring, following up, engaging, and responding to what is being said about you or your company? Social media is a news source for this generation. We are living in the technology revolution. We can ignore it, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t part of it anyway.
People heard of Bin Laden’s assassination, Michael Jackson’s death, and even the latest on Highmark and UPMC via social media channels long before they could read about it in the paper or watch it on the news.
How can healthcare-related organizations better engage in social media?
For social media efforts to be effective, you must participate consistently and in a meaningful way.
How has Celtic Healthcare used social media to raise awareness?
At Celtic Healthcare, we take corporate social responsibility seriously as can be surmised from a recent blog post: http://celtichealthcare.com/1760/corporate-social-responsibility-drives-mission-at-celtic-healthcare/.
We use posts, tweets, and blogs to discuss and educate our customers and patients on important issues that affect all of us like healthcare reform, innovations in healthcare, and also to raise awareness about local and/or national or global opportunities to be involved in that are important to them and us. We might talk about a local Alzheimer’s walk in Carlisle in one post, but also blog about World Hospice Day. It is an incredible opportunity as well as social responsibility that we take seriously.
What are some of your favorite social media applications/tools?
Hootsuite, Google Analytics and Google Alerts
Many of us can’t find enough hours in the day, how do you find the time on social media, and more importantly manage it?
As Director of Corporate Communications, I allocate a defined period of time every day for industry updates through Google reader subscriptions and to blog, post, and tweet.
On a practical level, can a good social media strategy be outsourced, or does it need to be executed internally?
To be most effective, social media needs to be a part of and reflect the corporate culture, mission, and vision of an organization and be an integral part of the company’s strategic plan. I believe that would be a challenge to outsource.
What things should we absolutely avoid in terms of social media posts and tweets?
Celtic Healthcare has a written, clearly defined Social Networking Policy that has been distributed to all employees and is given to each new employee that requires written acknowledgement of receipt, understanding and agreement. Also, the goal of social media is to engage and educate—not advertise.
Where can our readers find you on social media?
As Director of Corporate Communications for Celtic Healthcare, Jodi McKinney oversees all communications, marketing, and PR initiatives at Celtic Healthcare. Jodi began her career at Celtic as Executive Assistant to the CEO, and through her communications strengths and strong work ethic, was promoted to Director of Sales and Marketing, Director of Business Development, and then to her current position as Director of Corporate Communications. Fueled by her passion for the Celtic team, she is working to build a strong corporate culture and create a presence for Celtic Healthcare as the benchmark for in-home healthcare excellence.