By Stewart Gandolf | March 5, 2010
Few providers worldwide enjoy the stellar reputation that Mayo Clinic has established.
What’s more, Mayo is plenty busy, and it certainly doesn’t NEED patients.
Therefore, you’d probably expect Mayo to be extremely conservative in its approach to marketing and publicity, especially with regards to high risk social media like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogs.
Well, you’d be wrong. Wayyyyy wrong.
It turns out that Mayo Clinic has caught the social media bug in a big way.
First, there’s a Mayo Clinic Facebook Page with over 13,000 fans. Mayo uses this page as a venue to distribute content and it also gives patients and the public and patients a forum to talk about Mayo.
“Yikes, what if a patient or detractor says something that we don’t like – or is even untrue?”
I just scrolled through Mayo’s Facebook page and today, at least, was a very good day. Patient comments were almost universally positive. Given that this is the Mayo Clinic, I bet most days are very good days.
Next, there’s a Mayo Clinic YouTube Channel, which is all about patient education. Its description says,”The Mayo Clinic Channel is a place to see what makes Mayo Clinic special, and to watch videos about Mayo’s latest research and treatment advances.”
It contains more than 600 videos that have been viewed 1.5 million times. The content is mostly professionally produced patient education, but also includes patient testimonials.
Finally you, along with 24,000 of your closest friends, can follow the Mayo Clinic on Twitter.
So what does this all mean?
Here are some thoughts.
1. It’s gutsy. After all, Mayo Clinic’s brand is worth A LOT, and the good people at Mayo therefore have a lot to lose if things were to go wrong. But they obviously are confident in their product and reputation, and therefore are not overly concerned that consumers can post negative comments on their Facebook Page or YouTube Channel.
2. It’s realistic. It’s a free country, and patients and the public can comment about Mayo Clinic on Twitter and dozens of other social media channels whether or not Mayo participates. At least this way, Mayo has a strong voice in the conversation.
3. It’s brand building. Mayo Clinic demonstrates its commitment to being leading edge in all things it does by vigorously engaging social media.
4. It sells. I couldn’t help but notice that there is a call to action “To request an appointment…” on the top of the Facebook page.
Still, unlike many marketers I do not think social media is a requirement for EVERYONE.
My partner and I have worked with thousands of healthcare clients over the years, and I can tell you with certainty that many just don’t have the courage, culture, resources, commitment and/or consistency of outcomes to participate.
Still, the misguided arguments against marketing that I have heard ad naseum over the years like “they have to market because they aren’t good providers … or they must really NEED patients” obviously don’t apply in this case.
So if you’ve got what it takes, there are people out there who can help you embrace social media (including my firm).
Of course, you don’t need to have the resources that Mayo Clinic enjoys, but if you are engaging in social media only because you think it is free, I highly recommend you stop and reconsider the logic in your reasoning.
Also, if you ARE dying for patients, social media is usually not your best first step. It isn’t direct enough to generate lots of patients quickly.
In any event, social media can be a wild ride, but it is often one worth taking.
At least, that’s what the Mayo Clinic seems to think.
For Part 2 of this story, click: Mayo Clinic Interview Reveals Secrets to Social Media Success
2 Responses to “The Mayo Clinic: A Social Media Powerhouse”
You must be logged in to post a comment.