Growth5 Blog

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How to Use Social Media: Mayo Clinic

Guy Kawasaki interviewed Lee Aase, the manager for syndication and social media for Mayo Clinic. Aase is also the chancellor of Social Media University, Global (SMUG), an institution that provides training in social media.

You can check out the full interview here. Some highlights:
1. Social media is consistent with what has built Mayo Clinic's reputation for over a century, word-of-mouth. At the turn of the century it was unusual for patients to survive a hospital stay due to infection. The Mayo brothers and the Franciscan sisters pioneered aseptic surgical techniques which meant that many more patients lived to tell their stories. And when they went home, they spread the word about their experience.

Today word-of-mouth recommendations are the most important source of information that makes Mayo Clinic the top choice for diagnosis and treatment of serious diseases.

Social media combines the potential worldwide reach of news media stories with the personal touch of a friend’s recommendation.

2."We didn’t just immediately jump into blogging, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. It was a natural, gradual progression that incorporated what I like to call, 'The MacGyver Mindset' - creating new solutions out of resources we already had on hand."

3. "Our first “new media” foray involved creating an RSS feed for the radio segments to publish a podcast...Within the next year or so we established a Mayo Clinic Facebook page, YouTube channel, and Twitter account...For the Twitter account, we started with an RSS feed. For the YouTube channel, we uploaded our Medical Edge segments. With the rapid growth of Facebook, we saw a “fan” page as a way for people to share their stories on our wall, and for their friends to see them."

4. "The total out-of-pocket cost for Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube was $0."

5. "Another key low-cost tool that greatly extended our social media presence is the Flip video camera which lets us shoot miniDV quality video, edit and upload to YouTube quickly and easily. We also can provide the raw video files to journalists for incorporation into their online stories."

6. "The key to these platforms is that they enable us to connect with our community. The community creates and responds to the content. We sometimes use tools like the Flip video camera to facilitate their participation, but the stories come from volunteer contributors, whether they be employees or patients."

7. Aase was asked: "What’s your advice to organizations that want to achieve this kind of success with social media?"

Answer: "It’s not an overnight process, so start by listening and taking advantage of the free or low-cost tools. By keeping your costs low, you will be able to create the breathing room you need to have time to achieve results."

"...if you use the social tools with your existing staff as a way to accomplish your current work more effectively, you will get some wins that will enable you to expand your scope."

"The real power is being able to create [content] that may reach only a few thousand views, but they’re seen by the people who are most interested. That’s another reason for keeping the costs low, so that this niche content can show positive results through what Chris Anderson called The Long Tail."

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