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October 2, 2017 Shownotes:

Introducing The 19: Healthcare

If you’re interested in learning more about response marketing in the world of healthcare, be sure to tune in to The 19, Orange Label’s brand new podcast! Every month, we will produce a new episode covering a new facet of healthcare response marketing. In our latest episode, “Healthcare Brands CARE for Social Media,” Orange Label Account Supervisor Michelle Torr and Account Strategist Michelle Regrut shed light on the current state of social media for healthcare providers and give their tips on how to develop a powerful, healthcare-driven social campaign.

More About The 19

The 19 is Orange Label’s monthly podcast, tackling response marketing in the world of healthcare. The 19 speaks to the entrepreneurial-minded, offering insight into healthcare industry trends and marketing strategy best practices. When you tune into The 19, you’re not only getting response marketing insights in 19 minutes or less, you will also hear from consumers and industry influencers. Each episode will feature varied hosts, so that you can get to know the Orange Label team and history. The 19, after all, is derived from the sum of 1972, the year our business was founded.


The 19: Healthcare – Episode 1

Heathcare Brands CARE for Social Media

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This is The 19. In 19 minutes or less, key Insights in Healthcare from Orange Label, the leading response marketing agency for established brands that are driven by a fearless entrepreneurial mindset.

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Hi there, this is Alyse Stranberg, Account Strategist at Orange Label, and I’m today’s host of The 19. Today we are going to be discussing the nuances of social media and the healthcare industry. Here are a few quick stats to kick off today’s conversation… did you know that:

74% of internet users engage on social media.

And that 80% of those internet users are specifically looking for health information, and nearly half are searching for information about a specific doctor or health professional?

But that:

Out of the roughly 5,600 hospitals in the United States, only 1,500 are using a form of social media, which equates to approximately 26%.

So knowing that patients and likely health care professionals are clearly engaging with social media, what are the hesitations of hospitals joining the world of social?

There are two individuals at Orange Label who have extensive experience in healthcare and social media and I invited them to join today’s episode so that I could ask them a few questions.  I’d like to introduce Michelle Regret, the agency’s lead of Orange Social,  our agency’s social media division.

Michelle R:

Hi everyone!


And agency account supervisor, Michelle Torr.

Michelle T:

Good Morning!


For context, both Michelles have extensive background in social media strategy and management, and have also led some of the Orange Label’s largest healthcare accounts. They’ve worked together for years and have become quite good friends as well. You will notice that they like to get right to the point and at times they may even have differing opinions. But in my opinion, it’s what makes them such a great duo.

And now one last minor detail, because both of my guests are named Michelle, I will be referring to Michelle Regrut as MR and Michelle Torr as MT.


First question is for MR. As the lead of Orange Social, how important do you think it is for brands to have a social presence these days?

MR: Its relevant for all brands to have a presence on social media.  I mean all audiences are really there it’s kind of taking over the nature of the marketing industry. 


Okay well kind of on that topic.  I think that not just within the realm of Facebook but I think there’s a lot of people that just look at social as a whole as being something that’s casual and fun.  So how does that perception play into ahum, brands such as hospitals that have more sensitive content something that’s maybe more ahum, clinical or wellness focused?

MR: Sure and that’s a good question all of our social media strategies start out with really defining the brand voice and personality.  And that should really be executed on across all marketing platforms but really on social media because its how your brand shows up if they were a person.  And what they would sound like what their vibe would be.  So we really bring that to life.  So it doesn’t have to be fun and playful per your point.  Ahum, for hospitals it can be clinical but it still can be friendly.  Ahum, the whole point is just to clearly define the brand ahum, voice and message. 


So on that note of Facebook being looked at as something that’s you know has the stereotype of being just for college students.  Ahum, I also think that in general there’s some perceptions that social media’s something that’s more along the line of being casual and fun.  So where does hospital brands that is you know distributing content that is more clinical and wellness focused.  Have a place in that environment?  Or is that perception also false

MR: Well a part of the social media strategy is to define the brand voice and personality.  So it doesn’t all have to be fun and friendly.  It can get to the point. it can educate, it can inform.  Ahum, and it can motivate to action.  There’s different purposes to social media so it’s not limited just to you know a friendly photo. 


So ahum, MT switching over to you.  You’ve worked with a lot of different hospital accounts.  Does this topic of sensitive content ever come up?  Or are there other hesitations that you’re hearing from clients about social media.

MT: Most people don’t want to talk about it.  People are scared to talk about it.  Ahum, there’s so many hesitations and I think some of them do come from a place of fear.  Fear of resources and being able to commit to it fully.  Fear of what people will say about you.  You know with a hospital there’s so much room for things to go wrong from a health perspective when people’s lives are at stake.  And bad things do happen and and social media is a place where people go to share that.  Ahum, and that causes a lot of stress and anxiety for our healthcare clients but it’s such a small piece of the puzzle in reality.  There’s so much positive content out there from patients from the community itself and that the hospitals were healthcare provider can proactively provide.  So it needs to be at the forefront of the conversation and its not.


Okay so how when these hesitations ahum, or uncertainties come up from your clients.  How do you address them or how do you kind of guide them through it?

MR: Communication, it’s all about a strategy of communication, internally, externally.  So like Michelle Regret was saying it’s all about the goal and objective.  And that’s true for you know if a scary comment comes on line.  How do you handle it?  It’s all about the proactive communication and alignment internally and how something like that’s handled.  So I think just being very clear and open in that kind of communication ah, that opens up much more possibilities for social.  


Got it okay.  Ahum, strategies come up a couple of times.  So ahum, MR going back to you.  Keeping in mind some of the best practices that come into play with Social Media.  Ahum, what are the factors that go into building a social media strategy for a client like a hospital?

MR: There’s different components, I mean as a basis we like to check out their competitive landscape.  So currently in the marketplace what other healthcare providers, what other hospitals are there.  Ahum, we find out what their presence is on line what they’re talking about.  And assess that to really figure out where they fit into that market.  Ahum, there’s also a lot depending on the industry specifically for healthcare.  There’s a lot to think about in terms of developing the content and what you have to say because of HIPPA laws there’s a lot of things that come into play versus just a retail brand.  Ahum You really have to make sure  that you’re abiding by all of these things.  Because it is a public platform ahum, so making sure that the content  is structured so that it does abide by those rules.  But also is still engaging, is relevant, is educational.  So all of those things that are part of a regular media strategy there’s just an added layer for healthcare. 

MT: And I’d say too that the strategy also has to reflect the strategy that’s in place for all other types of media and marketing.  You know if there are a primary service lines that need to be promoted, that has a place on social.  If there are events, if there are community wellness initiatives, community education that’s usually a core component of a communications strategy as a whole for healthcare provider.  And so ensuring all of those pieces are integrated and are present on social just as they would be in a newspaper, on the radio, on TV or whatever it may be. 

MR:  Yes it all compliments each other good point.


Okay so considering all of the different pieces that go into a strategy from content to management.  Ahum, for the hospitals that are a part of ah a bigger organization or health system.  Do they have any efficiencies that can be shared amongst each other? 

MRyeah there are some efficiencies when you think about you know a giant healthcare provider that has multiple hospitals.  However the one thing to consider is because a hospital is really your local provider, you want to make sure you tailor your content your information ahum, specifically for that community and for that audience to make sure that it is still personable and it is relevant for you know the local seminars the local event, being present in the community is really important.  so there’s some some ways that you can streamline it but there really has to be a tailored strategy for that community. 

MT: Where efficiencies really can occur ahum, in two places, one is having a shared brand voice.  Often times individual hospitals within a large system will all be connected in some way to that master brand.  Ahum, sometimes It’s not the case and each individual hospital may have an individual identity.  Yet if there is something that’s shared having those brand standards shared across from a visual standpoint, the way the voice is used.  It can make content development easier and faster.  Ahum, the other big thing is with software .  So if you are using reporting tools, or posting tools, administrative tools things that come with a dollar value associated with them.  It’s much more easier to afford those tools when you’re spreading the cost across a variety of care sites. 

MR: there are different types of Social Media Software that you can purchase .  Ahum, for example is Simply Measured that we use a lot.  And there you have multiple log ins so you can have a point person each of the individual hospitals accessing the same information.  Ahum, there’s a listening tool also to make sure that you are responding and and engaging in the right conversation with your specific community. 

MT: There’s a lot of ways that you can listen and and monitor your channels organically you know just getting the push notifications to your phone.  Ahum, but that really got a lot smarter with these platforms where you can hone in all of that information of what people are saying about you all in one place for your whole team to access. 

MR: Yeah cause what you may find is that on social media ahum, your audience may or may not replicate what you believe your demographics to be. Ahum, it could be the same It could be different but what you’ll find for sure is what segment s engaging the most…. That’s the low hanging fruit , that’s the people to go after first from a direct response perspective and get those patients in the door.


Okay, so ahum, kind of switching gears a little bit but going back to content ahum, I understand that there’s obviously a a huge importance about being authentic within Social Media.  You don’t want to come off as being salesy or like you have an agenda with your content to a certain extent at least.  But I know within Healthcare there’s a lot of rules and guidelines for hospitals around patient privacy or HIPPA.  So how do you factor those pieces into your content strategy knowing that you also still want to sound genuine and authentic?  

MT: Yes so these days user generated content is one of you know a big portion of content that a lot of brands utilize especially for retail type brands.  When we get into healthcare that is a little bit different so we hit a grey area.  If you abide by all of the Instagram, Facebook privacy policies technically if you have a public profile all of that information and content photos, texts all of that is public.  So you could repost that which is why all these other brands are getting away with it when its just a shoe or a T shirt or something like that.  When someone takes a photo on the campus of a hospital that changes things.  Technically by Instagram it’s public , it’s a public photo its public information.  However, HIPPA says no.   Ahum, so you have to be careful with what you are posting if anyone is in the background of that photo.  If there is any name tag or anything like that a simple something in the background of an image, could break HIPPA violations.  So you really have to be cautious in terms of user generated content.  Which is unfortunate because that’s a good pocket of content that really easily engages your audience and community.  But you just have to be mindful of these things.  And when you tag a patient your defining who they are.  Ahum, so you’re publically announcing that this individual is at this hospital.  So there’s a lot of grey area. 


So staying on the topic of being real.  A huge part of social Media has become the customer service side .  and knowing that you will have to deal with real posts from patients or family members of patients that are upset.  And may post a negative comment about their experience or about a physician.  How do you address that on Social Media?

MR: You stop, you listen, you breath, you don’t react too quickly.  Cause that’s a common mistake not just in healthcare.  I think …. In any brands I think in peoples personal lives is being too quick to react versus responding strategically.  And that’s where having a communication plan in place of knowing okay when a comment hits you know here we need to involve these types of individuals.  And that may be ahum, the actual nurse or physician in question or person from patient experience.  Someone from compliance if it’s necessary.  Ahum, if it’s something small maybe hiding it and deleting it quickly  is an option.  But again it’s it’s just having that plan up front that when those comments occur you know the steps that have to be taken.  Versus just reacting and freaking out every single time it happens, cause it’s gonna its gonna happen.  It’s just a reality of social regardless of the type of industry you’re in.


So we’ve talked a lot about the organic side of social media and the importance of hospitals joining in on the conversation.  But what about the paid side of social media?  So there’s boosted post, sponsored ads, ad campaigns you see a lot of that from a retail standpoint.  Does this play into a hospital’s social media strategy?

MR: I think it’s still very important for any brand I mean really with the algorithms today on all social platforms you really have to pay to play.  Ahum, so we do recommend boosting all content that’s on your pages.  There’s different ways that you can supplement that so if you had a specific event or community seminar that you were hosting you could run an event response campaign to supplement that objective.  So there are many many different campaigns that you can run on Facebook on Twitter to increase engagement and to drive response to your specific objective.  I think it complements your ongoing social strategy and ongoing content so it’s good to have both if budget allows. 

MT: Yeah and there are some HIPPA concerns or just things to be aware of with paid campaigns.  Being that you can’t target specific ailments, or people who have those ailments,… You can target people who are searching for that type of information though.  And when campaigns are structured from a lead perspective so if people have to submit their name or email address.  And if you’re using a CRM system you can integrate campaigns with a CRM in a way that allows you can actually track the patients revenue that they generated.  And really see the true ROI which is what a lot of hospital executives are really searching for these days.  What’s the value, what’s my return and give that to me not from a clink or like perspective but from a dollar amount.  And PVC campaigns is a way to do that. .

MR: So if someone’s hosting let’s say a vaccination clinic ahum, or a wellness clinic, or flu shots or something of that nature.  You can use a campaign ahum, and target base on someone’s demographic .  so their age, their family structure, income things of that nature which are more public, safer information to target.  And then again by capturing email addresses or event sign ups that’s what you can sink to that CRM system and then again get your ROI.


Great thank you.  Ahum, I have one more question before I wrap it up.  And I think I do know the answer to this question .   But I’m gonna ask both of you do you believe then that healthcare brands have role in the world of social media?

MR: I think everyone has a role in the world of social media. 

MT: Yeah I would have to agree I mean after the conversations today it is really relevant for all brands everyone and anyone is on social.


Great well thank you.  Well they said it, and I agree, healthcare brands should care about social media. Social media is simply a reality in today’s world.   It’s no longer a choice as to whether a brand wants to participate or not. As both Michelles said, several times, social media has become part of the overall marketing strategy and even the media mix. It’s not something that can be viewed as an “add-on” or a less important tactic of the marketing strategy.

So, at the end of every episode of The 19, we provide you with a key takeaway. We call it, The Sum-Up. Here’s today’s Sum-Up: “Social media may sound overwhelming or unnecessary to brands that view themselves as more formal or who have sensitive content, but the truth is that social media is a must if you want to reach people and truly connect. What was mentioned throughout the conversation is that the strategy is key. It’s what will cause someone to follow you, or unfollow you for that matter. And it is also what will set your healthcare brand apart from others.

All that said, content is definitely not the easy step, there really are no short cuts here. And with healthcare, content does have some boundaries with patient privacy, HIPPA and opening the door for audiences to share their thoughts with comments and posts. But these are all factors that are addressed when a social media strategy is put together and led with an efficient management structure.

Content is not a place to get hung up. And the hang up is definitely not worth having your brand being viewed as irrelevant. If the goal is to remain innovative and state of the art as a healthcare leader, it’s important to consider how the world is viewing your brand from all angles, including social. To simply not participate in social media, could be telling people you simply don’t care, that you’re dated, or you don’t have interesting content to share.

Generations will continue to lean on social media as a source of content, news and information. Which is why their healthcare providers and local hospitals must be part of these conversations that are already occurring on social media. They have to generate content that connects with the community, educates and motivates overall wellness. Because like we said, there’s a clear place for healthcare in social media, healthcare brands just need to start caring more.”

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Thank you for listening to The 19, Putting the “Med” is Social Media. If you have additional questions on this topic, please share them with us. Visit our website,  And be sure to tune in for our next episode, The Digital HIPPA-Potomis.

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Recorded close:

This was The 19. Brought to you by Orange Label. If you’re interested in MORE healthcare response marketing, visit our blog and subscribe to our content, where we share our response marketing expertise on current healthcare industry topics. Visit for all the details.

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Founded in 1972

As Orange County’s longest-standing, privately held response marketing agency, we have witnessed dynamic shifts in the world of marketing. Through it all, we have ensured our clients stay at the forefront of communication and technology, driving response and value with every new endeavor.