Marketing in the Age of Facebook

By Will Weider
11:39 AM

I love traveling across the state of Wisconsin visiting the hospitals that I serve. But, I also appreciate those days when I get back to my desk. I tend to get a lot of deliverables completed on those days.

I try to make my self as accessible to our IT team. You may have seen that I regularly post my phone number on Twitter.  When I am at my desk I often answer my phone. So, on those days when I am at my desk, I will inevitably pick up a couple of cold calls in a day.  I cannot think of a less effective way to market.  The whole process is inefficient and leaves me completely closed to the idea of doing business with the caller even before I know what they are selling. I especially hate the obligatory chit-chat at the beginning of the call (I am super. Yes it is cold in Wisconsin…).twitter

Email campaigns are nearly as bad.  Come on folks, that is so 2005.

In the 21st century you get 140 characters to pique my interest. That is how much time I have and that is the length of my attention span.

I am seeing more and more IT companies joining the social network sites, particularly twitter. Today alone I received follows from Perot Systems Healthcare, ThotWave HealthCare, and NextGen Healthcare.

I applaud their use of social networks, this is a much more efficient channel for me to receive messages.  Their imbedded in the stream that I am already reading and the messages are short.  However, I believe these messages would be much better if the twitterers were actual people that work there, not a corporate moniker.

Whenever someone follows me on twitter, I take a look at their profile.  If they don’t seem to be contributing anything interesting to me then I am unlikely to follow them.  If they are talking about topics I care about (technology, healthcare, running, good restaurants in Wisconsin) then they become part of my online community.  If they are only marketing and selling, or talking about what they ate for breakfast, then I am not interested in following them.  If I see stock phtography on the profile page and more news releases than genuinely interesting content I turn and run.

People are more interested in marketing message when you first establish a relationship based on mutual interest.  Oh, by the way, did you know that St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton is the first in the area to offer Barrx (pronounced BAR-x)? It is totally star wars.  It targets pre-cancerous Barrett’s esophagus condition, a complication of chronic GERD.  See what I did there?

What is really intersting to me now is how we can unleash 10,000 Ministry employees and 4,000 Affinity employees to use their social networks to talk about the work that they and their co-workers do.   There are alread 700 such folks on Facebook.  If they can help others in our communities (geographic) connect their healthcare needs with our services, without an advertisement, that would be awesome.  Hmmm.

This blog originally appeared at Candid CIO.

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