One of my favorite board members at my last hospital would frequently say to us, "Everyone thinks their monkey is cute," in reference to the work we did for other departments in the hospital. It took me years to decipher what it meant. But after a while, I got it. Nuclear Medicine people scheduled meetings with me to try to get a major presence on the hospital's homepage; Home Care asked for TV spots to help boost their business; Risk Management thought it was a good idea to publicize the results of our Joint Commission survey to a larger, public audience.
All kinds of things that consumers really don't care about happen at hospitals. However, many of these things are radically important to the people working in the hospitals themselves. Hence the meetings to discuss "publicizing" these events--especially on Facebook. It's instant gratification to post the latest updates on the hosiptal's tax exempt status. But is it important to share that with the public?
I say the best offense is a good defense. Here's what you want to defend from getting up onto your hospital's Facebook page:
- A successful visit by the Joint Commission, while important in its own right, is of little or no interest or value to the average Facebook follower. Consumers expect that your hospital is up to code.
- Recipes abound online, so sharing them on Facebook, unless cooked by a physician for you while you're in your hospital bed, isn't really that cool. My first stop for a good meatloaf recipe is AllRecipes.com
- That one department that was recently accredited as a certified Whatever center will likely not elicit many comments or "Likes."
- Photos of the newest members of your hospital's medical staff (unless they're all very hot and dressed in provocative clothing and/or mud wrestling one another) aren't interesting. Consider that people well outside of your service area are following your hospital's page.
But you say, "Isn't making the internal audience happy important?" Thus, I sayest unto you: Indeed. That's why there's your employee newsletter. Everyone thinks their monkey is cute.