"In our experience, LinkedIn tends to attract a more business-oriented audience, and the conversations tend to have a more formal tone," Shelley and Dunlop write. "We recommend you celebrate the differences in the platforms, and use those differences to your advantage. After all, why put all your social media eggs in the Facebook basket?"
Twitter tends to attract marketers, journalists, and other professional communicators, so you my not reach a large portion of your target audience just yet. Still, it may be useful to start cultivating a following so you'll have everything in place as the microblogging site becomes more mainstream—and it is.
I recently created a professional Twitter account (though I've had a personal account since the olden days of 2008) and I really was surprised how much marketing noise is being broadcast (well, narrowcast) on there. But if you take the time to search and sort, you can find a good deal of healthcare organizations that add to the conversation, share useful information, respond to comments and criticism, and probably drive patients to their Web site, if not their waiting rooms.
Social media is here to stay, and practicing hive marketing can pay off for your organization. The good thing about marketing in the early stages of the social media phenomenon is that you have some leeway to play around, experiment, and learn what works for your organization without too much pressure. But that's not to say you don't need a plan.
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