Those who are drawn to social media—young or old—tend to be fast-moving, creative people with lots of energy and ideas. That's a good thing, but there are drawbacks, as well. For example, the healthcare industry can be slow to embrace trends and healthcare administrators can be slow to approve new ideas. That can frustrate young employees who want to experiment and to try new things.
Look nimble. Hospitals that move too slowly are at risk, too. "If you hire a social media person, what you're saying to your audience is, 'We care about responsiveness to our stakeholders,'" Martin says. "You better clear the path for that person to act quickly, because the expectations are growing among your public, your patients, and your internal audience that you will be responsive. One of the things that can potentially bog this thing down is unneeded bureaucracy or a fettered approach."
Look authentic. Some businesses (and celebrities) hire ghostwriters to monitor and update social media sites. But hiring a consultant for this purpose isn't always a good idea—social media is, "at the end of the day, a hands-on exercise," Martin says. If you do hire someone to post on your behalf, he adds, make sure you're transparent about it.
Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora, IL, manages its social media internally, with one staff person who oversees it. "We believe that when it comes to Twitter and Facebook, the organization needs to be the one talking, not some agent on our behalf," says Mary Zokan, marketing director of the 193-bed hospital. Authenticity is important when it comes to social media, she adds.