The low-cost and low-risk strategy of developing and maintaining a blog for your small healthcare organization might be the best investment you haven't made yet.
If your health system or hospital is still wading in the shallowest waters of social media, i.e. only periodically posting to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, a blog may be a gentle transition to the vast ocean of opportunities social media presents.
Blogging provides many benefits for hospitals and health systems. Think of it as the mouthpiece of an organization's megaphone. The message originates at the organization's, not on a billboard, not on a television commercial. Not to discount out of home media, but as Lee Aase, director of the Mayo Clinic for Social Media, pointedly said last week, a hospital or health system blog should be thought of as an organization's "home base."
All internet roads ultimately lead back to the blog, and a blog provides ultimate control over how a message is delivered and who can react to it. That's not the case on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, the three most popular social media platforms.
The Mayo Clinic's blog is a standard to which blogs from large healthcare systems are held, and rightly so, they do a great job of integrating its entire social media. I picked three other hospital blogs that are also getting it right. There are many more, but the following hit my qualifications of being easy to find, updated regularly, and nurturing a true community.