4 steps to reduce a hospital social media crisis

Is your social media policy easy to understand?

A report from Altimeter Group says social media crises are on the rise. But with proper preparation, you can avoid them.

This is good news for hospital CEOs who view social media as a potential disaster waiting to happen. The report lists what organizations—including hospitals—can do to prepare.

Altimeter defines a social media crisis as “a crisis issue that arises in or is amplified by social media and results in negative mainstream media coverage, a change in business processes, or financial loss.” The group conducted online surveys and interviews with more than 200 social business program managers, corporate practitioners, and social business software, service and solutions providers.

The group analyzed more than 50 social media crises since 2001.

Here are four steps you can take to reduce the risk of a social media crisis.

Clear social media policy

Establish and reinforce a corporate social media policy that sets clear standards and allows employees to participate professionally. Even if your hospital isn’t engaging on social media, it’s still important. Employees appreciate having clear social media guidelines. And remember to review these policies at least annually to keep up-to-date.

Solid resources

Make sure you have the staff in place to respond quickly to patients and families in social media. Don’t let a problem fester for hours before responding.

Ongoing education

Foster a culture of learning through ongoing social media education. The digital world is changing so rapidly, it’s smart to schedule social media education at least twice a year.

Centralized response

Develop an organized, centralized response to social media. Make sure someone is in charge, and that communication between all parties is easy and seamless.

Interestingly, these same points can be applied directly to helping in times of community crisis. During tornadoes, hurricanes, fire and earthquakes, hospitals that have been prepared have been able to use social media to communicate emergency messages to their communities.

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