For anyone who manages social media for a hospital, you know it’s definitely not a 9-to-5 job. For most of us, it means continual monitoring, and usually posting on nights and weekends as well.
After doing this for more than three years now, I’ve come to rely on some favorite tools I find helpful. I want to share them with you, but I’d also love to hear how you manage things on a regular basis!
First, the email. We all get so much email in a day, and most of us have a professional account and at least one personal account. It can be overwhelming. To make life easier, many of us try to reduce the number of emails we might get during any given day by skimming through them quickly and not really reading them, unsubscribing to some distribution lists, and cancelling email notifications from social networks. (And an added note here, while I haven’t tried it yet, the new app called Mailbox is supposed to be fantastic in helping you better manage your email!)
I completely understand the skimming and the unsubscribing, but I encourage you to avoid the temptation of not getting those email notifications for social media. I have been tempted to do it in the past, but recent events have made me say, “Phew, I’m so glad I get those notifications!”
In my role, I manage six Twitter accounts, six Facebook pages and a YouTube channel. Thanks to email, I’ve received notifications from YouTube on comments that we definitely wanted deleted because they violated our social media policy on swearing. Both of the comments came from former patients that were posted on a weekend and they probably wouldn’t have been caught except for that notification, at least not right away.
I know there’s a lot of email associated with Twitter, but when you’re managing multiple accounts, I assure you it’s a lot easier to scroll through your email Twitter notices to make sure there’s nothing you need to respond to right away. Some things can wait, like thanking people for retweets, but when it’s a mention of your hospital doing something wrong, well that’s something you want to address immediately. This weekend I received one of those, with a patient complaining about a bad blood draw. Those are the things you can spot easily through your email on your smartphone anytime, anywhere, without having to sign into multiple Twitter accounts.
I cannot say enough how much I love Tweetdeck. When you’re managing multiple accounts, this is the ONLY sane way to do it, in my humble opinion. I can monitor all mentions and direct messages for all of my accounts, schedule tweets, set up columns for lists that I follow, and do searches for mentions of the hospitals when people don’t use the @name. It’s ingenious, and it helps me manage my day so much better.
I know there are plenty of others out there, including HootSuite. The free version of HootSuite only lets you manage up to five accounts though, so that doesn’t work for me. I’m sure it does for many others though, and it is a great tool. The other great thing about HootSuite is that you also can link your Facebook accounts to it and schedule those posts as well. (A side note: TweetDeck offers this option too, but when I did a test scheduling of future Facebook posts it didn’t work. Maybe it was just me. Has anyone else had success with this?)
Facebook Pages App for smartphone
I am IN LOVE with this app. It makes it so easy to manage all the pages I oversee in one convenient app. It’s a breeze to monitor new comments and likes, it’s simple to delete a nasty comment that violates your policy, or even hide a post. You can easily view and filter posts by others with the touch of your finger. You also get a number showing you how many new notifications you have to check on. The downside, though, is that you cannot view your personal Facebook page through the Facebook app on your phone if you want to use the Pages app. You’ll have to sign out and log back in.
Despite that little setback, it’s my absolute lifesaver on the weekends when I do morning postings from all the accounts, and I can quickly and easily monitor all the activity from wherever I am in one handy dandy little app. This weekend I also got two complaints from people who were not satisfied with the care they received. Those are the kind of posts that need to get a response as soon as possible, and thanks to the notifications in my app, I was able to do that quickly while on the go this weekend.
So those are my tips for keeping your sanity while managing social media in health care, or any industry for that matter. What are YOUR tips? I’d love to hear from you.
This post was originally written for and appeared on http://www.hospitalimpact.org.