Why healthcare executives need to embrace social media

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As a social media enthusiast and healthcare industry executive for Regence BlueShield who guides community relations, I use social media platforms to connect and engage with consumers, customers and influencers whenever and wherever they might be. However, it seems my industry peers don’t always agree. According to Fortune, only 39% of Fortune 500 CEOs are active on social channels. For me, social has become a habit that has paid dividends in the relationships built and the business value created; it is a direct pipeline to the topics, trends and events affecting our industry in real time.

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In addition to engaging with a broad audience, an executive being active on social can build trust. The Edelman Trust Barometer shows only 51% of the general population trusts CEOs in the healthcare sector, but 57% believe building trust can start with CEOs who share their views on social media. The general population expects more from our industry in terms of transparency, inclusive leadership and sustainable business practices.

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These ideals can be hammered home and showcased on social. Recently, I participated in a panel discussion at the Cambia Grove in Seattle with Healthfundr Managing Partner Dave Chase and Washington State Medical Association CEO Jennifer Lawrence Hanscom. During the webcast, the audience asked great questions and I was able to share my top tips for leveraging social media as a healthcare industry executive. While everyone’s approach is different, these are at the core of every successful social profile.

Know your audience. I enjoy the different audiences I’m able to reach based on the channel I’m using, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. It is important to be aware of what each social network has to offer and how the audiences differ on each platform when you’re strategizing content and engaging with other users.

Be genuine. Part of my daily routine includes being consistent and candid on social media, along with creating my own content, posting often, and engaging and responding. It is vital that industry leaders personally respond and control the content that is going out on their social accounts. Your personal brand on social directly corresponds with the brand of your company.

Don’t be an egg. You should learn how to use social media and the foundational things needed to be successful and effective on choice social platforms. This can be as easy as updating your picture on Twitter from the default egg image. Don’t be an egg (unless you are in the egg industry, then maybe) and of course, have a good profile picture.

Social media is an enabler to drive change in the healthcare industry. It works to humanize an organization and helps to build trust while breaking down silos. By joining the social conversation, think about what you’re trying to achieve and remain genuine on social media.

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Social media Healthcare plans Healthcare benefits Employee engagement Employee communications