Social media in healthcare doesn’t have to be a time drain

By Dodge Communications on September 9th, 2009

When discussing social media with our healthcare IT clients or industry colleagues that are new to the realm of Web 2.0, the inevitable question we’re often faced with is “how do you find the time to keep up and do all this blogging and twittering?”Yes, blogs, RSS feeds, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and other social media sites have the potential to be overwhelming and unproductive at first when you’re in the experimental phase, but the art of mastery comes with following your objectives and managing your use of time wisely. After all, when it comes to social media, YOU control the clock on your social media activities.

Here are three quick tips on social media time management to help guide your strategy:

  1. Select social media tools that have a large following in your industry. There’s not a need to join and participate in every social media site in existence. Join the ones that make the most sense to your business needs, as well as the markets of your customers and prospects. For healthcare technology, we’ve found blogs, Twitter and LinkedIn to be most useful; so this is where we spend the majority of our social media time. Since many healthcare IT companies and publications are transitioning onto Facebook and similar sites, our presence in that space is becoming a more time-worthy activity in which we will also focus our efforts. Your choices/priorities may be different, and that’s ok.

  2. Choose quality over quantity. The people that usually find Twitter or other social media sites overwhelming and stressful to try to stay on top of are the ones who are not judicious in who or what they’re following. It’s impossible to consume all the information out there, so be selective, and try scanning instead of reading every single message.
    With Twitter as the example, having a lot of followers can be a good thing; it means lots of people are interested in your content and what you have to say. What some people don’t get is that followers and people that YOU choose to follow should be treated as two entirely different things. Too many connections can be a distraction; only follow those that have valuable content that interests you. Don’t feel that you have to follow back everyone that follows you to be polite or that you can’t “unfollow” the guy that floods your Twitter page with a constant stream of uninteresting tweets.

  3. Create a schedule. Finding the balance between too much and not enough is the golden ticket when it comes to social media networking. As you are more familiar with your purpose on the outlets and your objectives, it will come more naturally. But in the beginning, a good way to manage your time is to set regular schedules and block out time for your social media activities. Whether you try to check and monitor everything throughout the day or focus on it in open slots in your schedule, setting a limit on your time allows you to be more conscious of your overall activity in the end.