Friday, November 11, 2011

5 and a Half Tips for Easy But Good Electronic Media

This is based on a short presentation I did for the American Society of Medical Society Executives County Executives Forum on Nov. 11, 2011, in New Orleans. Many thanks to my AAMSE friends for the invitation. Here is the question I was asked to answer: Faced with few resources and even less time, what can county medical societies can do in the electronic media world that pays big dividends in member participation, awareness, recruitment, retention, etc.

Social media is not free. Although a Twitter app, a Facebook account, YouTube access, etc... don't cost any money, they do require time to maintain and get the most out of them. The two things county societies chronically lack are money and time. So what to do?

Here are the five and half tips I offered:

Tip 1: Monitor what's being said about you. Here are some free tools:
Tip 2: Find a champion

Look for someone who is passionate about social media and wouldn't mind "volunteering" their time to help you, teach you, and maybe do some of it for you. Look to your staff or your family (if you have young adult children, they're usually tuned in). The best champion, of course, is one of your members who likes and uses social media and will post your news on Facebook, Tweet about you, post videos of your events.

Tip 3: Give something free to your members

There's so much free out there, take advantage of it. One service we like, which has earned TMA a nice chunk of non-dues revenue, is a weekly news bulletin to our members. We use MultiView but there are other vendors out there, like SmartBriefs. They collate the week's top stories that you want your members to see, news stories that their patients might be asking you about, and send them a weekly e-mail. Our "TMA Weekly Headlines" includes a short description of the article, when and where it was published, a link to the full article, and social media buttons that allow easy sharing.

They do all the work: gather the stories, sign up the advertisers. We spend no more than 15 minutes a week reviewing the draft "Headlines" the day before it goes out.

Tip 4: Video is king; YouTube is free
Video has it all: immediacy, emotion, impact. Video story telling is the most powerful way to get your message out. Nowadays you don't need a fancy studio and a professional videographer to shoot and share video. Nearly every exec has a mini-video recorder on his or her hip.
Consider shooting a quick-and-dirty, 30-second video of one of your physicians:
  • Commenting on the health care policy news of the day
  • Discussing the latest public health problem
  • Promoting an upcoming society event
Then post it straight to YouTube from your phone. Tweet it. Post it on Facebook. Take a few more moments and embed it on your website.

Tip 4.5:  Animoto is fun

Animoto is a free tool that puts together images, video clips, and sound into a nifty looking 30-second video. Then you can post it in all those places I just mentioned. Here's an Animoto video we did about the TMA Calendar of Doom, our newest tool to help TMA members keep up with, and comply with, the avalanche of new state and federal regulations plus commercial insurance rules, that keep coming their way:

Tip 5: Make your members stars

Social media is, well, social. It's all about people -- your people, your doctors. Show them off. Publish RSS feeds from their blogs on your website (here's how we do it at TMA). Post their photos on Facebook. There are 250 million photos posted on Facebook a day, for a good reason. People like to see themselves.) Retweet their Twitter posts. Do all this and they'll return the favor and promote your society and what you're doing.

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