This week’s episode is the second in a 3-part “marketing refresher series” covering some of the foundational aspects of your digital marketing that may have been neglected because of the pandemic. As organizations begin to come out of survival mode, it can be easy to overlook the fundamentals. In this episode, Michael, Scott, and Jared look at 5 opportunities to either win or lose with your organization’s social media efforts.
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Announcer: It’s time to think differently about healthcare, but how do we keep up? The days of yesterday’s medicine are long gone and we’re left trying to figure out where to go from here. With all the talk about politics and technology, it can be easy to forget that healthcare is still all about humans and many of those humans have unbelievable stories to tell. Here, we leave the policy debates to the other guys and focus instead on the people and ideas that are changing the way we address our health. It’s time to navigate the new landscape of healthcare together and hear some amazing stories along the way. Ready for a breath of fresh air? It’s time for your “Paradigm shift.”
Michael: Welcome to the “Paradigm Shift of Healthcare” and thank you for listening. I’m Michael Roberts with my co-hosts, Scott Zeitzer and Jared Johnson. Today’s episode is the second in a three-part marketing refresher series, where we’re going to be guiding you through parts of your digital marketing that tend to get neglected or forgotten. But you don’t want to do that, these things are still vitally important to your online presence. Guys, here we go.
So we talked about this a little bit in our last episode. But you know, one of the real reasons that we’re going back through this refresher series is that there are a lot of properties out there, a lot of marketing properties that are sitting out there, and they may be kind of gathering digital dust, so to speak. With all the different, you know, responsibilities we have in marketing and with all the different things that that small to mid-size, you know, medtech companies may be trying to accomplish, it’s just tough to keep up with all these things, especially in light of a pandemic.
So today, we’re going to be focusing on social media. In our last episode, we talked about search engine optimization, go take a listen to it if you’d like. But today we’re talking about social media. And we’re going to talk less about, like, which platform to choose or any of that kind of stuff. We’re just kind of talking more about this concept of engaging with people online and engaging people in this kind of format. And we’re going to look at five pluses and minuses.
So let’s start with a plus, let’s start with a positive thing here, this gives you the opportunity to put yourself, put your company on the map. You become part of different national conversations that are going on and trends, you know, you otherwise wouldn’t really be able to be a part of. So, Jared, you know, I see you jump into these kinds of conversations all the time, I think you do an excellent job with this. So, you know, what would you advise other companies that are looking to try and do in this space?
Jared: So I think a real good example of thought is just finding a balance. This is just like going to a dinner party and knowing that you’re not going to go in there and go talk about yourself the whole time. You’re not going to go to a corporate party, you’re not going to go to the department store . . . well, no one goes to the department store anymore. You know, you’re not going to go to a restaurant I guess and just start bringing up conversations with people you’ve never met and act as if you know them.
So it’s the same social principles that apply. We can all point to people who are like, yeah, okay, they’re not . . . if they were doing that in real life, that’s not how they would act. That’s not how they would respond.
Early on, early in the days of when I was just looking at how to connect with people more with social media, I attended the Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, HITMC, and John Lynn was hosting that thing. And like, within the first two minutes, he shared a slide that still kind of guides my strategy today, which is, “Give before you expect anything in return.” And he was talking about just basic value on social media, he was basically like, “You don’t go in there and try to sell everybody on something. And you also don’t try to. . .you don’t want to bulldoze your way through a conversation and try to, you know, be the only person on there.” There’s usually people who are just listening, like they’re not participating. You just don’t want to go in there and act like it’s all about you.
On the flip side of that, you can go in there and just show how much you’re interested in what someone else has to say, “Hey, that’s a really interesting point. Michael Roberts, tell me more about that.” It’s not that hard. It’s just part of how you approach it from the very beginning. You don’t go in there and say, “Hey, follow me, follow me, vote for you for this thing.” We’ve all seen people who do that, like, right off the bat. And it’s just the same as you going to a dinner party.
So, you know, basics there you want to think about, that’s how you’re going to get yourself on the map. If you want to establish yourself as a thought leader, for instance, on an important topic on a topic that’s relevant to you, there are ways to do that. You can show your relevance by how relevantly you’re talking about a trend or a topic. So again, it makes sense when you think about it, but it just takes a long time to go to hone that and realize that, from the get-go, there are people who are going to either like what you’re doing or just think, like, “What was that?” when they encounter you online.
Scott: Jared, Michael used to make fun of me because I am the owner of the company, I’m the head salesperson. And he would constantly say like, “You know, you got to calm down, man. Not everybody wants to get married on the first date. Maybe they just want a cup of coffee, you know.” To the point of just trying to just let people know that you’re knowledgeable about a particular subject is a real plus there, and especially if you’re passionate about it.
I’ve had so many conversations with medtech companies where they don’t want to give away everything. I always laugh, like, you’re not going to give away everything you’re just talking about what excites you and telling people that you have knowledge about it and wanting to engage in a conversation. You don’t have to, “Sell” them that you’re the only person to do that, but at least build up trust that you’ve got knowledge about it and that you’ve got a passion for it.
Michael: There was a video going around, may still be going around now, where it was basically saying, like, if you sold digital marketing, in real life, the same way that people are doing it online. It was basically a guy with a bullhorn, just going down the street. And just like anybody that he could see would just get right in their face and yell at them you know, through this thing, like, “Buy my thing.” You know, we all instantly think of somebody when you see that kind of example, you see your email marketing that you get, you know, “Hey, Michael, I know you were just thinking about this, this, this.” It’s like, “No, I have no idea who you are, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Scott: Right. I can’t hit the delete key fast enough, I can’t.
Michael: It feels like my patience for that kind of marketing has just grown thinner and thinner. Because like, because so many people hit so many, like, unexpected road bumps last year, it’s like that stuff just flourished. And it was just everywhere. And it’s like, okay, like, if we have no relationship, this isn’t going anywhere. And I’m kind of dipping into a future point. So I’m going to move on here.
So we talked about a positive, get yourself on the map. One of the negatives here is that you can also get yourself on the map with a black eye or really look like you’re tone-deaf or really not be paying attention to people. You know, one of the conversations that was going around this year, was, you know, how much should you be posting or not on Inauguration Day? You know, like, the eyes of the nation are, whether you’re happy or sad, are very much on Washington. And you know, so there was a lot going on at that time.
If you’ve got a lot of stuff that’s just kind of auto-scheduled out there, and you’re not taking into account these kinds of days, or you aren’t able to get back in there and turn that stuff off, get rid of it quickly. You’re going to look bad. You really do have to kind of read the room and actually pay attention to what’s going on in the world if you’re going to be sociable. You can’t just pretend like it’s something where you can just keep broadcasting and everybody will just be happy that you are.
Scott: Yeah, you know, Michael, it goes back to what Jared brought up about being at the cocktail party or the restaurant, etc. You know, read the room, man. You certainly wouldn’t be doing a comic shtick at a funeral. There are some instances where it’s not what you’re saying but when you’re saying it, like, you’re bringing up. And then it’s also, “Hey, just be careful about what you’re saying too. Take a step back and make sure that it’s not a tone-deaf statement as well.” So it’s just more about being careful. I wouldn’t stop being online for that reason. I just think you just need to take a deep breath and take a look and make sure, like you mentioned, if you’re doing auto-posting, you’re not posting on bad days.
Jared: Right. And then there’s even just the thought of how quickly things change. There are ways we talk about things in society now that are different than they were a year or two ago. And just being mindful of that social consciousness in everything we do, it’s just going to help keep you from getting even close to this line of coming across as tone-deaf. Because it’s true, like what comes off as tone-deaf now is very different than it has been in the past. And so just keeping an eye on like. . .this is one of those things that moves. And it’s another reason to just be aware of how people are saying things. I believe it’s progress personally, you know, I like to see how things have changed. It’s just something we’ve got to be aware of and how we come across.
Scott: I agree wholeheartedly. You know, I wanted to bring up what I consider to be a plus, relationships. So much has changed, you know, since COVID. Michael, I don’t know how many events you and I went to, whether they were conferences, meetings, etc., where, you know, you’ve got to kind of build some trust and relationship building just by being there or having other people visit you. Certainly, our in person contact, Michael, I think it’s been a year since I’ve seen you in person, let alone anybody else.
Michael: Yeah, I was talking about that with somebody recently. Like, yeah, we were even talking about Mardi Gras this year and all those kinds of things how New Orleans, you know, so much shut down. And I was talking with some people from different parts of the world, like, “Oh, I just, you know, I can’t wait to go to New Orleans again.” I was like, “I can’t wait to go to New Orleans again.” Like, I’m really excited about actually going out and seeing those things again. Yeah. So interactions in any space right now look completely different than they did two years ago.
Scott: It’s also an opportunity. So, yes, I used to say to all of my clients, “Hey, come on down we’ll feed you.” And it’s true. I would definitely be happy to feed you. Come on down when things are safe and we will feed you.
But getting back to the opportunity side, because now you really are not traveling, it does give you the opportunity to connect with people online. I wasn’t on LinkedIn as much, I wasn’t on Facebook as much, etc. And so those types of meetings, those types of conversations, I should say, that are online on those different platforms are certainly much more acceptable now.
Michael: Right. That’s very true.
Everybody, I always appreciate that you tune in that you’re listening to the show here. I wanted to let you know that we have set up a new newsletter that you can get to at paradigmshift.health, that’s paradigmshift.health, you can go there. And the reason that we’ve got this newsletter is that we’d like to send out a few extra pieces of information with the show. We also have a full transcript for every single episode that we do and we can let you know that through email, we can let you know also if we have, like, a good “Card” to be able to show for every episode. So check that out if you’d like, paradigmshift.health, thanks so much.
Jared: There’s a component of this that actually came up in a recent Twitter chat about whether . . .like where the line is between personal and business social media presence. And I thought that was interesting because it’s evolved a little bit too. I think, because of the pandemic, there are those who in this Twitter chat who were saying, like, they’ve always wondered kind of where that line is. And they used to share a lot of personal things, but they basically had only a professional presence on social media. I think they were mostly referring to Twitter and Facebook, and they were going back several years in their example.
But they said, then they just got the feeling like, you know, these are not things that I want to share with, all my colleagues, you know, or people who know me professionally, they just don’t know that side of me. So they kind of took a step back and wondered, well, maybe there should be a bigger line there then than they thought.
And there was kind of the other side of that of people who were like, you know what? I didn’t used to … like that line used to be a lot bigger, but then COVID hit, and I realized that those are the people who I wanted to share some of the personal things that are happening in my life. Because they were people who were either coworkers or colleagues or people you were in a networking group with that you used to meet with face-to-face or you saw them at a conference. And you’re like, you know what? Those parts of our lives have kind of blended together now, and we only have online. I just need to, you know, I want to share this with you and I want to find out the same kinds of things about your life.
So I think there are more people who are in that camp of, like, the line has blurred like they’re sharing more, they kind of let down the walls. And I’m sure there’s people on both sides of that, the others who have felt like, “Yeah, I just don’t really feel comfortable sharing as much anymore.” But it’s just interesting how that part of things has changed as well. And it is an important thing because you can overshare with professional colleagues. When you think you’re building a relationship and you’re like, “Okay, you know what, yeah, that’s your fourth meal pic of the day. You know, I’m good. I’m good.”
Scott: “I’m good now. I’m good. Yeah, I agree with you. And that’s on a personal basis, you have to figure out, you know, what’s the right balance? I mean, with us personally, you know, Intra Company, I’ve learned more about everybody’s significant others, children, etc., and happily, may I add.
So you know, finding that right balance, I think that’s a personal thing. But you’re right about that. And depending on the platform you’re on, I think that has a lot to be said to for what you’re going to talk about and what you’re not going to talk about. That can be a whole. . .it’s a little separate podcast.
I wanted to talk a little bit about the minus side, which we were talking to a client of ours, Michael, and I think they wanted to be on every single platform that that was possible and. . .
Michael: I mean, if there’s a platform to be on, why wouldn’t you be on every single channel? No, no, please don’t please.
Scott: Please don’t do that. Right. You know, along those lines, how many times have we started meeting with a client, and this is as small as a one-person practice all the way up to a fairly large-sized company, where, yeah, we have a Facebook page, but you know, we really haven’t been on it for a few years? Okay. Why do you still have a page? So, yeah, I do think you got to be smart about what. . .you have to understand the consequences of being on X, whatever X is, whether it’s LinkedIn, whether it’s Twitter, whether it’s Facebook. And you’ve got to make sure you’ve got the time and energy to be on those platforms.
Michael: I’m still waiting to see your Tiktok, you know, profile. Like I’ve not seen it yet, but.
Scott: You’re not going to see it. Yeah.
Michael: At any moment now. Yeah, it is interesting. It’s like all of these platforms have their strengths and weaknesses. And I think that that’s been talked about, you know, plenty and plenty. It’s the indecisive company that really struggles because if you are trying to be everywhere, you’ll succeed at being nowhere. You’re never going to get enough of a relationship built with anybody in any of those bases. You’re never going to get any kind of traction because, you know, if you do have a Facebook page, you haven’t touched in two years, like, what’s that doing for you?
We use Facebook very, very sparingly. We have one majorly to show that yes, we do exist, that we do have a company here, but, you know, it’s definitely not the main platform that we’re looking at. And so it really is about where your audiences and where you’re getting responses from people and who you’re getting them from. Is this the right crowd for you?
Scott: Yeah, it really is going back to that whole conversation. What am I trying to accomplish online? You know, because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to somebody, and they’ll say like, “I want to be a better Tweeter.” A good indication that they don’t know what Twitter is. And I’m always like, “All right, why?” “Well, everybody’s on it.” “Okay, that’s a good start. But is that really the answer that you’re looking for?” So, you know, I do think being on the platform, because it exists is not a good answer. You know, there needs to be some reasoning behind it.
Michael: Right. And then those kinds of things do come up after someone has. . .either they’ve heard of a podcast episode, or they’ve attended a conference, or they’ve read a blog post about some of your marketing basics, but they don’t have any context for it. And so they do just assume like, that’s all you need to do. Well, why aren’t we on Tiktok? Why are we on Snapchat? And there needs to be an expectation that you can have a conversation about that and understand that that might not be the answer for what makes sense for your business.
It’s just interesting how digital has blurred that line because it used to, back in the pre-digital days, if you’re like, “Hey, I just went to the doctor’s office and you know, ” so again, this is dating myself, “but I read a magazine, I read Golf Digest in the waiting room. I think we ought to advertise our business in that magazine.” “Why?” “Well, because it was there.” Like, that wouldn’t make sense to anybody. It’d be like, that’s a waste of your marketing budget. But that’s kind of where those conversations go, just because it’s like, well, it’s the hot thing like, somebody is talking about Tiktok, so we need to be there because it’s there. So that’s a really great point.
And then I think when we’re looking at, you know, that leads to the question of, what’s a good number of places to be? That’s not a clear, concise, simple answer, either. I can take a guess here, you know, in terms of just based on experience of, say, you know, small and mid-size medtech companies, healthcare organizations, health tech companies. They do seem to be in more than one place. I think I’ve typically seen maybe, you know, two, three, four at the most and different platforms. And that usually doesn’t mean all of them are updated in the same way because they shouldn’t be. The content should be different for each platform. And that’s part of the decision-making of determining where you want to be. Because part of it’s like, “Where can we just like own this? Where can we own the conversation? Where do we provide the most value? Where do we get the most value?”
If somebody is really not good at writing, he may not want to be like on Medium, for example, which is essentially a blogging site. If you’re really not good at taking pictures, please don’t go on Instagram, like, just don’t, you don’t need to be there. Just realize, like, part of it really is your strengths and weaknesses.
Scott: Yeah, and you know, what your passions are, right? I mean, it’s important that if you think Facebook, or LinkedIn, or Instagram is the answer for you, and there’s a good strategy behind it, that’s great, but somebody still has to do it. And to your point, let’s say Medium is great, you know, this is where you want to be for whatever reason for the company, well, then you better have somebody assigned to it that likes to write, to your point, right, or a photographer or somebody who likes taking photographs, at least for Instagram, etc. These are kind of critically important things. Because it “may be free” to be on Twitter or Facebook at owl, but it’s not, you’re going to spend time and energy and resources to make that work. And you need to make sure it fits within your overall strategy.
Michael: To jump on that, I know that LinkedIn is a good platform for us as a company. I know that it’s good for me personally, connecting with people that, you know, I’m meeting through these different contexts. I’ve set myself a goal of how often I’m trying to post a week and all of that kind of stuff because that’s just how I’m wired. And so, I start today and I’m like, “Today, I’m posting to LinkedIn, it’s going to happen. I’m going to post to LinkedIn.” And then it’s 3:00, “I’m going to post to LinkedIn.” And then it’s the end of the day and I’m going, “Dang it, I’m going to post it to LinkedIn tomorrow. Tomorrow, I’m totally going …”
And it really is, like, you really do have to carve out time for these kinds of things, especially when it comes to something like LinkedIn. Like, I find that platform to be a bit more. . .if it’s used well, like introspective, you know, having some level of sharing your learnings, sharing something that’s more than just, “Hey, go click on my link,” kind of thing. And so you know, to really write something that’s going to be really helpful, or a good conversation starter or something like that. It’s not something where you can just sit down, take two minutes, post something and move on. And if you are, please contact me at Michael@, because I would love to be that faster. But it does, you have to stop and think. There is an investment that you have to make in this space.
Jared: A hundred percent. Well, I mean, that kind of leads us to, I think, what will be our final plus of social media about where you can win, which is just keeping your finger on the pulse of what’s going on. And this really falls under the listening side, which tends to get neglected, you know, maybe it wasn’t completely subconscious why I ended up having this be the last thing that we talked about. Because maybe, it shouldn’t be the last thing I think about, but maybe that’s just myself, like a reminder of like, you need to move this up in importance again.
There used to be a rule of thumb that I would put out there in terms of all the social media time that you spend, whatever the time it is, if it’s one hour a week, if it’s 10 hours a week, whatever that time is, of that time, you should be spending 50% of your time posting and publishing, you know, all the things we’ve been talking about. And then the other 50% of the time, engaging, meaning listening, commenting on other people’s posts, responding to them, sharing their stuff, “Hey, you know, this person had a really good insight.” You know, I’m sharing this and retweeting it or whatever.
But it’s usually a bit jarring to have shared that rule of thumb with people in the past, they’re like, “Wait, you know, I’m usually like 90%, 10%, or 95% publishing and posting.” Because there are a lot of rules of engagement there. So we do have to learn how to do it, right. But the other half of the power of social media, the opportunity for a win is absolutely in listening because that’s where you learn what’s important to the people who you are trying to reach and be relevant to. That doesn’t even necessarily just mean a potential client or customer. That means your own team members, your employees, that means partners, that means others in the supply chain who are sharing things with you.
It means everyone in your ecosystem, for you to learn what’s important to them, that’s invaluable. And that’s where we don’t want that to get swept under the rug either. That should be part of the time that we spend on social media. And the closer you can get that to 50/50. I’m telling you, that’s where the greatest value has come in for me, because then I can . . . it’s a bit of a flywheel, right. Like, you spent a little bit more time listening one week, and you’re like, “Okay, a lot of people are talking about this topic, and I haven’t thought about that at all.”
So let me go next week, and just share some thoughts on that or comment on someone else’s posts on that topic. And then that’s going to lead to something even more relevant than next time. And those people are going to be like you, they’re going to be like, “Oh, hey, you shared something really relevant, you must care about this topic.” And it just kind of builds from there. So I think the momentum effect there of helping people realize that you are listening, it’s one of the more like, finessed areas of social media that just takes some time, at least from my experience. It wasn’t automatic for me to like, know exactly how to do that. But just committing some of that time to do it, and maybe a little bit more than you’d expect, pays off in dividends.
Michael: Absolutely. So you know, Jared is one of my heroes on social media. I’m saying that, and not in a way to butter him up or not a way to just, you know, fill the time here. But I do look up to Jared quite a bit on these platforms. So, definitely seconding what he’s saying there. So we’ve covered five quick items here. Obviously, there’s so many more things that we could look at when it comes to social media. But that’s kind of going to be our refresher topic for the day. You know, pay attention for our next episode where we will conclude this series. Thanks so much for following us on this journey so far. Have a good one
Announcer: Thanks again for tuning in to the “Paradigm Shift of Healthcare.” This program is brought to you by Health Connective, custom marketing solutions for med tech and pharma. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or anywhere you listen to podcasts.