Social media and the independent healthcare practice

“We have to be on Facebook—like right now! (Don’t we?)”

In our conversations with healthcare practices, the subject of social media inevitably comes up: “Do you think we should be on social media? Do we need a Facebook page or Twitter account?” No matter the practice or specialty, our answer is always the same:

“It depends!”

The longer answer
Many people feel that having a social media presence is mandatory for their practice. Realistically, there are a few practical questions that need to be answered. The first relates directly to your practice specialty and its type and frequency of patient interaction.

How often do your providers see their patients, and why? This can directly affect any social media plan. Patient populations that are being treated for an ongoing condition like allergies or diabetes could benefit from tips, advice or links to outside resources to educate and support them between visits. One of our clients, Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center, shares pollen counts and forecasts during allergy season via Twitter and Facebook. This helps in their treatment plan, and builds loyalty and potential referrals to friends and family.

By contrast, if patient interaction is more “one-and-done” in nature (think emergency surgery), there may be no compelling reason for an ongoing dialog in social media channels. You could find your practice in the position of struggling to find something to say, then wondering if anyone is listening.

Does your practice offer ancillary services? Showcasing these highly-profitable offerings on social media is a friendly way to make existing
and potential patients aware of additional services or products they may find beneficial.

Does your staff take part in cancer walks, or run in 10Ks, collect and donate school supplies, or speak to students about the importance of exercise or proper nutrition? Another strong argument in favor of social media is to utilize it as a forum to share your staff’s community involvement and outreach. A few photos and a line or two about the experience would be perfect on Facebook or Instagram.

The social media prescription
Planning is always a key to success. For any social media presence to grow and flourish, it needs proper care and feeding. Content needs to be developed and shared on a consistent basis to gain and hold the attention of your audience. Comments must be acknowledged and opportunities for positive dialog must be cultivated.

  • Develop an editorial calendar
  • Identify topics of interest for your audience and designate who will be responsible for gathering information and/or writing the content
  • Plan ahead to share practice involvement with health fairs or community events, or providers appearing on television news, or as panelists on NPR, etc.
  • Develop a policy on dealing with critical posts or comments from outside your practice. The potential for dialog in social media is a double-edge sword. Followers like the idea of accessibility and immediacy that social media provides, but your practice must protect against unreasonable or vitriolic attacks.
  • Make sure that multiple people — inside and/or outside of your practice — are monitoring your social media channels.

Execution is key
Second to having a plan is having dedicated resources to implement that plan. Do you have someone within the walls of your organization that can take the lead in your social media efforts? Does he or she have strong writing skills? Can he or she strike the proper tone and personality that best represent your practice in the social media space? Is he or she responsive and diplomatic when confronted by a criticism or complaint? Do you need outside help to assist your staff? These are important executional questions that need to be answered as well.

If you would like to learn more, request our healthcare marketing e-book here.

Go Big or Go Home: OrthoCarolina Airport Graphics

One of the many reasons we love working with Blair Primis and the marketing team at OrthoCarolina is that they are always looking for new and interesting ways to build their brand. One perfect example is their most recent branding campaign at CLT. We had the distinct pleasure of brainstorming and designing giant wall graphics, moving sidewalk graphics and rotunda graphics. The biggest challenge by far were the graphics for the moving sidewalks. How in the heck do we cover three different walks, one that was a whopping 206’9″? As we were first designing concepts, we shied away from using OrthoCarolina’s orange as the main color, as we were afraid it would be too bold. But after considering the context of the airport—which can be a bit drab—we decided to swing for the fence. Our absolute favorite of the three (see image above) features silhouettes of travelers: some are pulling suitcases behind them, one is a basketball player— there’s even one of a man on bended knee proposing to his girlfriend!

Mark and I recently got to accompany the OC team to see the tactics live at the airport. We knew from the dimensions provided on the spec sheets that they’d be big, but NOTHING could prepare us for how awesome they looked in the actual space. So FUN! We can’t wait to see what the next creative challenge brings!

Click each image to expand in new window.


GUTS 2014

This past weekend was the 6th Annual GUTS competition. I made sure to check it out since I knew lots of people competing and also had heard about how cool it was in the past years. If you haven’t heard of GUTS, it’s a friendly pumpkin carving competition organized by Crafted and co-hosted by AIGA. The competition is open to local and regional creative professionals that want to test their pumpkin carving skills, and more importantly, they were able to raise $27,000 for the brave kids of The Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The team over at Crafted did an amazing job this year of organizing and running the event, which included watching some great carving action, music, beer and a new voting category – “The Peoples Choice Award” ( Congrats to The BOLT Group for winning!)

With only 90 minutes to carve, it was pretty exciting to watch as the teams quickly worked. The Opus 59 Team is definitely thinking we have what it takes to compete next year! Check out the photos we took at the event of the carving in action and head over to the GUTS page to see the winners this year!

Happy Halloween from Opus 59!


The 3 D’s of Branding

When marketing a business or service, it’s hard sometimes to turn the corner from being reactive to being proactive. But in today’s economic landscape, it has never been more important to do just that. Today’s discerning customer is constantly looking for compelling reasons to choose one business or service over another. In essence, it comes down to your “brand promise.” When defining a brand, we think of it in terms of the 3 D’s. What makes it Distinctive, Desirable and Deliverable? Let us help discover and define the 3 D’s of your brand.

Getting to the Point

As we collectively continue to embrace quick information and social media, our attention span shrinks. In marketing, your audience expects you to get to the point in 140 characters or less. They hover for the skip button less than 5 seconds into a 15-second advertisement before a video on YouTube. Their patience is limited, and if you want to get your message across, you better do it quickly. This is an obvious challenge when it comes to marketing complex ideas or lengthy narratives.

Infographics are a great solution for this problem, allowing your audience to digest your message in bite-size portions.

We used this approach for National Amateur Sports (NAS) to show the marketing opportunities and mutual benefits gained from sponsoring high school and middle school athletic events as well as to help NAS gain the attention of high-level school administrators.  To quote our client, “You’ve put our entire business model into an infographic!”

Is Your Logo on Trend?


Have you been considering updating your logo? GDUSA put together a list of current trends in logo design. Each logo style has an explanation of why that approach works and what type of company or brand lends itself to that particular mark. Are you trying to underscore your company’s deep-rooted heritage? Try using a crossed logo to invoke images of crossed swords and family crests. For more tips on utilizing these logo trends, click here.