Updated January 28, 2020

Summertime usually means hurricanes, strong storms and other natural disasters. If you’re a healthcare marketer, it’s a good idea to be prepared.

It’s important to understand that social media is simply a set of technologies that allow for the widespread distribution of content. We have talked about using social media to create a brand community; a community your audience returns to for trusted advice. How can you harness this power in good times and in bad?

Be Prepared for Almost Anything

Being prepared means planning ahead. Here are some tips for making sure you’re ready for any type of emergency:

Content First: The best way to be prepared for an emergency is to have all your content prepared so you just have to make a few tweaks and press go. At least four times a year, your content teams should audit the critical information you need to have ready in case you experience an emergency. Content you should prepare includes:

  • Where to go for help
  • How to safely boil water
  • How to stay safe when power is out, including avoiding downed power lines and dealing with flooding
  • Instructions for donating time or blood during a crisis

Get Creative: There are so many ways your content can help people in times of crises. Consider using your Facebook pages to publish important articles from around the local area on the emergency.  Add in ways your hospital is helping. Also, let people know about limited services at your healthcare system, including closings, cancellations and approximate wait times. You can give people important information before they leave home. It will prove invaluable to them, and help you keep your core services running smoothly.

Monitor your Social Media Properties: Have a plan in place so that your social media teams are able to monitor your lines during an emergency. That way they can answer and offer help when people have questions. Respond genuinely with sympathy, but don’t give answers if you’re not sure your information is correct. Brand communities are built on trust. Don’t break that feeling of security and promise in an emergency situation; instead know who might have the right answer and direct your audience member to that resource.

Having a crisis communications plan is a must for any healthcare system or hospital with a website.  Your information storefront is open 24/7. Make sure you’re prepared, that you look like you’re listening and be proactive when appropriate. Your audience will remember you and thank you for it at some point.


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