On the Social Media Marketing Frontlines of COVID-19

This is a guest post from Chloe Politis, Director of Digital and Social Media at the Mount Sinai Health System. She’s sharing her experience as a healthcare marketer amid COVID-19.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit New York City, I didn’t expect my roles and responsibilities to change. However, I did know that our social media feeds were going to be full-force COVID-19.

After I watched Governor Cuomo’s press conference announcing that New York City had their first confirmed COVID-19 case, I went back to my desk, and I stared down at my 2020 social media strategy. I said to myself, “this document is not going to waste; it will shape how we will get our audiences through this crisis.”

I knew the social media data was going to transform our messaging and the way we delivered content. I had to be ready for the rapid ways COVID-19 was going to affect not only social media trends but Mount Sinai.

I didn’t know it then, but we saw an uptick of over 1200% in our social media engagement and over 6 million video views generated by our COVID-19 video content as the pandemic continued.

We Joined the COVID-19 Conversation on Social Media Immediately

I didn’t wait for the virus to reach New York before joining the conversation on social media. In January, we developed an infographic to educate our audiences on COVID-19 and how to prevent getting sick. Once that infographic was published, the engagement began flooding in — likes, comments, shares, and link clicks back to our blog.

At that moment, I knew that we took the correct approach, and getting ahead of the conversation was going to be vital in improving our social media presence. This tactic was crucial to how we planned for the COVID-19 pandemic.

We accomplished three goals with this approach:

  • Using visuals (since visual content drives social media engagement)
  • Staying abreast of social media trends
  • Promoting relevant content
Led by @ChloePolitis, the @MountSinaiNYC #COVID19 social media strategy used visual content (since it drives social media engagement), stayed abreast of trends, & promoted relevant content. Click To Tweet

It was easy to think that our strategy and editorial calendars would no longer be of use to us, but I made sure not to put anything on hold. We tied COVID-19 into the various health awareness events.

April is Autism Awareness Month, and we conducted a remote live interview with an expert on how to support individuals with Autism during social isolation. We have made sure to stay relevant in various specialties as it pertains to COVID-19. I want to emphasize “remote.” In just a matter of time, our department was working from home, and I had to be creative and innovative when it came to certain parts of our content. Since we were practicing social distancing, remote interviews, with sometimes not the best webcams, gave our followers authentic content and showed them that we can still connect virtually.

Social Media Connected Me to More Patients Than Ever Before

Our feeds began to run rapidly. We were posting three times the amount each day than we would before the coronavirus. Our notification stream would generate 500 notifications every hour. I never felt as much a part of the patient experience forefront.

Social media is a form of customer service, and we always addressed patient comments and messages, but now the demand for responses was higher. The patients’ fear of the unknown and the anxiety around the news of the spread, led to more patients reaching out to us than ever before.

Plasma Donations and Changes to Operations

When visitor policies changed, new symptoms surfaced, and when we began accepting plasma donations — patients and caregivers had so many questions. I was the first-person patients would speak to before getting connected to a member of our patient relations team or a department within our health system.

My day, however, doesn’t end there. My team and I are working on all aspects of social media:

  • Education and awareness
  • Fundraising
  • Crisis management
  • Influencer marketing
  • Strategic partnerships
  • Videography and graphic design
  • Customer service

Each member of the social media team had their hands within each bucket. The newest to me was influencer marketing. With the help of the dtx company, we were fortunate enough to team up with various influencers such as Martha Stewart, Jimmy Fallon, Ellen DeGeneres and others around the country to help support our fundraising efforts for our frontline staff.

Discovery Inc. even hosted a virtual charity poker tournament to support our COVID-19 response fund. Relationship building was a huge part of our fundraising efforts.

Our Team is Amazed by the Support and Appreciation for Mount Sinai

The rewarding part of this all has been watching everyone come together to support the Mount Sinai community, whether it is through videos of people thanking our frontline heroes, or food donations from local businesses to our various hospital campuses.

The New York neighborhoods that have a Mount Sinai came together to support us, and I have never seen such an outpour of appreciation before, especially at 7 pm, when people begin to clap and cheer for our frontline staff. That is New York’s new happy hour.

So, What’s Our Strategy Now That We’re Passed the COVID-19 Peak?

We are now over the peak in New York, and we see the number of discharges increasing daily. So, what does this mean for our health system?

As a marketing team, we’re all working together to implement a strategy so that our patients feel safe to return for appointments and surgeries when the time comes. On the social media side, my team and I will continue to be transparent with our followers. We’ll provide as much information as they need to let them know that the Mount Sinai Health System puts our patients’ and staff safety first.

The COVID-19 conversation will be here for a while, and we are going to be having two simultaneous conversations: updates on COVID-19 and your day-to-day healthcare.

The COVID-19 conversation will be here for a while, & we're going to have two simultaneous conversations: updates on COVID-19 & your day-to-day healthcare. @ChloePolitis Click To Tweet

I am proud of my team, and it has been an honor and privilege to work beside each member of the social media team at Mount Sinai.

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About Chloe Politis

As the Director of Digital and Social Media at the Mount Sinai Health System, Chloe is responsible for the data-driven development and execution of social media strategy. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Fordham University and a Master of Arts in Health Advocacy from Sarah Lawrence College. Chloe is active in the broader industry as a member of the Forbes Communications Council and a Forbes contributor.