Andrew Worob

Andrew Worob on why storytelling matters at Hospital for Special Surgery

Andrew Worob originally wanted to be a sports reporter before he gave public relations and social media a shot.

I joined HSS because I wanted to share stories that drive a deeper emotional connection.

He says that as a 22-year-old sports reporter interacting with high-profile athletes including Major League Baseball players, he earned a skillset firsthand that translated into better verbal and communication skills with c-level executives and clients when he joined the agency world.

After several years on the agency side working with clients such as DIRECTV and StubHub, Andrew joined Bed Bath & Beyond to lead their social media efforts. “Many agency people will likely tell you they wonder what it's like to actually work on the client-side,” he says, “The opportunity to lead an emerging marketing area with a household name and Fortune 300 company was one I didn't want to pass up.”

At Bed Bath & Beyond, he led the team responsible for paid, earned, and owned social media. He created the social media vision and strategy, grew their social media presences, increased engagement across all platforms, and most importantly was able to prove the ROI of social media.

In 2016, he joined Hospital for Special Surgery as their Associate Director of Social Media.

Social media is like a chess game. You need to strategically move your pieces as things change.

At HSS, he leads a team with one other full-time social media employee as a part of the larger PR team. His responsibilities range from strategy and measurement to customer service and content marketing.

Why move from retail to healthcare? “I was intrigued to tell real stories about real people,” Health member Andrew says. “I gained an unbelievable knowledge of marketing while on the retail side, but I was excited about the opportunity and challenges to work in a hospital-environment where stories and experiences can be shared on a much deeper emotional level.”

He explains that with all social storytelling, you have to focus on three different aspects:

  1. How to educate
  2. How to inform
  3. How to emotionally connect

“From a healthcare perspective, being able to tell inspiring stories of patients overcoming the odds is an incredible opportunity, and one that has to be done correctly in order to drive the response you are looking for.”

This year, his team won an award for sharing one of those inspiring stories.

His team won silver for Best Social Networking at the eHealthcare Leadership Awards by trying something different, Andrew says. They leveraged social media to track a patient's journey from pre-surgery to post-surgery and rehab. She wrote blog posts, recorded video updates, and allowed the audience to follow her experience on HSS’ social media channels.

Throughout the process, they let her tell the story in her own voice. “It's different when you're able to hear directly from the patient,” Andrew says. “This was raw, authentic content that didn’t need any special packaging. The story was truly from the heart.”

And they're looking to share more like it, like this one from a six-year-old treated at their Lerner Children's Pavilion.

They work on patient stories like these on a case-by-case basis, working through the pros and cons, talking with physicians, and getting permission from the patients who are open and eager to participate.

“More than anything, what we do is exciting, inspiring, and challenging.”

He says that there's always more work to be done, and that it's difficult to ever stay satisfied. Andrew recommends building competency in many different aspects of the business, because in this job, you'll likely take on more responsibility.

“I read as many blogs and listen to as many podcasts as I can because I want to soak up as much information as possible,” he says, recommending Social Media Examiner, Brian Solis, Ad Age, Harvard Business Review, and SocialTimes.

“Social media is like a chess game. You need to strategically move your pieces as things change. Otherwise, you'll find yourself falling behind.”

Andrew has been a member of Health since 2016, and before that, was a part of our community since 2013. Follow him on Twitter here.