Parkview Health’s Courtney Leach discusses the evolution of her small team and how they find success

For the month of August, we're highlighting the ways our amazing members at different hospitals achieve big results with tiny teams. And we're kicking off this series with an inside look at the fantastic work Courtney Leach and her team are doing at Parkview Health!

Four years ago, Courtney Leach became Parkview Health's Digital/Social Media Manager — a role that hadn't existed at the hospital before.

The majority of my day is spent doing interviews, writing, and working on the backend to get that content live in the same day. Courtney Leach
“We have communications and marketing nestled under the VP of marketing,” she said. “When I was hired, I fell under the communications side of that because the director at that time was a champion for social media.”

In the following years, her role evolved and she began to cover more functions within social and digital. Her team recently moved out of communications and into the marketing division, which Courtney said has helped them become more aligned.

She now leads Parkview Health's small but powerful social team, consisting of just herself, a Digital Content Specialist, and a three-person, in-house video team.

They're in the midst of a massive website overhaul, so the Digital Content Specialist, Katie, is currently dividing her time between social media and digital functions.

“She primarily handles reputation management and analytics for social,” Courtney said. “We do a lot of reporting back to service lines when they contribute content, and Katie pulls those numbers and puts the reports together.”

They also divide responsibilities up by channel — Katie handles posting to LinkedIn and Pinterest, Courtney handles Facebook and Instagram, and they share Twitter.

According to Courtney, about 90% of the videos the video team creates are for social media, so they also report to her.

Courtney primarily focuses on creating content for Parkview's channels and meeting with service line leaders.

“We try to put out two unique pieces a day,” Courtney said. “The majority of my day is spent doing interviews, writing, and working on the backend to get that content live in the same day.”

Reputation management is generally a key component of her days as well. As complaints or issues come in, Courtney and Katie triage how they'll address them in a timely manner.

The team often has physicians and other clinical team members write posts for the Parkview blog, so Courtney meets regularly with those groups to promote collaboration.

She aims to educate them about why they should be on social media. “We talk about what that process looks like, from the idea all the way to having something go live on the blog and our supporting channels,” she said.

There are 13,000 people working in our healthcare system. Having just two of us on the team makes it difficult to know everything that's going on, and it's an ongoing battle to find stories. Courtney Leach
Those meetings also serve as a way to collect content from events and stories across the hospital.

“There are 13,000 people working in our healthcare system. Having just two of us on the team makes it difficult to know everything that's going on, and it's an ongoing battle to find stories,” said Courtney. “By explaining to those service lines why social is beneficial for them, we hope to do less chasing, and they'll do more sharing on a regular basis.”

Courtney and Katie also report back to service lines once their posts are up on the blog to show the ROI of their contributions.

With just two people creating and distributing content across Parkview's social channels, prioritization is essential.

Courtney said they follow the engagement to determine which channels take priority. Their Facebook page is where the majority of their followers are — with about 52,000 — so in recent years, they've focused on figuring out what people are responding to on Facebook.

“But we also keep which channels are growing quickly in our periphery,” she said. “For example, we were spending so much time focused on Instagram because that was our newest channel. And then, looking at the numbers, we realized LinkedIn is growing a lot faster for us. So, we've tried to make it a priority in the last year because we're seeing a rise in engagement there.”

And, when they come across a great patient story, Courtney and Katie collaborate to decide which channels it should be posted on, and how that content needs to be presented for each channel.

But, Courtney emphasized the blog always comes first.

“That's where all that content lives,” she said. “So if we don't have great content living there, we feel a bit dead in the water. We think of that platform as the foundation from which we share, so the blog is definitely a top priority for us.”

According to Courtney, gathering, writing, and posting content all in the same day can pose significant challenges.

“We'd like to be working at least a week ahead to give ourselves more proofing time,” she said. “With a small team, it can feel like you're chasing your tail to get content out the door, but we're able to address that by playing to each other's strengths.”

Courtney makes a point to understand what Katie excels at and ensures they are able to weigh in on each other's work. They collaborate a lot, but they also leverage their individual strengths to create and share solid content in the quickest way possible.

Despite the hurdles, Courtney and her small team have executed some massive projects — including a unique video for the holidays last year.

The video, called Samaritan Saves Christmas, featured Parkview's “Samaritan” medical helicopter — which functions as a recognizable mascot of the hospital in their region — saving Christmas after Santa's sleigh crashes.

Just stay true to your system's mission and follow those great stories. Courtney Leach
“Only three video team members, Katie, the marketing specialist for Samaritan, and I worked on that project. We had to source live reindeer, script everything, and have a back-up script based on the weather,” said Courtney. “The end product was something we were all so proud of.”

“It was exciting to be so collaborative and open to other people's input,” she said. “We had to be flexible, and when things changed we needed to adapt.” When the video launched, it quickly became their highest engaged post ever.

Moving forward, Courtney is excited for the team to grow and is looking to smooth out the exchange of stories between her team and the communities they serve.

The team is in the process of hiring a digital copywriter to solely work on blog content so Courtney can shift her focus toward strategy.

They've also gone through an internal audit and formed a governance committee with different team members from legal, compliance, and HR.

“That's been substantial in helping us push forward new initiatives to open up some different ways for people to share their stories with us, get people from the health system involved in social media, and make us more accessible to coworkers and the public,” she said.

Courtney said it's easy to get bogged down by numbers and strategies, but at the end of the day, they always find success when they follow the stories.

She said if you talk about people's experiences honestly, compassionately, and authentically, then everything else will fall into place.

“More than a few times, the numbers have been down, and then a great, moving testimonial comes along and it just lifts us back up,” said Courtney. “Just stay true to your system's mission and follow those great stories.”

Courtney Leach has been a member of Health since 2016. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.