In 2016, the Franciscan Alliance organization restructured to move their individual hospitals under one overarching brand: Franciscan Health.
And as Social Media Manager at the newly formed brand, Robbie Schneider managed social media for their 12 hospitals across Indiana and Illinois — all as a team of one.
“If I didn't have people working with me from across departments and at the individual hospitals to help provide and curate content, I would really be in trouble,” said Robbie.
To manage the load as a team of one, Robbie had to identify and zero-in on their strategic priorities on social media.
After the reorganization, Robbie found they couldn't merge their accounts on Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube and would instead have to set up new brand identities. As a result, she knew it would take much longer to build their networks and reactivate those channels.
“In the meantime, we looked at channels where we were already investing a lot of time and had an engaged audience,” she explained. “For us, that meant Facebook. So most of our initial emphasis was reestablishing Facebook channels for the different hospitals.”
Once she established Facebook as the primary channel for Franciscan Health, Robbie sought to make sure all content they were putting out was relevant.
“We looked at Facebook engagement data to see which posts perform best during which times of day,” said Robbie. “We knew image-driven posts and business posts perform well during the day, but we didn't want to put out health information until the evening when people have time to engage.”
But Robbie also emphasized this information changes from month to month. “I'm trying to make a point of keeping our strategy based on this data up to date,” she said. “I have to be aware that it varies by platform, by audience, and by time of year. So paying attention to those changes has helped guide our content strategy on social.”
Through these steps, Robbie has been able to expand the organization's social footprint.
Robbie said since beginning this process in 2016, she has seen a big difference in the traffic to their website coming from specific platforms — even without considering their paid advertising on Facebook.
“We saw our organic website traffic go up from every single social media channel we're active on in the last year,” she said. “It may not be the fastest process to be a team of one or two, but you can certainly make things happen.”
Another important factor to this success was her extensive work in content curation and planning.
“That work involves not only meeting with marketing teams and publications teams, but really tapping into every communications team across our organization,” she explained. “And we had to have buy-in with our stakeholders, because social media is very fluid, and we need to have a plan we can move with and shift on a daily basis.”
“That networking with my organization makes a big difference,” she said. “Now if I want to do something with natural health, I have a family medicine physician who gets excited about writing blogs for me. And those kinds of connections really expand my capacity as a small team.”
She also recommends repackaging content across different platforms and mediums for an easy win.
“If you're developing a YouTube video about a patient education piece, you can transcribe it and turn it into a blog piece, then take excerpts of it for an infographic,” she explained.
She said one of her great successes in the last year involved repackaging existing content from a blog article they did on The MIND Diet. When she saw that U.S. News and World Report published their list of the 10 top diets and The MIND Diet was number four, they repackaged and re-ran that content with some additional information to get additional traction for both pieces.
According to Robbie, partnering with other organizations to share content has also been helpful for expanding their reach.
For example, Robbie worked closely with the person behind social media at Partnership for a Healthier Johnson County, a health organization in their region, to pool their information together. “I send her a list of potential post topics she can share on social media,” explained Robbie. “Providing that information makes her job easier and also helps us extend our reach to different audiences.”
As their platform engagement has grown, Robbie is now dedicating more time to customer care and telling stories on their social media channels.
“We don't want to only post about health news, so we want to start really investing that time in telling employee and patient stories,” she said. “We know at the end of the day, people connect with people, and we want to make sure that is still a strong part of our social media strategy.”
For anyone else tackling social media as a small team, Robbie recommended prioritizing your channels to maximize meaningful engagement with audiences.
“Don't try to take on everything at once,” she said. “We didn't add Instagram or Pinterest until we had our processes in place for Facebook and could build on our successes. You need to tap into the resources you have available and then grow as you're able.”
Robbie also emphasized the importance of meeting people where they are. She said by taking the time to actively engage with people on social media, they've been able to build a presence that reflects the compassionate care of their organization.
“Don't be afraid to fail and to be transparent,” she said. “It's important to be able to properly respond to somebody's issue and be transparent with them. Transparency reminds people that behind this technology behemoth, there are people really trying to make things right for you in the world.”
Robbie Schneider has been a member of the SocialMedia.org Health since 2016. You can follow her on LinkedIn.