Kristen-Holland-Shear

Kristen Holland Shear shared how she and her team revitalized UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Pinterest page and grew engagement

Kristen Holland Shear, Director of Digital and Social Media at UT Southwestern Medical Center, said her team has had a branded Pinterest account set up for more than five years. But, with the rise of Facebook and Instagram, their use of the platform had lost momentum.

That was, until they started seeing an increasing number of users come to their Pinterest pages for heart content they had created years ago.

People were engaging with us so we decided, while it may not be our biggest platform, we needed to engage back with them. Kristen Holland Shear
“The posts we had up continued to get likes, shares, and comments,” said Kristen. “People were engaging with us so we decided, while it may not be our biggest platform, we needed to engage back with them.”

She and her team started working to figure out how they could get back on the platform and provide really rich content to their audience — without using all their resources.

They started research on their audience segments and different content options in the summer of 2018, then kicked off their new posting strategy in August.

Kristen said they wanted to figure out what people were already engaging with — if it was general content or the content that made them stand out as an academic medical center — so they did a deep dive on where their audience was engaging.

“We found there was a lot of interest in nutrition and exercise,” she said. “But, more than that, we found wherever there was an opportunity for us to provide content that helped our audience actively do something — whether it’s providing recipes from one of our dietitians or exercise advice from our exercise physiologist — that yielded the best response.”

Beyond diet- and exercise-focused content, Kristen and her team started mapping out areas where they saw opportunities and room to grow.

Pinterest

They found the best place to focus their priorities and pull ideas for content was from their master calendar.

“We started taking the calendar and looking at where there were days or months we could use for posts that would also fit into our institutional strategy,” Kristen explained. “We compared that to where we saw some opportunity on Pinterest and started mapping out what those posts would look like.”

We're trying to find topics that people want to talk about, but also relate to our larger brand. Kristen Holland Shear
For example, for Yoga Month — which Kristen said isn’t something they historically talked about — they put together three posts that tied into work underway at UT Southwestern’s Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute, including a post on mindfulness exercises which also tied into a Facebook Live chat they did on resilience.

“We’re trying to find topics that people want to talk about, but also relate to our larger brand,” she explained. “We try to post three times a week.”

According to Kristen, their goals on Pinterest were twofold: driving more visitors to their newsroom and increasing traffic on their blog.

“We’ve seen tremendous engagement from the posts so far,” said Kristen. “Last June and July, when we were just starting to think about Pinterest again, an average post got about 100 impressions. Now the average post is getting over 1,000 impressions, and we’ve gone from 100 views to close to 600 views for every post.”

She said the big increases they’re seeing is one of the reasons why they’ve continued to invest time in the platform, and they hope to grow it more in the future.

Kristen said one challenge was while they grew their engagement on the platform, they weren’t able to grow their team.

Now the average post is getting over 1,000 impressions, and we've gone from 100 views to close to 600 views for every post. Kristen Holland Shear
“We were working with limited resources,” Kristen explained. “So when we started out, we would reach out to staff we work with across campus and ask them if they were going to events and could help us by providing photos and at least a draft of written content — because we just couldn’t cover everything.”

She said they had to work to prioritize where they spent their energy and make shifts within the team.

“I had somebody on my team that was almost entirely focused on Instagram, and when we started this, I told her she’d also have to focus some time on Pinterest,” said Kristen. “So we had to pull back a little bit with some of the Instagram frequency without sacrificing quality.”

They plan out their Pinterest content a month in advance.

“We like to plan far in advance on this platform and focus our content on specific observance days or months to help us manage the workload, while sticking to topics we know will be relevant for our organization,” said Kristen. “This isn’t a platform where we post content on the fly.”

And, according to Kristen, they knew they wanted to follow that process from the start. “Planning that far ahead is not something that’s typical for us, but we thought it would be the best way to work with everything else we had going on,” she explained. “When we launched in August, we had posts ready for September and October.”

Pinterest

Kristen credited much of their success to collaboration efforts both within her team and across the organization.

“Around the time we started this, we were just starting to talk about our priorities in terms of observance months and days — we didn’t have a set idea of what was important to all of our different service lines,” said Kristen. “That was challenging, because it involved a lot more personal interactions with people in the office asking what they cared about.”

This isn't a platform where we post content on the fly. Kristen Holland Shear
But through that work, they were able to put together an overarching marketing and communications calendar that puts organizational priorities front and center.

She also emphasized that the work of a strategist and her two contractors — who produced most of the content for their Pinterest posts — helped take the project to the next level.

“One of our most successful campaigns was one they came up with. It was a ‘better health challenge’ for early January that performed phenomenally well,” said Kristen. “That was something we hadn’t done before, so it was exciting to see that response.”

Moving forward, Kristen already has a few ideas for ways she wants to evolve their content on the platform.

In the spring, she is planning to test the “Try a Pin” function that recently launched on the platform with members of the UT Southwestern community. Through this function, they will be able to encourage followers to make or follow the steps of a pin and post themselves doing it.

“So we might post a recipe or a workout routine and encourage people to do it and post about their experience,” Kristen explained. “That’s something I’m really excited to try.”

She’s proud of what they’ve been able to achieve so far on the platform.

“I’m excited about the success that we’ve seen and that people really want to engage with us on this platform,” said Kristen. “It’s really wonderful that people in our audience see content from UT Southwestern and comment on it and pin it to their boards.”

Looking at three or four main ideas and service lines that are really important to you -- at least at first -- is really important. Kristen Holland Shear
She also said their work on the platform has helped them connect with a younger audience than they’re used to on other platforms.

“We typically cater to a much older audience just because of the type of medical center we are, and we’re often the last place you go if you can’t get something answered anywhere else,” she explained. “But on this platform, we’re seeing younger people engage with us, and so we’re able to put out content more directed at them — like content related to parenting young kids or going offline for the holidays.”

For anyone looking to make a similar push on the platform, Kristen recommends staying focused on topics that are the most valuable for your organization.

“Looking at three or four main ideas and service lines that are really important to you — at least at first — is really important,” she said. “When we first did this, we tried to be too broad and it wasn’t really strategic, but now we’re trying to really focus and fill the gaps with these observance days that are relevant, and it’s a better system. So don’t try to do too much.”

And although they had to figure out how to incorporate it into their strategy without growing their team, Kristen emphasized it has all been worth it for them. “There’s nothing negative about this. It takes a lot of work and planning, but the results we’re seeing are already surpassing all my expectations,” she said. “It’s a relatively little amount of work for a big payoff.”

Kristen Holland Shear has been a member of SocialMedia.org Health since 2016. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter.

Caroline-Aiken-McGee

Caroline Aiken-McGee shared how she and her team built UPS’ employee ambassador program from the ground up to improve engagement across their social channels

According to Caroline Aiken-McGee, who manages social media education and governance at UPS, when the social media team was formed in Q1 of 2012, the organization — across the board — was hesitant about employees posting and potentially getting themselves in trouble on social media.

Now, due to a robust employee ambassador program and its intensive training modules, employees are an invaluable part of UPS’s success on its social media channels.

Early in 2014 Caroline and her team kicked off their first social media training modules.

We provided in-house training where we had hands-on sessions to review the tool ambassadors would use to engage with customers and fans. Caroline Aiken-McGee
“We initially wanted to focus on social media training and guidelines that could provide employees with basic information about the platforms that were out there — as well as some of the do’s and don’ts — to take away some of their fear about using social media,” said Caroline.

They started out with two modules: one for social media principles and best practices, and the other for employees tasked with managing a company-branded channel.

Then, as the social media team continued running more (and larger) campaigns on their channels, they saw a new opportunity to incorporate employees in social media — as official employee ambassadors.

“At the time, we had six or seven members on the social team,” said Caroline. “But the number of conversations we were being asked to engage with during some campaigns was tremendous. We work closely with the agents who handle customer concerns, and they are always active 24/7, but with our staff, we aren’t large enough to provide the expanded coverage needed to engage in a timely fashion. So we thought about asking a few employees to serve as social media ambassadors to help with certain campaigns.”

We trained them on how to flag a comment for help if they were unsure what to do or thought it deserved more scrutiny. Caroline Aiken-McGee
The idea of the social media ambassador was to help drive positive outcomes in their social engagement during times of heavy traffic, engage with their fans and followers, and proactively surface potentially controversial conversations on their channels.

The social team presented the idea to their department manager and, once it was approved, set about finding employees interested in becoming ambassadors, deciding how the ambassadors would engage on the channels, and putting together the training that would make the program a success for its 2014 launch.

For the launch, they found 23 volunteer ambassadors, but not all of them were comfortable on every social channel or fluent in social media etiquette.

To make them comfortable posting on behalf of the company, Caroline led a team of writers, designers, and developers to create a series of web-based modules — each between 45 minutes and an hour — to teach ambassadors the different aspects of their role and the channels they would be using. With each module, ambassadors were presented a series of questions so they could look at the responses and see where they still had gaps to fill.

With the help of the ambassadors, we were able to be active on our social channels for a lot longer over the course of the day. Caroline Aiken-McGee
“After the modules, we provided in-house training where we had hands-on sessions to review the tool ambassadors would use to engage with customers and fans as well as the different social channels they would use,” explained Caroline. “We also created spreadsheets specific to each campaign that listed the different type of comments they might encounter on each channel and suggested responses to give them an idea of what a proper response should look like — tone, information, and length.”

Though Caroline emphasized that they didn’t want ambassadors to copy and paste responses and to use the suggestions as a guide to personalize them, she said this tactic was particularly helpful for people who weren’t comfortable with all channels.

According to Caroline, the number one concern of leadership and potential ambassadors was which social accounts they would use to engage with customers.

“We decided early on they wouldn’t be using their own accounts to respond,” said Caroline. “Instead, they would use the official company Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram channels — and that helped ease the ambassadors’ minds.”

But they didn’t want them natively logging into the official UPS channels either. “We didn’t want 20 different people logging into UPS accounts,” said Caroline. “So we gave them unique credentials for our SMMS tool — which at the time was Percolate — so we could keep track of them.”

Because of that decision, Caroline and her team also had to train the ambassadors on how to appropriately use the SMMS tool.

Having those additional eyes on the channel helps the team recognize some surprise-and-delight moments that we may have missed, or comments that deserve extra attention. Caroline Aiken-McGee
After they completed their on-site training, they were asked to log in to the SMMS tool and watch how the social team responded and engaged with customers and fans.

“This method has proven to be very helpful to new ambassadors to become familiar and comfortable with the entire process,” explained Caroline. “In addition, we trained them on how to flag a comment for help if they were unsure what to do or thought it deserved more scrutiny.”

She also said that, although ambassadors aren’t required to be familiar with each platform they monitor, they are encouraged to create their own accounts to become familiar with how the channel works.

After the first group of ambassadors completed their training in August of 2014, they officially launched the program in November — just in time for UPS’ big Wishes Delivered campaign.

Wishes Delivered, which runs between Thanksgiving and Christmas every year, sees UPS fans and customers sharing heartwarming and inspirational stories across their social channels — and it’s one of UPS’ largest annual campaigns.

We look for new ambassadors each year when we're looking to renew the program, and we always have new employees who are interested after hearing about it through word of mouth. Caroline Aiken-McGee
“With the help of the ambassadors, we were able to be active on our social channels for a lot longer over the course of the day,” said Caroline. “The social channels never shut down, so the ambassadors help us keep them alive, even after the dedicated social media team packs up for the day.”

When they are running a campaign, ambassadors sign up for time slots between 7 AM and 10 PM EST, which Caroline said has made a huge difference in their ability to engage.

“Having those additional eyes on the channel helps the team recognize some surprise-and-delight moments that we may have missed, or comments that deserve extra attention,” said Caroline. “And on the other side of that, if they see a complaint that hasn’t been addressed, they can escalate it to the customer care team so they can respond.”

Since its launch, Caroline said that the program has been a huge internal success.

“The program has grown, even outside of the initial department,” explained Caroline. “We look for new ambassadors each year when we’re looking to renew the program, and we always have new employees who are interested after hearing about it through word of mouth.”

Because we're human, when an ambassador is responding or replying to a comment, you've got to allow room for error. Caroline Aiken-McGee
Their number of ambassadors increases nearly every year and, as of 2016, has grown to include employees outside of the corporate office in Atlanta.

To accommodate this new growth and changes in their social media strategy, Caroline and her team provide the training every year — even to the repeat ambassadors. “I don’t take anything for granted,” said Caroline. “So I always encourage our recurring ambassadors to retake the modules, and I can’t think of a time when they haven’t all attended.”

As for anyone looking to develop a similar program, Caroline advises being understanding of your ambassadors and getting the buy-in from the right people.

“Because we’re human, when an ambassador is responding or replying to a comment, you’ve got to allow room for error,” said Caroline. “I always tell them not to beat themselves up about a spelling error in a tweet or something like that. But at the same time, we have to look at how we want to address it when those mistakes happen. You have to have a plan in place.”

She also said it’s important to make sure leadership understands what you are trying to do and is in alignment with it. “Part of how you do that is in explaining the positives of an ambassador program and how it will help your overall social media program and your team,” she explained. “Then, make sure you put some kind of training in place to ensure they will be successful.”

Caroline Aiken-McGee has been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2012. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter.

The Shortlist: Trend Micro, KFC, Southwest Airlines, and more

Trend Micro Head of Global Social Media Ingrid Kibler shared how she and her team worked to humanize their brand voice across their social media platforms. SocialMedia.org Blog >>

KFC is celebrating Valentine's Day with a Reddit contest encouraging fans to create Colonel- and fried chicken-inspired artwork for a chance to win a date-night package. Marketing Dive >>

Nike released their new 'Fight for Your Dream' series on IGTV to highlight inspiring stories of everyday athletes. Mobile Marketer >>

Dove, Gillette, Apple, Tide, Always, Airbnb, and Under Armour were spotlighted as brands that have effectively leveraged emotional storytelling across their social media channels. Business 2 Community >>

Southwest Airlines is running a storyteller competition where budding influencers who tag the brand in their travel stories can enter for a chance to win travel opportunities. Forbes >>

Beth Avant was recently promoted to Social Media Manager at Illumina. LinkedIn >>

AAA is hiring a Social Media Marketing Manager for the Auto Club Group to develop social media channel planning practices and support communication and business objectives. (Tampa, FL) AAA Careers >>

Wyndham Destinations is looking for a Social Media Analytics Manager to create listening queries and identify opportunities for engagement on branded and non-branded channels. (Orlando, FL) Wyndham Destinations Careers >>

Allianz Life Insurance Company needs a Social Media Manager for their TruChoice Financial brand to refine their social media strategy and execute, monitor, and report on their channels. (Woodstock, GA) LinkedIn >>

Maggie Dingwell and Lexie Feikema on how they launched Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children’s “Share Your Story” program

This program became a great way to create user-generated content and organize all of the different requests we were getting. Lexie Feikema
Maggie Dingwell and Lexie Feikema, Communications Specialists at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, recently worked together to expand the opportunity to engage with patients — and launched the hospital’s “Share Your Story” program across their blog and social media channels.

The program was born out of the need for a more streamlined way to share patients’ journeys.

“We had gotten a lot of phone calls and emails from our doctors and nurses telling us to go meet certain patients because they could be good ambassadors for the hospital,” Lexie said. But there was no organized system to communicate this type of potential content. “This program became a great way to create user-generated content and organize all of the different requests we were getting,” she said.

The hospital had also just done a website redesign, creating an opportunity for Maggie and Lexie to launch a page on the new site dedicated to the “Share Your Story” initiative.

The team was able to launch on the hospital’s website within a matter of months.

In March 2018, they built a landing page on Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children’s new website. The team did a soft launch of the landing page to collect submissions, and then, in June, they shared their first “Share Your Story” blog post.

We saw this as an opportunity to utilize different pieces of content across our different platforms. Maggie Dingwell
Gathering the information they needed for every “Share Your Story,” the landing page included a questionnaire for patients or patient family members to fill out. Most of the fields are not mandatory, so they can give as much or as little detail as they want.

Then, the information was put into a Smartsheet. “It basically aggregates information into a spreadsheet and everybody on our team who’s involved in ‘Share Your Story’ has access to it, ” Lexie said. “We set up notifications so everybody gets an alert when there’s a new submission, and it gives you a brief outline of what that submission is.”

Lexie and Maggie said the stories they receive can be used to create different types of content for different platforms.

Maggie explained that before launching this program, they had mostly siloed content into different channels. “We saw this as an opportunity to utilize different pieces of content across our different platforms,” she said.

For example, sometimes the team takes videos and cuts them into shorter clips for Facebook, then uses the same content as a photo on Instagram or has the patient or patient family write a blog post.

“It’s a great way for people to learn more about our patients while not being bogged down with a six-minute video,” she said.

In order to streamline story collection, Lexie and Maggie made a point to train the hospital staff on the program.

Their team presented to each different clinical department, outlining the “Share Your Story” initiative and how they could help. The nurses and doctors are the main touchpoints patients have at the hospital, so getting them on board was essential to obtaining as many patient stories as possible.

Now that everyone can be a creator through their phones, we thought this would be a great chance for us to capitalize on that. Lexie Feikema
After each presentation, they asked the teams for their opinions and feedback on the program. They also created postcards and handed them out to the clinical staff. “They show all of our different social media handles and explain how patients can go to the website to share their story,” Lexie shared.

“If they know of a patient that might be good, they can direct them right to the form,” Maggie said. “And that creates more organization and doesn’t necessarily put the family on the spot.”

The goals of the “Share Your Story” program have evolved.

According to Lexie, before the program was launched, the team had been spending a lot of time creating content. “Now that everyone can be a creator through their phones, we thought this would be a great chance for us to capitalize on that,” she said.

Maggie explained that when the program was launched, they had just been looking for a convenient and time-efficient way to communicate and organize patient stories internally.

We think of it as vault to keep content to then use for blog posts, Facebook or Instagram photos, or even long-form videos. Maggie Dingwell
As the program has grown, it’s gone from just an organizational system to a way to aggregate and store user-generated content for future use across their channels. “We think of it as vault to keep content to then use for blog posts, Facebook or Instagram photos, or even long-form videos,” Maggie said.

Because each patient story can be used in a variety of ways, Maggie said they also use “Share Your Story” content for other campaigns too. “It’s a resource for our other efforts such as patient education or expert highlights,” she said. “A lot of these patients have such great things to say about their doctors that we can build off of.”

Maggie also explained that over time, the team and the program have become more organized.

“We meet quarterly to go over the submissions we get,” she said. The team working on “Share Your Story” discusses how the content can be used and which forms each story can take. Then, a designated person follows each patient and their family through the process.

“They make the initial call when we get submissions,” Maggie said. “We’ll interview the patient and their family to just get a feel for who they are and how long they’ve been with us, to help us gauge how involved we want to get with the story.”

In its first year, the program has already seen internal and external success.

It's a resource for our other efforts such as patient education or expert highlights. A lot of these patients have such great things to say about their doctors that we can build off of. Maggie Dingwell
Maggie and Lexie have noticed fewer staff members are reaching out to their team for assistance. “They are able to educate families and patients about using the portal and going to our website,” Maggie said. “So that has definitely streamlined the process.”

“I think internally it’s been well received because it also relieves the tension of a nurse having to call our department and track someone down to talk to a family who wants to be featured or express their gratitude,” Lexie explained. “Now, we give the nurses cards to just hand to them.”

Due to the support of their clinical staff, the team has accumulated 41 “Share Your Story” submissions just through the landing page alone — not including organic submissions via Facebook and Instagram.

Lexie credited part of that success to the nature of the program. “Many of our patients feel like this is a way of giving back to the hospital because they know that by sharing their story, other families could actually benefit from learning what they went through,” Lexie said.

“And we can see that people are enjoying the posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter,” Maggie said. The team is currently just tracking engagement through their platforms. But, as Maggie explained, they are in the midst of better understanding their analytics and looking for a benchmark.

To Lexie and Maggie, the biggest challenges have been related to content strategy.

Lexie explained finding ways to use the “Share Your Story” program to promote sports medicine at their new Frisco campus has been their biggest challenge. According to Lexie, that type of content doesn’t typically perform as well as content related to the hospital’s other service lines.

Depending on what team members are included, just be very clear on what content you want to capture from the beginning. Maggie Dingwell
“We’re trying to figure out how to get better engagement on our sports medicine stories,” she said.

Lexie said it’s also important they don’t get overwhelmed by the entries. “We see all these different submissions, and we just want to turn everything into a blog post or video, but we really have to hone in on the strategy of not repeating the same style for each entry,” she explained.

For hospitals considering launching a user-generated content initiative, Lexie and Maggie advised using a similar collaborative spreadsheet tool.

“Depending on what team members are included, just be very clear on what content you want to capture from the beginning,” Maggie said. “So when it gets into the Smartsheet, it’s easy to understand and you’ve collected what you need to make a decision on how to utilize the content.”

Lexie also suggested implementing a vetting process for every submission to avoid discrepancies in the patient stories. “Once we’ve gotten a submission, we take that back to the clinic staff and try to get a little more information,” she explained. “We double check whether they feel like this is a good fit for us brand-wise and that everything checks out logistics-wise.”

Lexie Feikema and Maggie Dingwell have been members of SocialMedia.org Health since 2017. You can connect with Lexie and Maggie on LinkedIn.

The Shortlist: Kimberly-Clark, Capital One, Verizon, and more

Union Bank, Kimberly-Clark, and Emory University recently joined the SocialMedia.org community! Their memberships will be led by Vice President of Social Media Jessica Holloway, Senior Global Consumer Engagement Excellence Leader Curt Clark, and Vice President of Enterprise Communications Doug Busk, respectively. SocialMedia.org Members >>

Logitech VP of Global Communications Krista Todd shared how they created an 'Instagrammable moment' with CES attendees that generated over 95,000 likes and 2,000 comments. PR Week >>

Seth Goldberg, Senior Director of Brand Marketing at Cars.com, discussed their decision to create a social media war room to engage with their audience across their social channels during the Super Bowl instead of relying on a traditional TV ad. Adweek >>

Verizon Executive Director of Brand Management and Marketing Communications Deirdre Robinson talked about their recent campaign that tapped Generation Z activists for a social media campaign to draw attention to educational inequality. The 74 Million >>

Verizon, Kraft Heinz brand Planters, Bud Light, and PepsiCo were spotlighted as the brands who came out on top across digital and social channels for the Super Bowl. Marketing Land >>

Mark Merz was recently hired as Senior Director of Social Media for Cengage. LinkedIn >>

Kyle Blades joined Jacuzzi Group Worldwide as their new Director of Digital Marketing. LinkedIn >>

Campbell Soup Company is hiring a Corporate Media Relations Manager who will be responsible for conceiving and managing a variety of proactive media pitches, and a Manager of Digital Communications to develop their digital communications programs and support their online presence across social media channels. (Camden, NJ)

Kraft Heinz is looking for a Social Media Marketing Manager to lead social engagement and cross-brand opportunities, as well as social listening efforts. (Chicago, IL) Kraft Heinz Jobs >>

Capital One needs a Director of Brand Social Media, Content Engagement, Insights, and Data Analytics to develop internal measurement and reporting agendas across social platforms and manage the Brand Social Engagement Team's communications strategy. (McLean, VA) Capital One Jobs >>

Herbalife Nutrition is hiring a Senior Manager of Executive Social Communications to define and develop their social media strategy and coordinate social media content that builds meaningful connections with their audience. (Los Angeles, CA) Herbalife Nutrition Careers >>

Agata-Smieciuszewski

Agata Smieciuszewski shared how she developed Cedars-Sinai’s “Words of Inspiration” video series to spotlight exceptional employees

I really wanted to show the power of social media through this project. Agata Smieciuszewski
Back in June of 2018, Cedars-Sinai Social Media Coordinator Agata Smieciuszewski started planning a new video series to spotlight employees from across the medical center as part of their greater #FacesOfCedarsSinai campaign.

Inspired by a similar series conducted by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, this “Words of Inspiration” series — which shows hospital employees reading social comments that patients wrote about them — has already seen two videos garner thousands of views, hundreds of shares, and comments from more patients sharing their experiences with the doctors, nurses, and staff at Cedars-Sinai.

According to Agata, this series was a vehicle for their team to show how the comments they see on social can make more of an impact.

“I really wanted to show the power of social media through this project,” she explained. “We wanted to get messages from patients to the people who really needed to hear them.”

For Agata, that meant more than just doctors and nurses — she wanted to spotlight employees going the extra mile from all across the organization. The first thing she did was meet with their HR contact to get their support and enlist their help to find and contact the employees they were looking to feature.

Together they created a plan of action, and Agata started searching for the perfect comments to pull.

“We always tag whenever anyone says something nice about a staff member, or staff in general,” said Agata. “So, the first thing I did was pull all our comments from Sprinklr and comb through the list to see which comments would work best for a video like this.”

I didn't tell everyone what the video was going to be because I wanted their reactions to be genuine. Agata Smieciuszewski

For the series, she decided on choosing a combination of comments that had names of specific employees attached and comments that were more general. She also looked specifically for comments about different areas of the medical center — and comments that were particularly impactful.

Then, she identified the employees she needed to reach out to. “Because we partnered with HR, if there wasn’t a specific person to identify, we would turn to them to help fill in the gaps,” explained Agata. “When that was finalized, I sent our HR contact the full list to go through and double check that all the employees I identified were in good standing.”

They wanted to be thorough in these pre-production stages to ensure everything was in order for the final videos.

Agata said, alongside their HR team, they were working through pre-production tasks and organizing who they were going to feature until September. “It took a little back and forth to narrow some of the comments down to one person,” she said. “Our contact often had to reach out to HR managers to find someone who works in a specific area.”

Once they decided on someone, they added it to a spreadsheet. When their list was full, Agata started reaching out and getting reading to film the video.

Then, in early October they turned to Cedars-Sinai’s video team to help them through the final logistics of shooting and editing the video.

“Once they got involved, it went pretty quickly. We got our first video out around Thanksgiving,” said Agata.

Our biggest challenge originally was getting the finalized list of people. Agata Smieciuszewski
For the actual day of shooting, they scheduled everyone for 20-minute chunks throughout the day to read the comments on camera. “I didn’t tell everyone what the video was going to be, because I wanted their reactions to be genuine,” said Agata. “Once they were there I put them in front of the camera, gave them the comment on my phone, and asked them to read it out loud and say how it made them feel.”

From that shoot, they produced two cuts of the video they have shared so far — with plans to expand the series in a year.

The first video, which came out in November, has received over 12,000 views to date.

“It did really well, and we saw a lot of great responses when that video went live,” said Agata. “It was really exciting to see people watching the video who then would share their stories.”

For Agata, it was exciting to see such positive responses that continue to amplify the amazing work their employees do every day. “I really wanted to show that impact of our doctors, nurses, and staff going beyond just their normal jobs, and going the extra mile,” she said. “I think they are what make people really remember us and keep coming to us. I’m glad the people who are responsible for that got to read how they changed people’s lives, and I’m glad that came across in the video.”

Now that the first videos were a success, Agata is hoping that future expansions on the series will go even smoother.

I think this series really humanizes our staff and our institution, and that's an important goal that we're a part of. Agata Smieciuszewski
“Our biggest challenge originally was getting the finalized list of people,” said Agata. “There were so many hands involved on the HR side when we were trying to narrow someone down for a specific spot, so there was a lot of back and forth that made things a little difficult. But I think moving forward, it will move more smoothly because I can point to the older version now as a reference point, and we’ve already discovered some sticking points.”

She said they also plan to involve their privacy team earlier in the process so they don’t have to worry about down-to-the-wire approvals. She is also planning to experiment with sending the videos out at a different time of year to try and maximize engagement and gather more traction.

“We learned the hard way that people aren’t always as active with our content around the holidays,” she explained.

For Agata, this experience has really proved the power of social media for their institution and how they can demonstrate that value as a team.

“I think this series really humanizes our staff and our institution, and that’s an important goal that we’re a part of,” said Agata. “We’re a really public-facing part of this hospital. We need to make sure we’re portraying how our amazing staff is what makes this place so great. The fact that they feel compelled to share an experience they had at Cedars-Sinai with the world speaks volumes.”

As for anyone interested in trying out a similar project, Agata said that getting together with the teams you need to partner with early on is key.

“I would say definitely set up a meeting with everyone you think should be involved — so someone from HR, the service line, communications, etc. — and plan it out more up top to focus on picking out the comments that are going to be the most impactful to the person reading it is an important first step,” she said. “That was a big part of what made this a success.”

Agata also recommends not telling the employee too much of what they’re walking into beforehand. “Part of what made the video special was having that genuine reaction.”

Agata Smieciuszewski has been a member of SocialMedia.org Health since 2018. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.