social medaiWhat does a Twitter-based contest at the University of Iowa have in common with hospital marketing?

For Tweet success, be sharp.

The college essay readers at this institution were so overwhelmed with seeing students’ heavily edited essays from their parents or plagiarized essay themes that they did something a bit drastic.

They created a full scholarship contest worth $37,000, set a deadline of just two weeks, and asked prospective students to submit a 140-character “tweet” in place of a second 500-word essay. The story is in USA Today.

Be concise. Be interesting. Be meaningful.

The common challenge for hospital marketing and Iowa students is the need to get to the point quickly. Writing briefly and to the point is tough. So whether you’re trying to stand out from thousands of college applicants or using social media in your hospital marketing, you’ve got to grab your readers’ attention with copy that sparkles and headlines that sing.

Above all, being interesting is as important as being succinct. With the daily volume of emails, tweets, wall postings, texts, and more that each of us receives, there’s just no time to be boring in your communications.

Choose your characters carefully.

Whether you tweet about an article on Twitter, write on your wall on Facebook, or promote yourself on your blog, people creating social media for hospital marketing often write article headlines or copy that are ho-hum.

However, you can definitely get some SEO “juice” by taking a fact from your article or a prominent source when you tweet it, Facebook it, or write about it on LinkedIn.

For example, here’s a “before” headline from the New York Times about bathroom vital statistics: “Watch Your Step While Washing Up.”

Our reaction to this somewhat blind headline: snooze. However, we could propose a series of much stronger headlines and/or tweets for Twitter:

“New York Times warns you that 14% of household accidents occur while using the toilet.”

Better? Or perhaps this headline:

“Accounting for 47% of household accidents, the most dangerous room in your house is the bathroom.”

Better yet? Or maybe this headline:

“New York Times: Study proves that bathing or showering can be hazardous to your health.”

Keep your Twitter focus.

Twitter followers also appreciate consistency. If your hospital or healthcare Twitter stream is about business, don’t mix in tweets that are too casual or frivolous. You may want more than one Twitter account for different topics or follower groups, but keep your focus to keep your followers.

For example, it’s confusing to the reader if one hospital tweet reads: “Nurse recruitment program with flex-time for ER,” and is followed by: “Having pizza at Joe’s with my fantasy football league.”

There’s more about social media marketing in this related post: Don’t Twitter Away Your Medical Practice Marketing Budget.

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Stewart Gandolf

Stewart Gandolf

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder at Healthcare Success Strategies
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is CEO of Healthcare Success, a medical marketing and health care advertising agency. He is also a frequent writer and speaker. Most importantly, he is happily married and a "rock-n-roll daddy" to two wonderful girls.
Stewart Gandolf
Stewart Gandolf


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