Rethinking the Role of Social Media in FQHCs

Friday, November 18, 2011

This week, I attended NACHC’s  Financial, Operations Management, Information Technology Conference  to speak at a social media panel titled “Rethinking the Role of Social Media in FQHCs (Federally Qualified Health Centers).”  The panel was initiated by Aldon Hynes, Social Media Manager for CHC, Inc., an FQHC in Connecticut, and the speakers included Aldon, myself, Pedro Toledo, Director of Community and Government Affairs at the Redwood Community Health Coalition, and Micah Clemens, Assistant Director of Communications at NACHC.  As speakers, our goal was to share best practices with health centers about developing good social media campaigns.  I learned quite a lot from my fellow panelists. 

As the Social Media Manager for Community Health Center, Inc. in Connecticut, Aldon’s advice was to have clear goals that are tied to your organization’s mission, know your audience, and to develop a strong narrative that includes getting your staff and providers involved. 

Pedro shared Redwood Community Health Coalition’s  success on Twitter.  He found Twitter to be a valuable tool for not only sharing professional news and information, but also for reaching out to the media and government officials.  Though being on social media is a great way to get your health center’s message out, he stressed the importance of having social media policies in place for staff, so they have clear guidelines about what’s appropriate.

Micah from NACHC stressed the importance of having a presence on Facebook.  He pointed out that there are now approximately 800 million people on Facebook, and half of them log in every day.  Considering that each user has an average of 130 friends, getting a user to share your health center’s message scales considerably. 

This is all great advice.  Next week, I’ll go into more detail about what we talked about, and my presentation.  If you’re curious to hear more before then, you can check out the conference tweets by going to Twitter and searching #CHCFOM.