Social Media Guidelines; The Elevator Pitch

Way back when… the mobile telephone and fax machine were innovations, as were numerous other communication devices. We traveled through the period of everyone wanting a website, survived the crash, lived through ‘everyone wants an app’ and have rolled our eyes at everyone wanting a Facebook page.

Our social thinking has evolved, along with our ideas as to how we can use social media for even more good than we previously thought possible.

While we can’t claim social media to be an innovative solution these days (we could have 10 years ago), we can suggest they are innovations to the way we communicate about health, and if we adopt them well, have the potential to create a massive swing towards a more consumer centric outcomes by using them for social learning and communications.


There is now recognition that consumers are already online, using searches and social connections to understand their situation at a deeper level.

It’s certainly something we heard frequently at the recent #MayoInOz conference

“People are using their social networks to learn from each other.”

We know this because everyone says “just Google it“. This has happened so frequently – Google and Mayo launch a health search last month. You can read more about this here:

People = consumers, patients, carers etc who like to engage to understand.


Organisations = like Mayo Clinic have created the tools for them to do so. And in this wisdom, have created a massive online repository of data about patients concerns, issues, worries… and solutions.

Clever hey!

As an organisation they will be able to learn enormously from the wealth of information patient share – enabling them to provide services better, cure diseases (or at least commence relevant research – which has occurred spurred by patient discussions), and more.


OK… so health professionals have recognised they need to be online where their patients are (good) and they aren’t running scared (fantastic). However, they could fall into a trap of over regulating themselves out of any real ROI.

Let’s chat policies and guidelines.

NOTE: Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit medical practice and medical research group based in Rochester, Minnesota. It employs more than 4,500 physicians and scientists and 57,100 allied health staff. Wikipedia

And, why the elevator pitch?

The elevator pitch is that instant capture of what we are on about – the 5 second easy share, the stimulating few words we use to inspire, entice or share something of interest. So, if you were asked in the elevator what your health professional social media policy was – how would you answer?

Well hopefully you’d start by saying you don’t have a policy per say, as you just use guidelines for your daily actions.


The debate raged for and against guidelines at the #MayoInOz conference.

We say social media is simply another way we can communicate and yet, we still need guidance to make sure what we do is valuable. This is not quite true.

Why? Well, we want to get the best possible result from our effort without upsetting anyone or damaging our own reputation in the process.

We should give consideration as to why we are using social media. Sure. However, as we don’t have a separate policy for telephone or elevator conversations, why create one for conversations on social media! By creating only guidelines, we acknowledge all social media platforms and devices are just another set of communications tools, under broader public relation and reputation management considerations.

What’s your elevator pitch?

Mayo Clinic uses social media to get patients to become better advocates for their own care. Their philosophy (elevator pitch?) of its social media is as follows:

“Mayo Clinic believes individuals have the right and responsibility to advocate for their own health, and that it is our responsibility to help them use social media tools to get the best information, connect with providers and with each other, and inspire healthy choices.”


“Social media is a fantastic opportunity to connect with your community, to raise awareness and educate about your specialised topic and to grow and enhance professional networks.”

Quote from;

Online and Social Media; The Medical Professional Strategy

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