The Mayo Clinic Social Experience: Four Lessons Learned

On Friday, I had the opportunity to present at the Frocomm ENGAGE 2011 social media conference in Sydney.

Following my session, was an international keynote from Lee Aase, a fellow Midwesterner and the head of social media at Mayo Clinic, in Minnesota. Lee delivered a great overview of the Mayo Clinic’s experience using social media, which started with experimentation with podcasts many years ago. Some of the key take-aways from his presentation:

  1. Proceed Until Apprehended: if you are an in-house social media practitioner or champion, it’s sometimes best to have a “proceed until apprehended” mentality. Take a pilot approach to social media and be willing to try new platforms and ideas to see what sticks.
  2. 5,000 views from the right people can equal success: Lee shared a great example of video created by Dr. Ruben Mesa of the Mayo Clinic, explaining a relatively rare disease called Essential Thrombocythemia or ET. Whilst the video had approximately 10,000 views and the content was technical, many of the views were from patients who had the disorder and, anecdotally more than 50 other doctors reported seeing patients who had viewed the video.
  3. If they are doing this so can we. One of the best arguments an in-house social media practitioner can make is to share examples of competitors or industry leaders who are doing something similar in social media. In other words, our competitors are active in social so we need to be, too!
  4. iPhone: a reason not to ban social media in the workplace. Nearly half of the conference attendees raised their hands when asked whether their employers banned social media in the workplace. How do you make the case internally to raise the iron IT curtain? Lee brought up a picture of the iPhone, meaning that anyone today can access the social Web from their iPhone or mobile device – they’ll access it while at work anyway – so why not give employees smart guidelines that educate and empower them on best practices of using social media while at work.

Finally, a collection of links to some of the great work and resources from Mayo Clinic: