U.S. Hospital Undertakes Social Media In Bid To Raise Funds & Donors

For some time now, social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, YouTube and so on have been around and as user numbers increase, more individuals and companies are taking these very sites on to publicly make themselves known to the rest of the world.

In recent weeks, here at OSM, we have spoken about how social media can change if used in the correct manner, the way in which businesses such as banks, airlines, restaurants and car manufacturers advertise and market their brands as well as good working principles for customer engagement.

Taking on the might of social media, the UCSF Medical Center based in Silicon Valley San Francisco, have now managed to raise much needed funds for a new children’s hospital that is being built. In an effort to raise the money as well as finding new donors, the campaign turned to Facebook and Twitter. With the help of games creator Zynga, known for its Facebook Farmville, users were able to buy virtual candy canes with real proceeds as www.crainsdetroit.com reported, going to the fund-raising pot, including some 163,000 new donors.

In a statement from Barbara French from the University of California at San Francisco she said, “The power of social media is the ability to engage people in causes and raise visibility and awareness for what we’re doing, which is building the best children’s hospital in the country. Clearly, we’ve raised the hospital’s visibility with people who use social media. And along the way, we raised $1 million.”

Another way in which the healthcare sector is showing interest in social media is by way of advertising their establishment or doctors and physicians. Its a way of listening to either customer feedback and for some, implementing core business procedures and policies.

In order for hospitals to make themselves known on the world wide web, they have to understand what sites people are visiting as well as what they are searching for. As Director of Web strategy for the University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore “Ed Bennett” said, “Hospital websites are still vitally important, but getting people to visit the site is the trick. If you look at the traffic trends, Google is now the No.2 most popular site on the Internet. Facebook is now No.1. We’re really getting to the point where, if you want to be visible on the Internet, you have to be visible on social media.”

To conclude, social media is now being recognized and used in plenty of organisations. The trick is to form a plan using the resources you may already have, find out your target audience and what people are searching for, and enlist the help of social networking sites. As technology changes, so do the way in which people live their lives on a daily basis.

What are your thoughts on social media being used in this way? Should more people be taking it on, can you see any downsides to it?