The folks at Signature Healthcare in Southeastern Massachusetts (my clients, in full disclosure) just gave birth to a new mommy blog: SignatureMoms.com . This happened in conjunction with the launch of their social media presence and a comprehensive marketing program that includes a new advertising campaign . I shared some of the elements of the new ad campaign in a blog post on January 18, 2011. I thought it would be interesting to share with you the process involved in birthing a hospital sponsored mommy blog. How does a blog come to be? Why does a blog come to be?
Connecting with area moms: The mommy blog concept began with Signature Healthcare’s genuine desire to connect more meaningfully with the communities it serves. That begins with moms – the female healthcare decision-makers. These are the people who make healthcare decisions for their children, their husbands, and their aging parents. These are the caregivers. In order to better serve this audience, they need to engage them. But they are busy and are often not successfully engaged by traditional advertising.
Social Marketing Trinity: So how do you connect with busy moms? Our philosophy is you don’t market “at” them, you market “with” them. You engage them and make them part of a conversation. Through that conversation you have the opportunity to introduce information that better informs them about your brand and its offerings. To accomplish that, Signature is employing the holy trinity of social marketing: the blog, Facebook, and Twitter. In this example, they all work together.
Facebook Contest: The development of the mommy blog has been grounded in the hospital’s new Facebook presence. We are using a Facebook contest to recruit mommy bloggers. Interested moms are asked to write a post on Signature’s Facebook Wall stating why they would be a great mommy blogger. Signature put the word out by posting this on other area Facebook groups that are of special interest to moms (South Shore Kids, Children’s Museum, Edible South Shore, etc.). They also promoted it several times each day on Twitter, on the Signature Healthcare website, on the Signature Facebook page and via the mommy blog.
Integration: As firm believers in the importance of integrating social media with the traditional marketing effort, we used public relations and a traditional advertising tactics to support the launch of the mommy blog. We sent out a press release when the mommy blogger contest was launched (online and traditional distribution), and the resulting coverage led to some immediate interest. Although the launch did not rely heavily upon traditional media, we did run a couple of print ads in targeted publications within the market. Frankly, the more important piece of marketing that we produced was the poster campaign within the health system’ facilities that informed employees, patients and visitors about the mommy blog. We also included a small mention in the weekly eblast that goes to Signature employees.
The response: Response to our mommy blog promotion has been terrific. It has driven the growth of our Facebook following and has allowed our Facebook presence to be interactive, engaging and participatory. The women who have entered our contest are commenting on Signature’s Facebook wall and are exchanging tips and information with one another. Their friends and supporters are visiting the Facebook page and “liking” their friends’ posts. There’s a lot going on on Signature’s facebook wall and that’s exactly what we want! Here’s an example of one small exchange among many:
Where we’ll end up: What we’ll end up with is a new mommy blog with a minimum of four bloggers from our community. Each of these bloggers has a network of her own: Facebook Friends, Twitter followers, etc. A couple of them are bloggers already. It is our hope that their friends will follow them to the Signature Moms blog, just as they have followed them to Facebook. We will also end up with a fledgling, but robust social media marketing program. The mommy blog promotion will have helped to kick start our presence on Facebook and Twitter, and helped us to establish a spirit of engagement in both. Ultimately, we will have created community where there was none. And with community comes the opportunity to share information and values. We can learn from the online community we’ve helped to create, and they can learn from us. This is a two-way street (at a minimum) and we celebrate that.