Social Media for Medical Home for Special Needs Children in Western MA

On Fri, Dec 19, I attended “Only Write It Once!”, a workshop on social media hosted by the Massachusetts Library System and taught by Brandy King.  My goal was to measure my efforts in social media against what Brandy recommends.  I’m doing OK!

Winter Wonderland Festival at Shriners Hospital for Children

To clarify, I do not manage social media for my library or hospital.  I manage social media for a group that I joined in 2010.  But, I do this as a function of my work as a community outreach librarian.  The Medical Home Work Group is a community of families, healthcare providers, and social services agencies who support children with special healthcare needs. This work group was established in 2002.  The first meetings were held at the High Street Health Center in Springfield, MA.  At some point, the meetings moved to the Shriners Hospital for Children on Carew Street.  We meet monthly to share with and learn from each other.  We seek input from families of children with special needs with a goal of providing valuable insight to health care providers.

As the Community Outreach Librarian for Baystate Health, I began attending these meetings mostly as a networking opportunity.  I was so impressed with the efforts of this group.  I wondered how I could lend a hand.  Over time, I realized that the group could benefit from a social media presence, so I stepped up and offered my services. A former blog post outlines my process.

Here’s where we were in November 2012:

What’s different now?

We’ve played around with look-and-feel. Several of our parents have donated family photos.  I don’t use HootSuite as much as I thought I would.  I find that I am more comfortable working within the mode of each social media channel.  I log into the Facebook and Twitter accounts several times per week.  I tweet our monthly meetings, and I write up a blog post for each meeting.  According to WordPress stats, most of the blog referrals come from Facebook.  So, promoting our blog through our FB page and group seems worthwhile.  We send the link to the blog through an email listserv.  Looks like I need to add a teaser of information in that email.  Encourage folks to click on it.

In 2014…

Facebook Page:  88 Likes

Facebook Group:  41 Members

Twitter:  35 followers

In 2012, we had 8 visitors to our blog,  By 2013, we had 223 visitors.  Last year, 614 folks visited our blog!

After Brandy’s class, I realized that I need to put our meeting dates/times in a static place on the blog, review our tabs and pages, and select a few tags.  Brandy suggests tweaking and retweeting our tweets, especially since Twitter moves so fast.  One method of doing this is to pull in like-minded organizations with @ as well as #.  I am considering a short-term FB ad to give us a little jolt in 2015.

Some members of the FB group are contributing content.  I need to work on encouraging this activity, and make sure I thank folks for sharing, retweeting and following us.  All in all, I am happy with how we’ve grown.  Take a look! Medical Home for Special Needs Children in Western MA.