For those that don’t know, Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows people to communicate through the exchange of quick and frequent updates known as “tweets”. Tweets are text postings (limited to 140 characters) which are displayed on the user’s profile page and delivered to those who are known as followers. Anyone can set up a Twitter profile in hopes that people will be interested in what they have to say and ultimately subscribe to become their follower.
What better way for a company to market itself and its services than by creating interest on Twitter? Our client, LifeBridge Health Systems in Baltimore, set up their Twitter account in January of this year. As of this writing, they have 1,147 followers. They tweet everyday to keep their followers updated on the latest health issues and news.
Daily updates are great but why can’t a hospital tweet about a specific surgery, essentially as a play-by-play? The marketing specialists at LifeBridge thought the same thing so on Thursday, May 14th they tweeted their first surgery – a Hip Resurfacing performed by the doctors of Sinai’s Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics.
Two members of the marketing team were assigned to cover the event. They sat right in the OR during the surgery and began tweeting at 8:30am. The surgery itself commenced at 10am and concluded at about noon. As Dr. Mont was describing the surgery in step-by-step detail a photographer was taking pictures which were immediately posted on TwitPic. This helped the surgery’s followers understand the highly technical language that was being posted.
To help promote the twittered surgery, The Baltimore Sun re-tweeted the event on their page and WJZ-TV covered it on their home page.
The marketing team at LifeBridge believes that the twittered surgery went phenomenally well! On an average day, LifeBridge will obtain about 10 to 15 new followers. On the day of the surgery they gained a total of 43 new followers – a 1-day record! The last time they saw a spike in new followers was a Monday during the Swine Flu scare after they posted a link to the CDC information on H1N1. They obtained about 25 new followers that day.
LifeBridge continues to receive a very positive response to the tweeted hip replacement surgery. One follower has even asked if they could do a shoulder surgery next!
I have to admit that I was not following anyone on Twitter until this surgery. But I loved following this surgery and learning about it through a play-by-play description and pictures. I place print ads and advertorials for this specific topic for LifeBridge all the time but because of Twitter have a much better understanding of exactly what Hip Resurfacing is. I personally hope that they do this again and more often – what a great way to for a company to use Twitter!!!