Social media is an excellent tool that many businesses are taking advantage of, and Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare is a great example. TMH has a notable following on TikTok as well as Instagram.
The local hospital has gone viral multiple times with various reels of cute animal therapists to their playful TikToks involving staff.
However, this was no accident; there is a solid strategy behind their success.
“As communicators, our goal is to meet people where they are. So, if people are on TikTok, we need to be on TikTok too,” said Rebeccah Lutz, the hospital’s director of marketing and communications.
Lutz said this unique strategy started during the pandemic. There was a severe need for accurate and valuable information to be disseminated to the public. This need pushed their social media approach; educate the public and have fun.
“It’s one of those things where you learn best by jumping in and doing it,” Lutz said.
Their first TikTok, posted in May, showcases Jazz, the animal therapy pup, with a viral sound asking viewers if they think she’s cute. It was a great and fun way to showcase TMH’s wide-ranging animal therapy program. The TikTok post did OK, gaining a little over 5,000 views and under 100 likes. Lutz encouraged her team to keep going.
Tori Lynn Schneider, a communications strategist at TMH, really committed to this project. Taking the lead on learning the trends, viral sounds and editing, then training the rest of the team.
“This is a way for us to create content that there really is no other media method for. It’s a way for us to show another side of the hospital that we wouldn’t get to show otherwise,” Schneider said.
Schneider and the team constantly work to identify opportunities to exhibit the different services, teams and hiring opportunities TMH can offer.
After a few tries and a bit of luck, the team had a hit. A TikTok featuring TMH’s surgeons and the shoes they wear in surgery exploded. The surgeons flaunt their shoes while doing a little dance to “These Boots Are Made for Walking” by Nancy Sinatra. From cowboy boots to clogs, the doctors show off their kicks.
The audience loved it. The TikTok has been viewed more than 6 million times with nearly 500,000 likes. A user commented, “I’ll take the 32-year-old clogs. If he can keep those alive, he can keep me alive.” That single comment has over 43,000 likes.
TMH’s social content is not only entertaining and informational. Viewers relate to the patient stories shared.
One of the most recent posts tells the story of Mason, a baby boy who spent 126 days in the neonatal intensive care unit. It documents a bit of his story and shows him and his family getting ready to finally go home . A previous Instagram reel of Mason gained thousands of comments from people worldwide wishing him well. That reel has been viewed over 11 million times.
“Even my own grandmother saw something we posted and said, ‘Oh that woman took her husband to get a triple bypass I did that too,’ ” Schneider said.
A lot of information is shared on topics, teams and treatments that every day people would not usually be exposed to, like robotic surgery, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and the sterile processing team.
Internally, this opportunity engages the staff in a new way to reach the community in a way they do not have in their day-to-day environment. It also provides an opportunity to take a break and have fun with their colleagues for a great purpose.
This methodical use of social media for health communications demystifies, removes a bit of fear and humanizes the staff. The communications team has taken health communications a step further with the use of social media and curated a unique and enjoyable method of interacting with TMH’s external and internal communities.