Social side of the NHS

Like it or love it social media is all around us. It has changed the way we engage and communicate with our peers, market our businesses and market ourselves. , every industry utilises social media to their advantage whether it is networking, marketing, selling; it has advanced the way a company publicises itself even the NHS.

When you think of social media you wouldn’t necessarily think how the NHS would be able to effectively use social media to their advantage, how will they engage, what content will they share, where will this content come from? To answer some of these questions and help NHS Trusts create a successful social media presence NHS Employers launched a helpful social media toolkit to help trust’s create their own social media policy and to have clear social media objectives in place.

 ‘Social media allows local NHS and care providers to connect and engage directly with thousands of people and organisations, be seen to understand and take on board their viewpoints and involve them in local solutions.’ – The Guardian; How NHS organisations should use social media

Social media doesn’t have to this big scary monster, there are people who will take the opportunity to public vilify the NHS but for every negative comment there are many positive ones. Others may use these networks to get the attention of the health trust because they don’t feel they are getting the correct treatment, in these situations it is important to remain professional especially if the messages are public, how you respond and handle the situation will be seen by a lot of people who could have been a potential networking opportunity.

I think it’s a positive that the NHS and the in particular the Health Trust I work for are embracing social media, for one it keeps me in a job. It’s important for the NHS to be seen to engage with other collaborators and communicate with their followers, considering the negative media attention it receives this was the NHS has the chance to build trust with its followers and create a positive image that is also in line with the trusts own objectives. Though ploughing forward with its own health campaigns social media isn’t for everyone or every NHS trust.

Promoting the NHS as a whole is one thing but what if you work for the NHS, should you have more than one account; a professional and a personal one that you could make private? This question was raised at a social media conference hosted by NHS Employers last year as some people were concerned about their patients trying to follow them or join their network. Take Twitter for example, many of the speakers chose to have one account that they used for both professional and personal purposes.  No matter what you use social media for there is always an element of common sense that should be used, don’t post anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face or would be harmful to yourself or others. There is no need to be rude, just because you can’t be seen visually doesn’t mean you have to behave like a troll, the only person whose image will be damaged is your own.
I only have one Twitter account which is used for both professional and personal purposes sharing industry related articles and those that are of interest to me such as baking.

In some circumstances it is important to keep your personal accounts hidden but on the whole having one account allows you to show your non business side as well, there are many things that make you the person you are and it doesn’t hurt to show this side of you once in a while.

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