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People The 3rd ‘P’ :: The 4 P’s of Social Media


~ Policy, Purpose, People, and Plan ~

In part one of the series I talked about the first ‘P’ – Policy. Developing a strong internal and external policy sets forth the ground work and foundation for what is to come. In part two I talked about the second ‘P’ – Purpose. Just like any other medium it is important to understand and know your purpose for using these technologies. Sounds logical but many skip this step.

Today in part three I am going to cover the third ‘P’ – People

This is your most important resource. When looking at how you will Tweet, Post, Capture, etc… be sure to review what you already have in place. In your organization you have hundred, sometimes thousands, of content creators. The goal is figuring how to capitalize.


Review the organizational chart of the hospital and look at who within your organization people will want to hear from. Much of this depends on the audience, but for consumers I will give you a hint … it is not anyone with marketing or communications in their title!

Here is a basic rule of thumb of who audiences want to hear from:

  • consumers – clinical staff, hospital leadership occasionally
  • physicians – other physicians, hospital leaders, clinical staff
  • employees – hospital leaders, each other

Once you identify who within your organization people want to hear from look at what content they are currently creating. Much of your clinical staff probably writes articles for industry publications and/or maybe you have a dietician that is regularly on the local news talking about diet tips.

After you know who needs to create content and what they are currently creating make a spreadsheet so you can see at a glance not only who and what but frequency and where.

This will help you visualize what holes need to be filled.


So you have identified who within your organization is currently creating content and what holes you still need filled. Now it is time to take those you have recruited and convinced to be “experts” and educate them on what you need.

  • Variety – I would argue that variety is one of the most important things when creating content. Make sure when you say “blog post” they don’t hear “2500 word dissertation on (fill in topic here).” Make sure they understand that a blog post could be a couple of pictures with captions, a bulleted list, a response to a national article, etc…
  • Guidelines – Make up a list of guide lines in the form of a pdf document you can hand or email any of your content creators. This will help them understand the importance of a creative title, keywords, etc…

(View my blogging guidelines :: I created this one from looking at others around the web, so feel free to use it as you please)


At first all your content creators are new. Be very hands on and even review all content prior to publishing. Check against your guidelines so you can maximize each post. A couple of ideas to help in the process:

  • Use a calendar so you have an accurate visualization of what your upcoming posts look like. This will help avoid redundancy and scrambling last minute.
  • Make sure you take advantage of tying your networks together so you maximize your content. (i.e. Post on Blog flows to Facebook which is automatically Tweeted out)
  • Have the content creators help identify keywords/phrases.
  • Monitor: mentions, likes, comments, etc… then gage why one received more than others. Was it content, time it was posted, etc…

Doing all these things will help you create great content. In the end that is what will make your efforts successful. Consumers will return if the content is good.

Next time I will wrap up with the fourth ‘P’ – Plan.

I am interested to hear your thoughts and tips I may have missed

– Reed


Social Marketing Mix – the Four P”s of Social Media by Reed Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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Reed Smith