Conference sneak peek: Selling social media to C-suite

Countdown until conference: 40 days. Are you excited? I am! As you already know, the WHPRMS 2014 Annual Conference at the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells is approaching. I’ve been busy interviewing guest speakers and keynotes to bring you an inside look at these gam-packed presentations. Last week, I spoke to Will Flynn, President of Franklin Street, on his presentation on marketing to men. Interesting stuff, right? You can read his Q & A here.

This week, I chatted with Linda Pophal, Owner/CEO of Strategic Communications, LLC on a topic that is still a popular topic of discussion: social media. Specifically, how to sell social media to the C-Suite.

Q: What is the theme of your presentation?

There is still a lot of frustration in terms of getting social media buy-in from C-Suite. Many organizations struggle to find the ROI on the use of social media and that’s what your leaders want to see.

Although social media has been around for years, it’s still a hot topic. People want to know how to get involved, how to budget for it, how to find the branding strategy. With shrinking marketing departments, it’s hard to find the staff to get involved as well.

My presentation will touch on how health care organizations are going about it the wrong way and how to change that. Senior leaders don’t care about the “big idea,” they care about the results. You need to show them. I’ll talk about how to be engaging and how to align metrics to your plan. We’ll also talk a lot about the opportunities in recruitment.


Q: Is there really that big of an opportunity in human resources and recruitment?

One of the biggest areas of growth and success is in recruitment. You can show real dollar amounts and ROI with recruitment. I’m a long-time fan of LinkedIn, and LinkedIn Groups. I’ve used LinkedIn and groups for myself and for my clients whose goals generally include building credibility and establishing thought leadership status. It offers a way to think creatively while focusing on key groups such as physicians and specialty professionals. For example, starting a closed physician group helps obtain a collaboration and/or relationship for niche markets.

Q: What social media tools have died or don’t offer too much benefit to the health care field?

Although all social media tools have potential, I’m seeing a decline in Twitter use for hospital branding purposes. It helps raise awareness of course but how is a hospital using it effectively? For example, I had a client who had a great following but we discovered the following was mostly spammers and competitors. Maybe Twitter isn’t the best avenue for that client.

Pinterest is a popular tool now as well but I don’t see too many health care providers using it to generate patients.

Q: For those reading this, why should they invest in the conference?

There are always new tools, new measurable, methodologies and strategies. If you aren’t up to speed, you’ll be left in the dust. Educational conferences are worth it if you take what you learn and apply it.

I teach partime at a local university and there is still a gap – we are not teaching social media just yet. Staying on top of social media will set you apart. It’s not true that young grads are the say all, be all. Just because you a person grew up in the social media age, doesn’t mean they will know how to brand your hospital or health system using those tools.

The early bird rate is over BUT there is still time to sign up. To register for this year’s conference, fill out this simple registration form. 

This post was written and researched by Trish Skram. If you have other news, resources or links to share, please comment below or email Trish Skram, blogger and research content specialist for WHPRMS, at




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