Kristen Black has been the Interactive Media Coordinator at La Hacienda Treatment Center since January of 2011. She is responsible for all social media initiatives, marketing and alumni, and does event coordination for the La Hacienda outreach offices throughout Texas.
La Hacienda jumped onto the social media bandwagon in December 2010 and has learned a few things and made a few changes along the way. It’s important to note that the bandwagon looks different for all treatment centers but there is a common starting point. Here is the way La Hacienda approaches social media as well as questions to ask your organization before you begin.
Who is your audience? As I mentioned before, all treatment centers approach it differently. One important issue to mention is that there is fear in our industry regarding privacy laws and Facebook. I think most of it stems from not understanding how Pages on Facebook work. When people choose to “like” your page, it doesn’t mean that they are alumni. I have so many friends and family members that like our page. This is especially true if the treatment center has an all-inclusive page; there is no way to distinguish between alumni, family or referral sources. La Hacienda’s Facebook page is designed to reach each of these segments. I know of another company that created a private group on Facebook for alumni where no one knows you are a member. There are many options so it’s a good idea to look at them, decide what your goals are and implement a plan of action.
What do you hope to accomplish? There are quite a few different perspectives on this subject. Many organizations post heavy key word articles on hot topics in the industry. That’s great for search engine optimization which everyone agrees is very important. We strive to have these types of articles but also believe a blog is more of a conversation (social media)--a way to connect on a personal level with the people that have a relationship with our organization. How many times do you go straight to the “About Us” page on a website hoping to see pictures and bios of the employees? Seeing people humanizes an organization and maintains a bond with those already familiar with it. It can also create a bond with people that haven’t had an experience with your company. This just can’t be done with a website or a brochure. Another goal that all companies agree is important is driving traffic to the company website. This can be accomplished by having your blog within your site or linking back to it every chance you get.