Become a Michigan Medicine social media ambassador

September 11, 2019  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources,

Interested in social media for promoting your work at Michigan Medicine? Your first stop should be the Department of Communication, where Ed Bottomley, a social media strategist, is there to help!

“Social media is a key strategic element in sharing everything from Michigan Medicine’s blog posts to patient stories, latest research, videos and more,” said Bottomley. “It’s a great vehicle to share the incredible work being performed across the organization.”

In fact, marketing agency Convince & Convert ranks Michigan Medicine among the top 10 U.S. health systems on social media.

“We’re making inroads on social media, but there is even greater capacity to grow,” Bottomley said. “That’s where our faculty and staff can play an important role.” 

Social media freeze

As the “big” social media accounts at Michigan Medicine — including major service lines, departments and programs — have grown, they have become increasingly important tools for sharing all the wonderful things happening in the organization. At the same time, requests for new social media accounts continue at a rapid rate.

Despite the increase in accounts, after looking at more than 1,267 social accounts from across campus, the university collectively saw a 52 percent decrease in follower growth, and has recommended that a universitywide freeze be implemented regarding the creation of any new U-M department, program or office social media accounts.

“I have seen first-hand that smaller entities on social — be it new departmental, section or lab pages — have slowed in their growth dramatically,” Bottomley said. “Part of this shrink in followers is due to shifting norms on social media — people are less generous with follows these days — and also in part due to the fact that ‘smaller’ social accounts often have less news to share.”

This has prompted the Department of Communication to actively encourage personal professional profiles as opposed to department or unit-wide ones.

‘Our employees are our greatest asset’

“Our big brand pages are doing well, but I think our faculty have been representing us equally as well on social media,” Bottomley said. “And the growth of their personal professional profiles has been eye-opening.”

Indeed, this growth of personal professional profiles, specifically on Twitter, has been so strong that some personal profiles now have larger followings than the social media pages that these employees represent. Because of this, the organization is now encouraging people to move to Twitter in a professional capacity.

“Our employees are our greatest asset, and they can become Michigan Medicine social media ambassadors,” Bottomley said. “They’ll be a vital part of our social ecosystem, with our bigger pages engaging with them and even amplifying their tweets.”

Here are just a few of the many positive reasons to start a personal professional account:

  • It gives faculty a chance to grow their personal professional profile through extended reach, and share research and expertise with peers, policymakers and journalists.
  • You can build relationships on Twitter with real-life consequences, such as research collaborations.
  • You can stay up-to-date on your discipline.
  • Your account will help to amplify exemplary work and accolades of trainees, colleagues and peers.
  • It will expand the reach of your own research.

Support is available

The Department of Communication offers consultation services and training on social media best practices, and one of the first questions the department gets during these sessions is, “How can you support us?”

First, the university offers its Social Integrity site, and aims to educate social media users to create a more productive online space and empower them to use the tools for the betterment of society.

In addition to best practices and training, Michigan Medicine also has a general social media policy for its employees: Social Media Usage Procedure.

The Michigan Medicine Social Media Usage document references the Michigan Medicine Code of Conduct, too, and in Bottomley’s view, this is crucial.

“For me, it’s as simple as saying ‘social media is real life’… If we’re on social media in a professional capacity, I think we should be mindful of our audience and treat conversations just as we would in a hallway, an office or a meeting,” Bottomley said. “I’m excited to help with this — internally, we call my presentations at faculty meetings ‘The Ed Road Show’ — but just be warned that as an Englishman, about 2 percent of my presentations involve soccer…”

Want help?

If you’re thinking of starting a personal professional social media account and want help for you or your department, please email or call 734-764-2220 to schedule a consultation with the Department of Communication’s social media staff.

If you’d like an existing Michigan Medicine social media account to get the word out about a story or event representing your department or program, please email and outline what kind of assistance you’d like.