Social media plays a huge role in how we communicate today. Almost every organization, institution and individual person utilizes social media, and it is important to understand how we can use it to be impactful as  healthcare and educational institution. While many hospitals and universities employ communications directors that direct their social media strategy, this is less common for educational units, such as offices of faculty development. The faculty development unit Emory at Grady, an academic medical center,  created a student work-study social media and communications manager position. In this role, I was responsible for creating and executing a strategy to relay information, spotlight the faculty and staff, and highlight important work , which those on the outside often do not get to see. As I took on this role I saw an opportunity to optimize the current social media strategy to make the social media account more impactful, and to educate others who may consider hiring a student for this important role.

I knew that I was going to be working with a team of physicians who dedicated their time to increasing Emory at Grady’s social media presence. Therefore, I knew that I wanted to make the process as easy and smooth as possible to limit the amount of time these busy, dedicated clinicians had to spend reviewing and approving social media content. As I took this role in the beginning of September 2021, I began by reviewing the Twitter account and assessing strengths and weaknesses. I found that they were not consistent with posting, and engaging with the audience, but they did a good job highlighting the work of the faculty and staff. I then went on to analyze their engagement and identified the posts that were most popular. Once these things were identified I developed a strategy with clear steps to execute and implement for this social media account.

First, I met with the social media team led by Dr. Jada Bussey-Jones to understand what it is that they wanted to highlight on the Emory at Grady account. After obtaining  their feedback I was able to take that information and tell them what I have observed from what was previously done on the Emory at Grady twitter account. From there we were able to get a better idea of the content our team wanted to create as well as identify potential projects to promote engagement. The content that was very important to the team was highlighting the great work in publications, accomplishments, awards, or new positions among faculty and staff. Thus, I worked very closely with Dr. Bussey-Jones to draft a mass email encouraging faculty and staff to nominate their fellow colleagues to be spotlighted for their hard work. Once we received enough nominations I began to draft content for posting on Twitter.

Second, I created a google drive where I developed a system to review, edit, and update content for posting to Twitter. The drive is shared with the entire team, and each member is able to access any uploaded documents. The great thing about a google drive is that all team members have access 24/7 and can bookmark the drive for easy access. This is done by clicking the star on your search bar and adding it to your bookmarks. Another benefit is only those invited to the drive have access, which keeps documents safe and private. Within the drive there is a content sign-up sheet where each social media committee team member  selects a week where they review and approve content. I make sure to upload content for the upcoming week by noon every Monday, and give the assigned member until Sunday to review and approve the content. I also created folders containing the content for review each week, placed on a single google doc with the post name, visual, draft in Tweetdeck, and the proposed post date. This single google doc displays the entire week’s contents and makes it easy for the reviewer to envision the week’s posts. Within the google doc they can leave comments and feedback directly to me so that I can make appropriate adjustments. Once content is approved, I schedule posts to the Twitter account.

Once we established a solid system of posting content, we were able to pursue more content projects and really show our appreciation for all that the Emory at Grady faculty and staff does. Ever since creating this social media strategy we have seen Twitter engagement skyrocket and have increased our following (tenfold, by 30%). We have even had an increase of interaction from verified faculty and staff which has benefitted the account. Overall, I learned that the key to institutional social media success is consistency and efficiency. Having a system where information and content is quickly reviewed and published is helpful not only to the creator but to those who must review the content. I have learned as the content creator to be flexible and able to quickly adjust to fit the needs of those you are working for. This alone has allowed for smooth sailing and all team members being in alignment with the strategy. I have received great feedback from my team and only hope to continue to make their social media experience easy and manageable.

In summary, applying this approach to your social media strategy can be extremely beneficial to increasing not only efficiency but engagement with your content. What are some strategies that you have used to operate social media at the institutional level? Comment below to join the conversation!

Did you know that the Harvard Macy Institute Community Blog has had more than 310 posts? Previous blog posts have explored topics including tik tok for celiac disease and gluten-free education, all a-twitter, and peaceful approach to virtual teaching.


K'Erika Green

K’Erika Green is a MPH candidate from Emory University with a concentration in Health Policy and Management. K’Erika is currently the Social Media and Communications Manager at Emory at Grady. K’Erika’s areas of professional interest include food security and healthcare marketing. K’Erika can be followed on LinkedIn.