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6 ways to shape your hospital’s brand through stories

There’s been a lot of discussion about the importance of story in business. But decades of research has shown that not just any narrative will do. It’s personally engaging narratives that have the power. Here’s how to bring the power of story into your social media mix and firmly plant your brand’s values into your readers’ memory.

Human minds rely on story to understand and remember

Quickly: Pick a favorite scene from the movie, “Star Wars.” No matter how long it’s been since you’ve seen it, I’m sure you can remember at least a dozen details—who the characters were in the scene, what they were wearing, what they were doing. Maybe even colors or sounds.

That’s an example of the power of personally-engaging stories. After generating more than 800 scientific studies across 15 disciplines, researchers all agree that stories are the most effective way to communicate facts and concepts—and to anchor those concepts into memory.

Not just any story will do

In terms of comprehension and recall, research keeps showing us that when we “see” and “hear” and “sense” what we read in a story, that “experience” represents reality in our minds far better than the most impressive numbers or bar charts ever could.

That’s why not just any narrative with a beginning, middle, and end will work. It’s personally engaging stories that have the real power. When readers can imagine themselves experiencing the story, that’s when their minds anchor the story into memory.

How to use social media to convey your brand—and make it stick

1. Gather ‘happy ending stories. Coach employees to share and listen to stories whenever they’re communicating with patients. Then, turn those encounters into brief patient stories that illustrate your brand’s values. For example, stories of how you’ve welcomed patients, or managed patients’ belongings—any story that ends up with things going well for the patient.

2. Use your stories to create patient-story-based blogs. Set a goal to post one story a week. Within the content, include a Twitter hyperlink or a sidebar that says, “Tweet This.”

3. Create a Pinterest pinboard with patient pictures and stories. The great thing about Pinterest is that the “main character” in the story is the real star. Your organization seems to take a back seat, but your values shine through.

[RELATED: Craft messages that resonate with internal and external audiences and moves them to act.]

4. Tweet each story’s headline or key message, then link followers to its blog or pinboard. If a story is ongoing, be sure to keep everyone posted.

5. If a patient posts a complaint on your Facebook page, don’t avoid it—use it! This could actually be a great opportunity to support your brand. Use this as the beginning of a story your followers can witness as it unfolds. Do whatever you can—as soon as you can—to turn that conflict into a story with a happy ending.

6. Create an internal “Facebook” site where employees can share inspiring stories about their experiences with patients. Sharing patient successes goes a long way to deepen internal branding for your employees. That means they’re more likely to live the brand when dealing with your patients.

Share personally engaging stories with your readers and help them feel for themselves what your brand is really about.

Previously published material.

HealthCareCommunication.com