When it comes to interacting with hateful people on social media, you may have been told to simply ignore them. But new advice out of South by Southwest says otherwise.
In fact, the SXSW panel experts recommend tackling social media trolls head-on, believing that direct, honest conversation is the best way to handle hateful or inappropriate comments.
The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Twitter account practices this principle. Beginning in 2016, employees began engaging with complainants rather than ignoring inflammatory posts.
The key is to provide honest, appropriate conversation backed up with resources. This approach allowed BART to deescalate situations and engage with riders, improving rider satisfaction.
So How Does This Translate for Hospitals?
Well, when it comes to healthcare, things are a bit more complicated. But employing a multifaceted social media response strategy can make "feeding the troll" possible, even for hospitals.
You won't be able to engage with all angry, mean and otherwise combative people commenting on your hospital's social media page. That's part one of your engagement strategy: knowing which trolls must still be ignored.
Any comments that are dangerous, inflammatory toward other people or otherwise completely inappropriate should be ignored—or in many cases, hidden from view. Some situations simply can't be resolved on social media and will only worsen with engagement.
However, you can usually respond to many comments or questions posted on social media. There are a couple keys to keep in mind when you decide to respond:
First, make certain that neither the person's comment or your response violate HIPAA regulations. If they do, the conversation needs to be taken offline and removed from social media.
Second, thoughtfully consider your answer before replying. This will usually require doing some research and consulting with others before composing an answer. You'll often need to provide the person with contact information for a doctor's office or hospital department.
Don't take social media interaction lightly. Done incorrectly, your hospital and account can go viral—for all the wrong reasons! But done correctly, it provides an opportunity to humanize your hospital and offers patients and their loved ones a chance to engage with your team and providers.
Looking for new ways to engage with your audience? Social media, blogs and digital messages can all offer benefits to your hospital. Learn how we can help—and get started—by calling 302.454.7901.